Dr. Manuel Pastor is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pastor currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. He holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC.
Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His most recent book is State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future. Called “concise, clear, and convincing” by the New York Times Book Review, this volume charts the arc of economic, social, and political change in the Golden State from the early 1990s to the present day. Pastor argues that social movements and community organizing were key in moving California from a state of reaction – in which anti-immigrant sentiment was the norm – to a state of resistance to the current political moment, one which has led on increasing the minimum wage, protecting immigrants, and addressing climate change.
Earlier volumes include: Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Chris Benner (Routledge 2012), which argues that growth and equity can and should be linked, offering a new path for a U.S. economy seeking to recover from economic crisis and distributional distress; Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future (W.W. Norton 2010; co-authored with Angela Glover Blackwell and Stewart Kwoh), which documents the gap between progress in racial attitudes and racial realities and offers a new set of strategies for both talking about race and achieving racial equity; This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Transforming Metropolitan America (Cornell University Press 2009; co-authored with Chris Benner and Martha Matsuoka) which highlights a promising set of organizing efforts across the U.S.; Staircases or Treadmills: Labor Market Intermediaries and Economic Opportunity in a Changing Economy (Russell Sage 2007, co-authored with Chris Benner and Laura Leete) which offers a critique of current employment strategies and argues for a new “high road” approach to connecting demand and supply in labor markets; and Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together (University of Minnesota Press 2000; co-authored with Peter Dreier, Eugene Grigsby, and Marta Lopez-Garza), a book that has become a standard reference for those seeking to link neighborhoods and regions.
Dr. Pastor has received fellowships from the Danforth, Guggenheim, and Kellogg foundations, and grants from the Irvine Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the W.T. Grant Foundation, The California Endowment, the California Air Resources Board, and many others.
Dr. Pastor speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment and has contributed opinion pieces to such outlets as the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Huffington Post, and many others. He served as a public member of California’s Strategic Growth Council, an inter-agency effort responsible for allocating millions of dollars from California’s cap-and-trade system to housing and climate sustainability efforts in the state’s most disadvantaged communities. In 2012, he was awarded the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award from the Liberty Hill Foundation in recognition of his many research partnerships with social justice organizations. In 2017, he received the Champion for Equity Award from the Advancement Project for his work with community-based organizations fighting for social change.