Lindstrom studied at the University of Chicago and is the Gale Family Foundation Professor in Jewish Arts and Culture and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also coordinates the Gale Collaborative for the Study of Jewish life in the Americas at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies. Lindstrom is the daughter of the noted sociologist Frederick B. Lindstrom (1915–1998), best known as a student of popular culture and historian of the Chicago school (sociology) , and the two collaborated and co-authored conference papers and articles.
Elements of sociological thought influence Naomi Lindstrom's literary criticism, especially her 1989 book Jewish Issues in Argentine Literature and her 1998 study The Social Conscience of Latin American Writing. During the latter part of her career, Lindstrom has increasingly focused on the field of Latin American Jewish studies, both in her research and in her administrative roles. Since 1996, as part of her work with the Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA), she has managed lajsa-list, a listserv on Latin American Jewish topics; the URL is firstname.lastname@example.org. On the LAJSA website (www.lajsa.org), she maintains a continually updated registry of dissertations and theses, both completed and in progress, on Latin American Jewish topics and an archive of resources for teaching courses in both Sephardic Studies and Latin American Jewish Studies. In 2012 Lindstrom was awarded the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Texas. She was the general organizer of the International Research Conference of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association held June 9–11, 2013 and co-organizer of the Symposium on Jewish Life in the Americas held November 1-2, 2015, both at the University of Texas.