Miranda Martinez

Photo of Miranda Martinez

Miranda Martinez

Associate Professor, Comparative Studies


Areas of Expertise

  • Race and Public Policy
  • Latinx/Puerto Rican Studies
  • Urban Studies
  • Economic Sociology/Cultural Economy
  • Community Politics
  • Gentrification
  • Social Movements


  • Ph.D. Sociology, New York University
  • B.A. Geography, Clark University (cum laude)

Miranda Martinez’ book Power at the Roots: Community Gardens, Gentrification, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side (Lexington Books, 2010) is an ethnographic study of the community gardening movement in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood as it confronted gentrification pressures that threatened to destroy the gardens. It is also a study of the Lower East Side’s Puerto Rican community, showing the ethnic and cultural significance of the neighborhood, and it shows how Puerto Ricans interact with the global and local trends involved in gentrification. Professor Martinez has written other papers on New York Puerto Ricans, and on the community garden movement.

Her current research interest is in the area of economic sociology and examines the emergence of “financial capability” as a principal policy answer to problems of inequality, and financial predation directed at vulnerable consumers of credit and banking services. Professor Martinez looks both at the complex processes embedding predation and devaluation of wealth in Black and Brown communities, and looks at locally derived responses to a predatory economy. She has looked at local spaces of financial counsel, and the use of the "financial coaching" model to help vulnerable consumers, and is also looking at social economy spaces, such as credit union working to create a more just, accessible financial system for low income, immigrant, and other vulnerable consumers. In looking at local economic spaces and responses to predation, Professor Martinez focuses on the kinds of subjectivities and affects that surround the financialization of daily life, especially in low income and minority communities where safe credit and banking are less available. 

Professor Martinez teaches courses in Latinx studies, and urban cultural studies in the Department of Comparative Studies. She also teaches a course entitled Race and Public Policy, cross listed with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Selected Publications


Martinez, Miranda J. 2010. Power at the Roots: Gentrification, Community Gardens, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side. Lexington Books.


Martinez, Miranda J. 2021. “Aspiration and the Violence of Gentrification in Marvel’s Luke Cage.” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Martinez, Miranda J. 2019. “Financial Coaching and the Nudge: Examining Local Spaces of Market Agencement”. Antipode, Volume 51, Issue 5. 

Martinez, Miranda J. and Aja, Alan A. 2011. “Democratic Rights and Nuyorican Identity in the Partido Socialista Puertorriqueno.” Latino(a) Research Review 8(1–2):101–23.

Martinez, Miranda. 2009. “Attack of the Butterfly Spirits: The Impact of Movement Framing by Community Garden Preservation Activists.” Social Movement Studies 8:323–39.

Martinez, Miranda. 2014. “Historically Working Class: The Lower East Side Leverages a Symbolic Legacy.” Chapter 14 (pages 245-258) in Uprooting Urban America: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race, Class  and Gentrification, edited by Horace R. Hall, Cynthia Cole-Robinson and Amor Kohli. Peter Lang.

Under Revision

Martinez, Miranda and Aja, Alan. “Fictions of the Market: Implicit Bias and Race in Home Appraisals” (Submitted to Critical Sociology).