Melissa Villa-Nicholas
Melissa Villa-Nicholas

Melissa Villa-Nicholas is a scholar in intersectional information science. She focuses on Latinx information histories and practices, the social constructions of information technology, and critical intersectional analysis of information and technology. She is an Assistant Professor in the Harrington School of Communication and Media and the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

 Check out my lecture with Dr. Miriam Sweeney (University of Alabama) for the Digital Harvard Kennedy School lecture series on Latinas designed as AI

Recent publications

Villa-Nicholas, M. and Sweeney, M. (Forthcoming 2019) ““I am so Versatile- I can be Used for just about Everything”: Race, Gender, and the Perfect Digital Latina Laborer.” Feminist Media Studies

 Villa-Nicholas, M. (October 2018) “Teaching Intersectionality: Pedagogical Approaches for Lasting Impact.”Education for Information. 34.2

 Villa-Nicholas, M (May 2018). “Terror by Telephone: Normative Anxieties around Obscene Calls in the 1960s." First Monday. 23.5

Villa-Nicholas, M (Spring 2018) “Discerning Fake Information.”Teaching Media Quarterly. 6.1


I’m currently teaching…

  • Searching for Answers: Meeting Users’ Information Needs.

  • Social Justice in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Immigrant Information Contexts and Practices

  • Critical Disability Approaches in LIS

  • Information and Culture

Previously Taught:

  • Social Justice in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

  • The History of Libraries

  • Race, Gender, Sexuality and the Information Professions

  •  Introduction to Information Science and Technologies

  • Document, Assess, Evaluate (Research Methods)

  • Social Justice in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.



PhD in Information Science
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Summer 2015


Recent work on Latinx women’s socio-techno practices

My recent work on Data Citizenship: Latina Immigrants and Information Technologies in the Borderlands looks at how recently immigrated Mexican and Central American women in the borderlands of Southern California are surveilled by, live with and use information technologies, namely mobile devices- in lieu of full benefits of U.S. citizenship. I explore the processes of Latina information technology use in their own lives within the contested borderlands spaces in which they are both highly visible from surveillance technologies and highly invisible because of their citizenship status. 


Reference by Mail

In Searching for Answers: Meeting Users’ Information Needs, we are currently answering Reference by Mail letters from incarcerated patrons. The larger purpose of this project is doing reference librarianship without reinforcing the normalization of the carceral state. Check out the Google Slides recently presented at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) with Dr. Jeanie Austin (SFPL),



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