i . . .

…am an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis.

But who am I, really?

I am a activist-scholar whose research and teaching interests have long been driven by my commitments to social justice. I have engaged in anti-imperialist and anti-racist work at the local, national and global levels for over two decades. I’ve been especially committed to Philippine/Filipinx issues, but not exclusively. I grew up in the suburb of Union City, CA where people of color were in the majority. I attended public school from kindergarten through high school (with the exception of three years at a Catholic school in a neighboring city, when my dad feared that the gang activity in our local schools was increasing) in the New Haven Unified School District. Due to a number of circumstances, I has to support myself through most of my undergraduate career, earning my bachelor’s degree after attending classes at a community college and then transferring to one of the University of California campuses while also juggling several jobs and working as a campus activist. I managed to get accepted to a number of PhD programs and decided to pursue my doctoral studies in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduate school was incredibly difficult, mainly because academia is classist, racist and sexist (I blog about some of grad school experiences). Nevertheless, I managed to have my entire graduate school education paid for through fellowships and grants (yay to affirmative action!), finished my doctorate in 2005 and immediately got a job at a research university upon graduating.

Career Timeline

  • 1994 Co-founded Asian Women for Ideas in Action Now! (ASIAN!) at UC Santa Barbara. Organized against Propositions 187 and2 209.
  • 1997 Co-founded the League of Filipino Students in San Francisco —  the first attempt to extend the Philippine progressive movement to the U.S. after the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos.
  • 1998 Son, Amado Khaya, was born.
  • 1999 Published first academic article
  • 2000 Moved to the Philippines to do research for Ph.D.
    Taught at Ateneo de Manila University. Worked closely with Migrante-International.
  • 2001 Lived in South Africa.
  • 2002 Member of the Philip Vera Cruz Justice Committee.  Assisted in organizing Filipino airport screeners fired after the 9/11 attacks and undocumented Filipino immigrants getting caught up in stepped up immigration enforcement measures in the name of “homeland security”.
  • 2003 Co-founded the Critical Filipino Studies Collective.
  • 2004 Awarded fellowship at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego.
  • 2005 Completed Ph.D in Sociology at UC Berkeley, Accepted job at Rutgers University
  • 2006 First invited to share research internationally by Oxford University. Many other international invitations would follow.
  • 2009 Invited to be Visiting Professor with the Faculty of Social Sciences at Kassel University, Germany.
  • 2010 Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World, Rodriguez’s 1st book was published
  • 2011 Earned tenure at Rutgers University; Accepted tenured position in Asian American Studies at UC Davis.
  • 2012 Began organizing work amongst caregivers alongside staff from the Filipino Community Center, San Francisco. By the end of the year, Migrante International, San Francisco/Northern California was launched.
  • 2013 Awarded “Honorable Mention” for the Social Science Book Award by the Association for Asian American Studies.
  • 2014 2nd book was published,  Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives co-authored with Pawan Dhingra. 3rd book, Transnational Citizenship Across the Americas co-edited with Ulla Berg was also published.
  • 2015 Son, Ezio Muaj-Tseeb was born. Served as Project Director for Welga! Filipino American stories of the Great Grape Strike of 1965.  
  • 2017 4th book, In Lady Liberty’s Shadow: Race and Immigration After 9/11 published by Rutgers University Press in June.

“As an immigrant, woman of color, first generation college student and Filipina, Robyn has given me not only an example to aspire to, but a real life person with hard days and flaws, great days and victories to guide me through the labyrinth that is the academy.”- Valerie Francisco, Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University