Associate Professor Carolina Bank Muñoz

Department of Sociology

 

Interviewed by Honors Academy student Rosemary Taveras

Like many of the students she teaches, Carolina Bank Muñoz was not born in the United States. A native of Santiago, Chile, she came to Los Angeles as a child when her family fled the economic and political climate of her homeland. She grew up in a culturally rich but economically poor environment. As a child, she accompanied her father, who worked as a door-to-door photographer, around East L.A., getting "on-the-job" training of how capitalism worked.

It is no wonder today that her areas of academic expertise are immigration, race, gender and labor. Bank Muñoz worked with unions in California and conducted leadership training for immigrant workers. Her book, Transnational Tortillas: Race, Gender, and Shop-Floor Politics in Mexico and the United States, earned the Book of the Year award from the Academy of Management. She has just won a Fulbright Grant to study the effects of Wal-Mart's recent purchase of a major retail chain in Chile.

Bank Muñoz defines herself as an "activist scholar, that is, someone interested in working with students to connect the dots between theory, scholarship and social change." She makes sure that her classroom is full of energy, ideas and collaborative learning, and she encourages students to interact with each other and brainstorm ideas for projects. She appreciates Brooklyn College most for its students. "They are diverse, informed and have varying and interesting life experiences. The students in the Honors Academy are well-prepared, well-read, thoughtful and intellectual, which adds to the richness of the classroom experience."