Steve says welcome!

About Me

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

~ Paulo Freire


Born in a working-poor segregated neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas, I embraced my sociological imagination at an early age but would not discover the wisdom of the social sciences until after high school. I studied psychology and philosophy at St. Philips Community College, and transferred to the University of Texas, San Antonio earning a bachelor's degree in Mexican American/Chicanx Studies with an emphasis in Sociology.  It was then that I began researching local (intersectional and decolonial) Chicanx-led social justice grassroots organizations that merged art and activism and theories of power/knowledge.  Being able to apply the critical theories I learned to real social experiences was very exciting to me.  This energy carried me toward pursuing a Master's Degree in Sociology.

At the suggestion of an inspiring mentor and friend, Dr. Josie Méndez-Negrete, I moved to the Bay Area in 2001 to attend graduate school at UC Santa Cruz's Sociology Department where I studied Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, and theories of racial/gender/sexuality and national affect.  I applied what I learned in my Ph.D. program to a fulfilling life of teaching in the Bay Area, teaching my first course in 2004 at Cabrillo College and would later begin teaching at De Anza College since 2010 where I found a place I could thrive.


I most often teach SOC 1 Intro to Sociology, SOC 35 Sociology of Marriages, Families and Intimate Relationships, and SOC 14 Process of Social Research. In my courses I try my best to bring students into the mindset of the sociological imagination making sense of the contradictions of life, connecting personal biography to the social patterns that shape them.  I share the knowledge and wisdom I have learned from my mentors and my studies. 


Dr. Steve Nava is the chair of the Sociology Department at De Anza College and serves as the liaison for the SSH Equity Core Team. Over the last several years he has been working on campus equity projects with the following groups: De Anza Latinx Association (DALA), the Social Science and Humanities Equity Core Team, and the Latinx Empowerment at De Anza (¡LEAD!) mentoring and community engagement cohort program. In addition to these projects Steve is embarking on two collaborations, the first a research project involving Sociology students in collecting oral histories for the California History Center archives concerning local spaces in San Jose where people (not often highlighted in historical documentation) find a meaningful community in which generational exchange is a central feature of their social life.  This project is currently focusing on the socio-historical dynamics of San Jose Japantown's family legacy businesses in the context of challenging economic and cultural changes that threaten this community's continuity.  Additionally, he has joined a collaborative project with Psychology instructor Derrick Felton and a group of esteemed instructors from Administration of Justice, Anthropology, English, and Intercultural Studies in which they are developing a pilot cohort program for students studying to become police or probation officers with the intention of bringing an increased critical pedagogical lens to racial bias in the justice system.

Classes I Teach

Fall 2024

26786SOC 101YIntroduction to Sociology
24150SOC 102YIntroduction to Sociology
28171SOC 3501YMarriage, Family, and Intimate Relationships

Faculty Info

Steve Nava

Steve Nava

Social Sciences and Humanities




Ph.D., Sociology, UCSC, 2010; M.S., Sociology, UT San Antonio

Office Hours

My office hours change each quarter, please email me for my updated office hours to set an appointment:

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