About Me

"We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it." -Augusto Boal

I began teaching Sociology full-time with the Foothill De Anza district in 2004, but my relationship with the district dates back to the time that I was a student at De Anza College! Like most of my students, my goal was to transfer to a University and De Anza helped me do that. I met wonderful instructors, got “turned on” to Sociology and other disciplines, and for the first time in my life, I felt that college could actually be for me. I transferred to the University of California Berkeley (affectionately known as "Cal") where I received my Bachelor's degree in Sociology and was active in campus life as a student organizer.  I loved my experience at Cal so much that I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Ethnic Studies there as well. I feel incredibly fortunate to return to the place that changed my own trajectory as a student and play a part in facilitating the growth and readiness of the next generation of leaders and scholars. 

I currently live in San Jose, where I grew up, and my family has deep roots here. My grandparents would migrate to work in the fields of Central Valley and the orchards of the South Bay. They would return home to Mexico in the winter.  At different points in their lives, my parents also both migrated from Mexico permanently to California in search of work. They did not know each other at the time of their migration journeys but eventually met at the Del Monte cannery in San Jose where they both worked. They settled in San Jose, had four children and raised us all on immigrant, working-class salaries. (This taught us all to “share” really well—none of us ever really had “our own” stuff! Even clothes were shared sometimes!) My parents were also active in their unions which led to my political education at a very early age and activism later in life. In fact, I think that growing up in a union household surrounded by people of all kinds was largely responsible for me becoming a sociologist!

When I am not in the classroom, meeting with students or grading, I enjoy being with my family. We love to get outdoors, cook together, and play with our large beast of a mutt who thinks she is a lap dog. I also love the theater (thus the quote by Boal above) and take every opportunity to see local performances.

Classes I Teach (please check the course schedule of classes for the upcoming term):

  • Sociology 1: Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology 5: Sociology of Globalization
  • Sociology 20: Social Problems 
  • Sociology 28: Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology 29: Sociology of Structural Racism in the United States 

Classes I Teach

Fall 2022

20294SOC 103YIntroduction to Sociology
02282SOC 152ZIntroduction to Sociology
02287SOC 162ZIntroduction to Sociology
26468SOC 2901YSociology of Structural Racism in the United States

Faculty Info

Maristella ("Mari") Tapia

Maristella Tapia






  • BA Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley

Office Hours

Vary each quarter. Please check your syllabus or email me to confirm when they are.

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