Three Students Win Crossing Latinidades Summer Institute Fellowships

June 14, 2023

The Mellon Foundation–funded initiative promotes Latino humanities research.

Crossing Latinidades Student Fellows: Naiomy Guerrero, Bianca Moran, and Rosa Calosso
Naiomy Guerrero, Bianca Morán, and Rosa Angela Calosso (Bianca Morán's photo by Alex Irklievski)

Three Graduate Center Ph.D. students — Rosa Angela Calosso (Urban Education), Naiomy Guerrero (Art History), and Bianca Morán (Art History) — were chosen to participate in a summer institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago that is part of Crossing Latinidades: Emerging Scholars and New Comparative Directions, a nationwide initiative supported by the Mellon Foundation.

From June 17 through June 25, the three students will take part in lectures, workshops, seminars, and presentations designed to expand their understanding of the field of Latino humanities as they prepare to write their doctoral dissertations. Stipends cover their travel and related expenses to attend the program.  

Calosso will focus her doctoral dissertation on how Black Dominican women engage with social media to collaborate, connect, and share knowledge within and beyond their community. “Above all,” she explained, “it will argue that this kind of radical care and love is labor within the Dominican diaspora.” She will examine how social media functions as a platform for education and community-building and plans to use digital research methods, including social network analysis, digital ethnography, and mapping for the study.

"When I received the acceptance email, I felt a wave of happiness and gratitude," Calosso said. "It’s a competitive fellowship, and so being selected out of a competitive pool of applicants felt like a huge accomplishment."

For her dissertation, Guerrero plans to examine the impact of the construction of the colonial zone, known as La Zona, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and how the zone operates as a site where Dominican artists on the island and in the U.S. diaspora both contest and reflect colonial legacies from the 19th century to the present. Her study will cover the work of artists Celeste Woss y Gil and Joiri Minaya and the artist group Frente Cultural Constitucionalista, which protested U.S. occupation in 1965. “My comparative approach will look at the construction of La Zona and focus on the state’s strategic use of public space to shape the citizen body across race, class, and generational lines,” she explained.

Through her dissertation, Morán intends to address how and where the African diaspora can be located in Latin American and Latinx art and art histories. Her study is centered on The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness, the influential 1993 book by Paul Gilroy in which he argued that slavery played a central role in the making of the modern world. She is interested, she explained, “in the ways that the African diaspora is erased, obscured, or visualized and how we might better articulate the transnational networks and practices of Latinx/Latin American artists.”

“I am truly honored and thrilled to have been selected to participate in this initiative,” Morán said. “I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of an intellectual community that is invested in pushing forward the field of Latinx studies. I am looking forward to learning from and alongside colleagues across disciplines. The Crossing Latinidades initiative not only honors the urgent and important work we are all committed to, but it is also creating pathways to building the field and creating new opportunities.”

CUNY is one of several Hispanic-serving institutions with research-intensive doctoral programs that are part of the Crossing Latinidades: Emerging Scholars and New Comparative Directions consortium. The three-year, $5-million initiative aims to improve academic opportunities for Latino studies scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.  

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