My scholarship is transdisciplinary. As an organic intellectual, I draw upon the disciplinary and practice-based knowledge required for the intellectual-artistic-activist work I am called to do. Institutionally, I house my work in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies for its capacious inter and trans- disciplinarity and how I have been held within it and beyond it as an artist-scholar-activist.
I believe in writing for scholarly and lay audiences and my growing body of work puts this belief into action.
Scholarly commitments and areas of inquiry:
My scholarly project is a descendant of the modernity/(de)coloniality working group that was forged between scholars at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University in the early 2000s. The learning/unlearning I engaged in from the pedagogical leadership of a number of those involved in this group, alongside my training in performance and cultural studies under the tutelage of Dr. Della Pollock and my learning/existing in the contexts of Southern Mexico and the Southern United States, have formed what my knowledge practice is today. Thusly, my scholarship is invested in continuing the epistemological and ontological interventions that arise in the ongoing query of the presence of modernity/coloniality, including considerations of forms of rebellion and refusal against its many-faced hydra that appears in late capitalism, corporate empires, and their dynamics of anthropocentric cisheteropatriarchal and racist violence, extraction, and the destruction of life. I am most interested in projects and interventions that forge something other than what is here. I look at social movement work and cultural and performance performance work in the United States and Abya Yala (Latin America), including identity and subjectivity formation, spiritual-political otherwise(s), and creative methods for refusing the extreme violence and erasure ever-present in these necropolitical/necroliberal contexts. I am geopolitically focused on the Hemispheric Americas with regional specificities in the U.S. South and Southern Mexico and all the ways that Black/Afro-descendant, Native/Indigenous, and other people of color continue to make life happen in spite of the ongoing forms of genocide, dispossession, and eradication that are present. In particular, I am most interested in how cisgender women, transgender people, and other gender variant and queer beings provide creative forms of leadership beyond the silos that attempt to restrain the lives of our species.
In the learning/unlearning that decolonial, performance, and cultural studies scholars have guided me on, I was taught how to articulate a practice that was already organic to how I move in the world. That is to say, my "research" inquiries are driven by the process of making the path while walking/doing (adaptations of Antonio Machado, Paulo Freire, Frantz Fanon, and the Zapatistas vis-a-vis Catherine Walsh's uptake, M. Jacqui Alexander's movements, and now mine). My scholarship is an endeavor to record and theorize a critical archive of this path. This means that though my work does not situate itself as primarily authoethnographic or autobiographical, my investigations, analyses, and areas of scholarly-artistic-activist inquiry arise from being/existing and moving in the world, in relation to others (seen and unseen). Therefore, personal narrative has a role in making theory and documenting culture, contributing to a long history of women and queer of color critique/feminisms, while not standing in as the "all" of what I do. Like those that trained and/or preceded me, I continue to walk while asking questions about what the conditions of our existences are, in the service of what they could/should be and how we make ways out of no ways.
I am a student of Dr. Sylvia Wynter's philosophical and theoretical corpus as one that continues to provide a framework for understanding how the project of the Human/man was created from the minds of what Tiffany Lethabo King has called "conquistador-settlers." Working with Wynter's hemispheric framings of the Human project, I bring decolonial, feminist, Africana, Native/Indigenous, and trans thought about race and gender to bare on the many problems with singular ideas about humanness, and the present iterations of the purported "totality" from which it arises. I am invested in articulating the poetry of racial and gender incoherence and impurity at this particular historical juncture, particularly given the many dispossessions and diasporas that frame much of life in the continental Americas. In this way, my work is always to unsettle attempts to conclude, enclose, perfect, or master what we think we know about race, gender, and other Human inventions. To decolonize, then, is always an aspirational horizon and not one that is possible to arrive at, even as the perpetual journey towards it is always worth the endeavor.
By final way of introduction to my scholarly practice and inquiries, I am passionate about defending the existence of the pluriverse, or, to cite the Zapatistas "un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos" [a world where many worlds fit]. I refuse any notion of a singular totality or attempts to fit our species into singular totalities for all of the cosmogonies/cosmologies, world views and world senses, and modes existence that get eviscerated in any attempt to make our species cohere into a singular idea of what life should be. Rather than conflate the idea of "our world" with "our planet," I theorize from the margins that demonstrate the existence of many worlds (the pluriverse) rather than the colonial epistemological project of A world.
Book Project (forthcoming): Refusals and Reinventions: Engendering New Indigenous and Black Life Across the Americas
Refusals and Reinventions... uses the theoretical and methodological frameworks of decolonial pedagogies and lineages of Black, decolonial, and trans feminisms to demonstrate how creative and activist projects in Southern Mexico (Chiapas) and the Southern U.S. (North Carolina) exist in and/or carve open access to the pluriverse. He also utilizes elements of performance praxis (practice and theory) to think, sense, and theorize from each location. Utilizing four “case studies” that bring these souths into local-global relation, he thinks with Afro-diasporic and Black and Native/Indigenous thought/cosmologies to listen to the spiritual-political work of Black and Native/Indigenous people refusing certain modern/colonial violences as world-making work. In so doing, the work also theorizes the onto-epistemic openings these pluriversal projects create for Black and Native/Indigenous peoples in the project of the Human and its notion of a singular world.
I think of teaching as frontline work in the face of hegemonic fears and attacks on knowledge. My university classrooms are discussion-rich and student centered, encouraging critical intellectual inquiry with attention to intersectional social locations such as race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, gender, cognitive and functional diversity, religion, and sexuality as integral parts of the learning process where situated knowledge is the point of departure. In my syllabi, the voices of non-dominant scholars, artists, and organizers of the Global Majority are foregrounded as part of my decolonial pedagogical practice. I teach skill-building in writing, speaking, and dialogue as methods of knowledge synthesis, integration, and analysis. I also offer opportunities for creative engagement and multiple entries into work. I ground my students in honing the skills that allow them access to critical thought as a non-elitist project and as a tool for showing up differently in their/our worlds. In this way, I align myself with the legacy of critical pedagogues that understand pedagogy as what moving in our worlds teaches us, and how growing our knowledge is meant to expand our capacity to change the conditions of our existence by transforming ourselves and our lives. I base my teaching on premises of Black feminisms, trans/feminisms and decolonial thought.
Current Courses (Spring 2023)
Honors Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Graduate Seminar New Directions in Feminism: Trans Study and the Question of the Human
(March 2024) Refusals and Reinventions: Engendering New Indigenous and Black Life Across the Americas. The Ohio State University Press.
(2023). Ecosomatic Performance Research for the Pluriverse. In S.R. Riley & S. Fraleigh Geographies of Us: An Ecosomatic(s) Reader. Routledge (forthcoming).
(2023). Countering Afropessimist Ontological Nihilism: An Afrofuturist and Afro-diasporic Cosmological Rejoinder. The Black Scholar .
(2023, February 22). Transfeminism(s). In The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Queer Studies and Communication. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.1244
(2022). with Emanuel Highlander Brown. "Spirit Love: A Creative Praxis," The Reverb.
(2022). Pandemics and Portals: Listening that Breaks us Open. In V. Boyd (Ed.). Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic. Outlook Books.
(2020) "If Rigor is Our Dream: Theorizing Black Trans*masculine Futures through Ancestral Erotics" in A. Johnson & B. LeMaster (Eds.). Gender Futurity/Intersectional Autoethnography: Embodied Theorizing from the Margins. Routledge.
(2020) "Honoring What We Know to Be True: Black Transness-As-Medicine" in J Mase III and Lady Dane Edidi (Eds.).The Black Trans Prayerbook.
(2019) "Cuerpos y existencias cotidianas trans* como ruptura, abertura e invitación" en X. Leyva Solano & R. Icaza (Eds.). En tiempos de muerte. Cuerpos, rebeldías, resistencias. CLACSO - Editorial Retos.
My academia.edu page is available here.