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My teaching philosophy is centered on the premise, inspired by the great Italian-Sardinian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, that our students are already theorists and sociological thinkers in their own rights. As such, my responsibility as an educator is to take this already-ongoing activity and help students systematize it and render it critical through collective study oriented toward broader social change. My training in geography—a discipline concerned with the politics of space and the interconnections between places—has profoundly shaped my pedagogy. I believe that education should be transformative, and as such, my classes encourage students to think in new ways about the spaces they inhabit by engaging with the intertwined social, economic, and political processes that produced them.


My teaching interests fall into the areas of Black geographies, racism and race, migration, social theory, and political economy. My teaching in these areas draws on my background in migration and citizenship studies, critical human geography, Black diaspora studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and science and technology studies. I have worked with I diverse bodies of students across multiple disciplines and institutions: from adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners and international high school students, to community college transfer students and first-generation university students. In 2018, I was awarded a Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from UC Berkeley.

Photo by Mackda Ghebramariam Tesfau'

Upcoming Courses

What Students Say:

"Camilla is hands down my favorite professor I've ever had. This is because she knows her shit, is a really great facilitator of class discussions, is super affirming of people comments and ideas, provides really relevant texts and was able to structure the flow of the course. She's very welcoming in office hours, and is really dedicated to working with students so we can achieve success in the class." (Black Geographies and the Imperative of Abolition)

"This is the best class I've taken at UCSC. I feel so fortunate to have had Camilla as a professor. Her lectures explained the reading and engaged students in thought provoking discussions and encouraged questions and comments." (Political Economy of Race

"Professor Hawthorne is one of the most amazing professors that I have had at UCSC thus far. The readings and supplementary materials that she exposes her students to are very relevant, and she connects historical perspectives with contemporary perspectives seamlessly. She is clearly very enthusiastic about the subject, and incredibly knowledgeable about the intricacies of the material." (Migrant Europe)

"Professor Hawthorne's enthusiasm and knowledge kept my engagement in the course. She is not only incredibly brilliant, but she is able to incorporate a multitude of ways of learning into each lecture. She makes sure everyone understands a concept before moving on and creates a space where we are comfortable asking for clarification or speaking our opinions. Reviewing the lecture from the previous day before starting the next topic was extremely helpful to find the connections between material. Starting off every day with a music video was awesome too. She was able to create the perfect space to discuss ideas." (Contemporary Social Theory)

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