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Nic John Ramos, PhD - Department of History at Drexel University

Nic John Ramos, PhD

Assistant Professor of History
Department of History
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Center for Interdisciplinary Study
Africana Studies
Office: 5009 MacAlister
Phone: 215.895.1207


  • PhD, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California, 2017
  • MA, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California, 2013
  • BA, Asian American Studies, University of California at Irvine, 2004
  • BA, Political Science, University of California at Irvine, 2004

Research Interests:

  • African American History
  • History of Medicine
  • History of Psychiatry
  • Urban History; 20th Century US History
  • History of Racial Capitalism; History of Sexuality


Please note: I will be away during 2021-2022 during my tenure as a Ford Foundation Fellow.

My current research brings together discourses of feminist, queer, and disability studies with political economy, Black studies, and Latinx studies to investigate the history of King-Drew Medical Center, an iconic public hospital built in Los Angeles after the 1965 Watts Uprising. Originally conceived as a vehicle for black medical and economic inclusion, King-Drew piloted a slew of new health institutions -- academic medical centers, comprehensive health clinics, community mental health centers, emergency rooms, and medically underserved areas. My current book manuscript project, tentatively titled “Policing Health: Making Race, Sexuality, and Poverty Productive in Global Los Angeles, 1965-1986,” demonstrates, however, that local city and medical authorities became complicit in building of new “non-medical” institutions such as a modern skid row, expanded prisons, and enlarged police forces to accommodate Los Angeles’ changing global landscape.

I am also interested in how changing patient demographics after the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid shaped the recruitment and teaching pedagogy of U.S. medical and graduate medical programs after 1965. My second project thus focuses on how certain forms of recruitment and pedagogical strategies taking root elsewhere on U.S. campuses through the form of Ethnic Studies programs were shifted and transformed in U.S. medical education to similar but different ends.

Prior to Drexel University, I was involved with the Race and Medicine Working Group as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Race in Science and Medicine, a fellowship supported by the Department of Africana Studies, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Cogut Institute of the Humanities.

At Drexel, I teach a range of courses on the History of Policing, History of Medicine, LGBT History, African American History, and Urban History.


Selected Publications:

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Ramos, Nic John. Article. “Poor Influences and Criminal Locations: Los Angeles’ Skid Row, Multicultural Identities, and Normal Homosexuality” in American Quarterly (72:2) June, 2019, 541-567.
  • Ramos, Nic John. Article. “Twenty Years of ‘Punks’: Introduction to GLQ’s Celebration of Cathy Cohen’s ‘Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens’” Gay and Lesbian Quarterly (GLQ) January, 2019 (25:1), 137-140.
  • Ramos, Nic John. Article. “Pathologizing the Crisis: Psychiatry, Policing, and Racial Liberalism in the Long Community Mental Health Movement.” Special Issue in Honor of Gerald Grob, Journal of History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, edited by Kathleen Jones and Nancy Tomes January, 2019 (74:1) 57-84.
  • Ramos, Nic John. Article. “Towards an Epistemology of Prince.” Journal of Popular Music Studies. December, 2014 (26:4) 431-446.

Digital Publications and Public Scholarship