I am trained in the disciplines of comparative literature and critical theory, and my areas of focus encompass three interrelated fields: Caribbean diaspora memory, Latino/a identity and performance, and Caribbean and Latin American Women’s and Feminist Writings. I have done sustained research and writing in autobiography, memoir, and testimony, employing a foundational methodology in my field that combines personal stories with rigorous academic examination of the links and meanings between the personal and the intellectual.
My first book, The Tears of Hispaniola: Haitian and Dominican Diaspora Memory (2006) focuses on the political violence and natural tragedies that continuously afflict the Caribbean and necessitate mass migrations at different historical moments, and reads the literary works of its authors as acts of healing and a commitment to human rights.
Since the publication of The Tears of Hispaniola, I have been working on a book project: Seeking Survival in Salvador (a single-authored book). I have also been writing and teaching extensively about my parents’ native Cuba. With my recent article about Cuban Ruin Memory, I set the stage for historically grounded analyses of the current happenings in Cuba.
I have presented my research and writing on Brazil, violence, and cultural agency at conferences internationally, classes locally, and in further publications. As part of my contribution to the public sphere, I regularly introduce dance companies at venues such as The University of Michigan Musical Society, The Performance Programs at the University of Massachusetts, and Jacob’s Pillow (through ITD programming in Amherst). “Bodies, Brazil, and Dance: An Overview” (2002) is an introduction to Brazilian modern dance company, Grupo Corpo, that I wrote early in my career for a non-specialist audience. With my academic essay, “Dance and Citizenship in Urban Brazil: Grupo Corpo, A Case Study” (2010), published in the collection, Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World: Rituals and Remembrances, I connect the work of elite dance stagings with the violent realities of shadow lives in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, and claim that the stage and the street are intricately connected, displaying tensions inherent in characterizations of the Brazilian nation.