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headshot of Leigh-Anna Hidalgo

Leigh-Anna Hidalgo

Assistant Professor



Leigh-Anna Hidalgo is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a faculty affiliate of the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program (LACAS). She is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in urban ethnography, digital humanities, and critical race spatial analysis. In Hidalgo’s formative years she worked with her father in the informal economy; now she continues to work towards humanizing labor struggles. Her book project, “Abolitionist Marketplaces,” is based on a six-year visual ethnography with the Black and Brown leaders of the Los Angeles Street Vending Campaign (LASVC). Hidalgo’s book uncovers how informal workers living under legal forms of violence strategize to collectively organize, transform urban space, and city policies. In addition, Hidalgo has an ongoing digital humanities project with the LASVC that draws on a visual research method she developed called augmented fotonovelas (photo-based comics) that utilizes augmented reality to merge ethnographic data with photography, audio, and video imagery for the public to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ aggrieved communities. As an educator she centers community-engaged research approaches. Hidalgo teaches students to translate empirical data into digital humanities projects in direct support of non-profits, schools, or campaigns, thus acknowledging how direct action can yield the most profound understanding about structural violence and community resistance.


  • PhD, MA, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests

  • Ethnography
  • Informal economies
  • Latinx geographies
  • Street vendors
  • Urban digital humanities

More Info

Selected Publications:

Peer-reviewed articles:

2015 “Augmented Fotonovelas: Creating New Media as Pedagogical and Social Justice Tools,” Qualitative Inquiry, 21(3), 300-314.

Book chapters:

2017“Predatory Landscapes: Pedagogical and Social Justice Tools to Uncover the Racist Nativism in the Spatial Dimensions of Economic Exclusion,” Critical Race Spatial Analysis: Mapping to Understand and Address Educational Inequity (Stylus Publishing), eds. D. Morrison, S. Annamma, & D. Jackson, 67-87.

Public scholarship:

2020 Compassionate Pedagogies in a Pandemic: Reflections from Latina Scholars,” Latinx Talk, https://latinxtalk.org/2020/06/17/compassionate-pe...

Research Profile