Barbara Idalissee Abadía-Rexach is a communications scholar and social anthropologist. She currently works as Assistant Professor by Term at the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico. In addition to teaching courses in Anthropology and serving as an Academic Anthropology Advisor, she writes a monthly op-ed column for the national newspaper El Nuevo Día. She is the author of the book Musicalizando la raza. La racialización en Puerto Rico a través de la música (Ediciones Puerto, 2012). She holds a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA and BA in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras.
Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez is Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her research interests center on Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures, Luso-Brazilian literatures and cultures (1800s to present), the relationships between literature, ethnographic and sociological discourses in Latin America, Afro-Diasporic literatures and cultures, and critical discourses of race, gender and sexuality in colonial and postcolonial societies. Arroyo-Martínez has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the University of Puerto Rico and the Mellon Foundation. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California at Berkeley.
José Atiles is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez and a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra. He researches the sociology of law, state terrorism, criminalization, colonialism, and critical legal theory in the context Puerto Rico. Atiles is the author of Apuntes para abandonar el derecho: Estado de excepción Colonial en Puerto Rico [Notes to Abandon the Law: Colonial State of Exception in Puerto Rico] (Editora Educación Emergente, 2016) and Derecho en conflicto: colonialismo, despolitización y resistencia en Puerto Rico [Law in Conflict: Colonialism, Depoliticization and Resistance in Puerto Rico] (Universidad de los Andes Press 2018). His publications include Colonial State of Exception as Economic Policy: A Socio-Legal analysis of the Puerto Rican Case (2018), Colonial State Corporate Crime and the Economic Crisis in Puerto Rico (2018), Colonial State Terror in Puerto Rico: A Research Agenda (2016), and Colonial State Crimes: Note for the development of a socio-legal concept(2016). Atiles holds a PhD in Political and Legal Philosophy from the University of the Basque Country in Spain, a PhD in the Sociology of Law from the University of Coimbra in Portugal, an MA in the Sociology of Law from the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Spain, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez.
Nicole Burrowes is Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, with affiliations in the Department of History, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Her book manuscript, Seeds of Solidarity: African-Indian Relations and the 1935 Labor Rebellions in British Guiana, explores the historical possibility of a movement forged by those at the edge of empire in the midst of economic and environmental crisis. Her research seeks to answer questions about the practice of solidarity; the legacies of dispossession, enslavement and indenture; the politics of diaspora; and how power, identity and material struggle are shaped over time. Burrowes was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at Brown University and was awarded pre-doctoral fellowships in the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia and the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a PhD in History from the CUNY Graduate Center in the fields of Latin American and Caribbean History and African Diaspora Studies.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Dennis J. Colón is an artisanal woodturner and the current president of the Association of American Woodturners’ Puerto Rico chapter. After 27 years of service to a multinational corporation and with zero knowledge of wood or woodturning equipment, he taught himself the wonderful art of woodturning. In January 2019, it will be four years since he has dedicated himself to learning and practicing the art of woodturning. It has been a wonderful experience that has led him to not only be creative and learn about some great natural resources in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, but to meet some wonderful people all over the island and worldwide that are just as passionate about wood and what can be created with it.
Bethzabeth Colón Pizzini is a PhD candidate in African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She researches Puerto Rican music, literature, and art, along with Afro-Puerto Rican women's subjectivity, Pan-Caribbean cultural exchange, and Black diasporic feminism. She is the author of "On the Wings: Muralism as Feminist Political Praxis by Afro-Puerto Rican Women" in Black Resistance in the Americas (forthcoming, Routledge). Her publications include “Despacito” at the Grammys and the New Latin Boom (2018) and Puerto Rico, Political Activism, and Urban Art in 2016, for the online publication Latinx Spaces. She received her BA in Political Science and Latino/a Studies from Northwestern University.
Sebastián Colón-Otero is a psychotherapist with over ten years of experience providing services to trans and queer communities, including individual and group therapy as well as challenging traditional approaches, expanding the notion of emotional healing practices, and incorporating culturally grounded approaches. His publications include a piece titled "Anzaldúa, Maestra" for the edited collection Bridging: How Gloria Anzaldúa's Life and Work Transformed Our Own (University of Texas Press, 2011). He presented his article The Ethics of Intersectionality and Allyship in Clinical Work: Power Analysis of Racial and Gender Locations in Mental Health and Community Work with Transgender Patients at the 2016 World Professional Association for Transgender Health Symposium. He also has over twenty years of experience as an activist and community organizer. Colón-Otero has been a keynote speaker in multiple conferences and events, including most recently at the "Race|Sex|Power 2018" conference in Chicago, as well as the University of Texas at Austin Lavender Graduation in May 2018.
Karen Engle is the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law and the founder and co-director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law. In Fall 2018, she is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. Engle teaches and researches in the fields of public international law, international human rights law, and legal theory. Her books include The Grip of Sexual Violence in Conflict: Feminist Interventions in International Law (forthcoming, Stanford University Press), Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda (Cambridge University Press, 2016)(co-editor), and The Elusive Promise of Indigenous Development: Rights, Culture, Strategy (Duke University Press, 2010), which received the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Human Rights. Engle was the Deborah Lunder and Alan Ezekowitz Founders’ Circle Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton during the 2016-17 academic year. She received her JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a BA with honors from Baylor University.
Jeffrey Howard is Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition at the University of Texas at San Antonio. As a health demographer and epidemiologist, his research interests include traumatic injury and chronic disease epidemiology, health disparities, and environmental disaster and climate change health impacts. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications, including Use of death counts from vital statistics to calculate excess deaths in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria (2018), Associations of Initial Injury Severity and PTSD Diagnoses with Long-Term Hypertension Risk Following Combat Injury (2018), and Using Allostatic Load to Validate Self-rated Health for Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States (2018). In 2013, Howard received the Jess Hay Chancellor's Fellowship from the University of Texas Board of Regents. From 2016 to 2018, he worked as a general health scientist/epidemiologist at the Joint Trauma System of the US Department of Defense. Howard holds a PhD in Applied Demography from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and an MA and BA in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Mónica Jiménez is Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research explores the intersections of law, race and nationalism in US empire building in Latin America and the Caribbean. Jiménez’s book manuscript, American State of Exception, offers a legal history of race and exception in US empire building and centers on the place of Puerto Rico within that historical trajectory. She has received fellowship support from the Ford Foundation, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School and the University of Texas at Austin. Formerly, Jiménez taught History and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a BA in Classical Civilizations from Yale University and an MA in Latin American Studies, as well as a JD and PhD in History from The University of Texas at Austin.
Marisol LeBrón is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on social inequality, policing, violence, and protest movements in Puerto Rico and its diaspora. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), which examines the growth of punitive governance in contemporary Puerto Rico. Her scholarship has been published in a number of scholarly and popular venues including Radical History Review, Journal of Urban History, Souls: A Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Boston Review, The Guardian, Truthout, and NACLA Report on the Americas, among others. She is also one of the co-creators and project leaders for the Puerto Rico Syllabus (#PRsyllabus), a digital resource for understanding the Puerto Rican debt crisis.
Minkah Makalani is Director for the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, and Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies. His work and teaching focus on intellectual history, black political thought, radical social movements, Caribbean independence, Black Power, race and racial identity, and hip-hop. He is the author of In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917-1939 (2011) and is currently working on two forthcoming book projects: Calypso Conquered the World: C. L. R. James and the Politically Unimaginable in Trinidad and Words Past the Margin: Black Thought and the Impossible. Makalani’s articles have appeared in Small Axe, Social Text, South Atlantic Quarterly, Souls, The Journal of African American History, and Women, Gender, and Families of Color. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Domingo Marqués is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Carlos Albizu University. He currently serves as the director of the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Research Program, and as the principal investigator in research studies on psychotherapy for borderline personality, non-suicidal self-injury, and stigma in people living with HIV. His publications include Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (2018), Stigmatization Experiences among People Living with Borderline Personality Disorder in Puerto Rico (2014), Knowledge of the Relatives of Patients about Borderline Personality Disorder in a Sample of Puerto Rican Families (2014), and Religion and HIV/AIDS stigma in Puerto Rico: A cultural challenge for training future physicians (2013). Marqués received his PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Ponce Health Sciences University where he received the Distinguished Student Award and his Bachelor’s in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. He has received the Mentor of the Year Award (2015) and the Psychologist of the Year Award from the Puerto Rico Psychological Association (2018) and the Researcher of the Year Award (2018) from the Behavioral Sciences Journal.
Sarah Molinari is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Visiting Researcher at the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She is currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Puerto Rico for her dissertation on the politics of debt resistance and hurricane recovery with a National Science Foundation grant. Sarah is a Graduate Student Representative on the Executive Boards of the Puerto Rican Studies Association and the LASA Section on Puerto Rico. Her work appears in a variety of academic and popular venues including Souls: A Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Anthropology Now, FocaalBlog, Alternautas, Social Difference Online, and The Platform. She is also a collaborator on the Puerto Rico Syllabus project (#PRSyllabus), a digital resource for understanding Puerto Rico’s intersecting crises. Prior to graduate school, Sarah co-directed an oral history project at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.
Carlos Ramos Scharrón is Assistant Professor of Geography & the Environment and of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests are in the field of hydro-geomorphology: the study of the interactions among landforms, land-shaping processes, and both surface and near-surface hydrologic processes. Ramos explores land use and climate change effects on hydrologic/geomorphic processes and their consequences on water quality, sustainable development, stream habitat, and marine ecosystems. His publications include Runoff development and soil erosion in wet tropical montane setting under coffee cultivation (2016), The role of unpaved roads as active source areas of precipitation excess in small watersheds drained by ephemeral streams (2016), Rill extension and plot-scale effects on the hydrogemorphic response of gravelly roads (2015), and Watershed and island-wide scale land cover changes in Puerto Rico (1930s-2004) (2015). Ramos holds a PhD in Watershed Sciences from Colorado State University and a BS in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez.
Carina del Valle Schorske is a writer, translator, and PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where her work focuses on women's performance in the Americas from Zora Neale Hurston through Ana Mendieta. She won the Gulf Coast's 2016 Prize for her translations of the Puerto Rican poet Marigloria Palma, an ongoing project featured in several publications, including small axe salon and Asteri(x) Journal. Her critical and personal essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Lit Hub, and The New Yorker online, among many other venues. With Raquel Salas Rivera, Erica Mena, and Ricardo Maldonado, she is an editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a bilingual anthology of post-Maria Puerto Rican poetry. She is currently on leave from her doctoral program to write her first book, a psychogeography of Puerto Rican culture, forthcoming from Riverhead.
Pavithra Vasudevan is Assistant Professor of African & African Diaspora Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies, and a faculty member of the University of Texas Feminist Geography Research Collective. Her scholarship and teaching are concerned with how racialized peoples and landscapes are devalued in capitalism and the abolitional possibilities of collective struggle. As a critical and feminist geographer, Vasudevan’s work examines structural oppression through the embodied experiences, everyday lives, and political practices of communities threatened by hazardous environments. Her dissertation research on the racialized burden of toxicity in the aluminum company town of Badin, North Carolina was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Society of Women Geographers, and the Center for the Study of the American South. Vasudevan holds a PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Elizabeth Yeampierre is an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader. She is currently Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community-based organization, and the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. Born and raised in New York City, and of African and Indigenous ancestry, Yeampierre is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around sustainable development, environmental and racial justice, and community-led climate adaptation and resilience.
Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, she was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian Law Alliance, and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. Yeampierre was the first Latina Chair of the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and also served as member of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Advisory Council. In 2010, Elizabeth was the opening speaker at the Obama Administration’s first White House Forum on Environmental Justice, and in 2015, she spoke at Pope Francis’s Climate Change Rally at the National Mall in Washington DC. Her work has been featured in books and media outlets throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. Yeampierre holds a BA from Fordham University and a JD from Northeastern University.
Yeampierre is also the fourth annual speaker in the Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, a series jointly sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Rothko Chapel of Houston, Texas. She will deliver her lecture, “Climate Justice: The Time is Now, The Place is Here,” on Thursday, November 29 at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, before coming to Austin to participate in the symposium on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1.