Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships , ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships

Project

Emotion in Motion: Bomba Puertorriqueña, the Archive, and Diasporas

Project

PhD, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Department

John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute

Emotion in Motion: Bomba Puertorriqueña, the Archive, and Diasporas

This project examines Afro-Puerto Rican women’s usage of bomba, an Afro-Puerto Rican dance, to heal themselves and their communities in the wake of disaster. “Emotion in Motion” joins Black feminist historians in compiling an affective archive. Do women practitioners of bomba embody particular affective profiles in daily life against postcolonial stressors? How do these bomberas use dance to recover their lost past and heal from the ongoing trauma of disaster? Can feelings have a history? This project, which lies at the nexus of archival research and ethnographic methods, performance analysis, and dance, compiles and examines bomberas’ affective profiles throughout history and ethnographically uncovers Afro-Puerto Rican women’s emotional dexterity as they navigate (post)coloniality.

PhD, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Dissertation: "Black Latinx Dexterity: Emotions in Bomba Puertorriqueña and Decolonizing Diasporic Archives"

This project examines Afro-Puerto Rican women’s usage of bomba, the oldest Afro-Puerto Rican genre, to heal themselves and their communities in the wake of colonialism’s constant catastrophes. “Black Latinx Refusal” joins Black feminist historians in compiling an affective archive. These dancers aided in ousting Puerto Rico’s governor during the summer of 2019 and thus extend and require a reconsideration of a Afro-Caribbean feminist praxis based on care, self-reliance, and aesthetics. Do women practitioners of bomba embody particular affective states and deploy emotional dexterity in daily life against postcolonial stressors? How do these bomberas use dance to recover their lost past and heal from the ongoing trauma of disaster? Can feelings have a history? After 16 months of field research in Puerto Rico and Chicago, I use bomba as a site and method in compiling an analytic of affective archives to examine bomberas’ continuous affective states throughout history and ethnographically uncover what I call, Afro-Puerto Rican women’s emotional dexterity. Emotional dexterity describes bomberas ability to negotiate their sensuous postures as they navigate (post)coloniality inside bomba and outside of dance spaces. This project, which lies at the nexus of archival research and ethnographic methods, performance analysis, and dancing is scaffolded by and contributes to discourses occurring in Anthropology, Latinx studies, Black studies, history, affect studies, and performance studies. I am attentive to the ways music and dance are rich sites for digital humanist and ethnographic-based analyses regarding Blackness, colonialism, diaspora, and affect. I reconsider the aesthetics of revolution and return to expressive cultures as a site and method to contribute to current discourses surrounding decolonization and abolition.