Staff & Steering Committee

Team RCA
Sylvanna Falcón HeadshotSylvanna Falcón, Director

Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies

Professor Falcón's research and teaching interests are in the areas of human rights, transitional justice in Peru, transnational feminism, and racism/anti-racism. Her book, Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activists inside the United Nations (University of Washington Press, 2016), on ways in which a race and gender intersectionality approach in UN forums on antiracism has broadened opportunities for feminist activists in the Américas, won the 2016 National Women's Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize. She has published work in various journals, including the Journal of Women's History, Gender & Society, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Societies Without Borders, and Social Justice. Over 2016-17, she was a co-principal investigator of Non-citizenship, UC Santa Cruz's Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar on migration and mobility, belonging, and rights

Jacquelyn Powell HeadshotJacquelyn Powell, Program Manager

Jackie manages daily operations of the RCA, such as event planning, guest speaker relations, and factulty and student awards. Besides her work at the RCA, Jackie is a yoga teacher for kids and adults. She has also lived in Bolivia, Guatemala, Nepal, and Nicaragua. She graduated from Gettysburg College with three degrees, one of which is in Latin American Studies/Spanish.

andrea-80.jpegAndrea Rosas, Professional Career Development Program Intern

Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies

Andrea has been a student at UC Santa Cruz for the past two years. She was one of the winners of the 2016 TheDream.US scholarship, a national award provided to Dreamers enrolled in US universities. Andrea hopes to conduct research on migrant families, specifically the effects and relationships between the children of migrants, who are left behind in their home countries and their caregivers. She also has a passion for photography and hopes to showcase social justice issues through that art form. As an RCA intern, Andrea will provide overall support to RCA-sponsored events.

Former Graduate Student Researchers and Interns

CLRC Steering Committee

amengual-80.jpgMark Amengual

Associate Professor, Languages and Linguistics

Professor Amengual's research and teaching interests focus primarily on bilingualism, experimental phonetics, and psycholinguistics. His research on linguistic and cognitive aspects of bilingualism has been published in international venues, including Journal of Phonetics, Phonetica, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, International Journal of Bilingualism, Frontiers in Psychology, Applied Psycholinguistics, and Lingua, among others. He is the director of the Spanish Language Program in the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics, and the director of the UCSC Bilingualism Research Lab.


Gabriela Arredondo, ex officio

Associate Professor and Chair, Latin American and Latino Studies

Professor Arredondo (CLRC Director, 2008-13) received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago and is the author of Mexican Chicago: Race, Identity, and Nation (University of Illinois Press, 2008) and co-editor of Chicana Feminisms: A Critical Reader (Duke University Press, 2003). Her research and teaching interests range from migration histories and critical race formations in the Americas, to comparative Latino histories and Chicana feminisms. Over 2015-16, she oversaw the oral history component of Nuestras Historias: CLRC Archive Project.

Michael Chemers 

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts

Michael Chemers researches the “dramaturgy of empathy,” a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary inquiry that seeks to understand how performance culture moves ideas about compassion and kindness (and conversely, fear and hatred) move through social networks.

k-eaton-80.jpegKent Eaton

Professor, Politics

Kent Eaton studies comparative politics, international relations, political institutions, and the politics of economic development. Professor Eaton has conducted research in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Philippines, and Uruguay.

TJ Demos headshotT.J. Demos

Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture

Founder and Director of UC Santa Cruz's Center for Creative Ecologies, Professor Demos writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art, global politics, and ecology. He is the author of The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013), winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award, and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013).  In January 2015, he co-curated Rights of Nature:  Art and Ecology in the Americas at Nottingham Contemporary and, in March 2014, he organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.


JGonzalez.HeadshotJennifer A. González

Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture

Professor González's books include Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (MIT Press, 2008) and Pepón Osorio (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). Her essays about digital bodies and critical race studies have appeared in anthologies such as The Cyborg Handbook, Race in Cyberspace, Visible Worlds, and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self. She is now coediting with Tere Romo, Chon Noriega, and Ondine Chagoya Chicana/o Art: A Critical Anthology, forthcoming from Duke University Press.


KGruesz.HeadshotKirsten Silva Gruesz

Professor, Literature

Professor Gruesz teaches and writes on the long history of Chicanos and Latinos in the United States. In addition to Abassadors of Culture: The Transamerican Origins of Latino Writing (Princeton University Press, 2001), she has published over two dozen essays on topics ranging from early Spanish-language periodicals in the borderlands, to the Hispanic Gulf of Mexico, to the politics of making a contemporary Latino canon. Her current book, Cotten Mather's Spanish Lessons: Language, Race, and American Memory, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. She is also coordinator of UC Santa Cruz's Latino Literary Cultures Project/Proyecto culturas literarias latinas.

John Jota Leanos

Assistant Professor, Film and Digital Media Department

bio coming soon

Steve McKay headshotSteve McKay

Associate Professor, Sociology

An internationally renowned scholar of labor, migration, globalization, and race, Professor McKay is the author of the award-winning Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands: The Politics of High-tech Production in the Philippines (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006) and co-editor with Sukanya Bannerjee and Aims McGuinness of New Routes for Diaspora Studies (Indiana University Press, 2012). In addition to serving on the CLRC Steering Committee, he directs the Center for Labor Studies and is the principal investigator of Working for Dignity, a project on low-wage labor in Santa Cruz County. He was also a co-principal investigator of Non-citizenship, UC Santa Cruz's 2016-17 Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar on migration, mobility, belonging, and rights.

m-ohara-80.jpegMatt O’Hara

Associate Professor and Chair, History

O'Hara is a historian of colonial and nineteenth-century Latin America with a focus on Mexico. His areas of research interest include political culture, religion, and the history of time. His publications include the books A Flock Divided: Race, Religion and Politics in Mexico (Duke University Press, 2010); The History of the Future in Colonial Mexico (Yale University Press, 2018); and Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America (Duke University Press, 2009) (co-edited with Andrew Fisher).

pinho-80.jpgPatricia de Santana Pinho

Associate Professor, Latin America and Latino Studies

Patricia de Santana Pinho is the author of Mapping Diaspora: African American Roots Tourism in Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2018) and Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010), an updated and expanded version of the award-winning Reinvenções da África na Bahia (Editora Annablume, 2004). Her research and teaching focus on blackness, whiteness, racism, and forms of resistance to racism in Brazil and, more broadly, the black diaspora in Latin America. She has contributed book chapters to several edited volumes and published in Latin American Perspectives, Latin American Research Review, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, Les Carnets du Lahic, Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, and Tempo Social. She recently co-edited with Bianca Freire-Medeiros a especial issue on tourism and mobilities of Revista Plural.

Pinho is a member of the Executive Committee of BRASA (Brazilian Studies Association) and the Advisory Board of Luso-Brazilian Review.

cat-ramirez-80.jpegCatherine Ramirez, ex officio

Associate Professor, Latin America and Latino Studies

Catherine S. Ramírez (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) is a scholar of race, gender, migration, mobility, and citizenship. Her current book project, Assimilation: An Alternative History, is under contract with University of California Press. She is the author of The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory (Duke University Press, 2009) and several essays on race, gender, and speculative fiction. As director of UC Santa Cruz’s Research Center for the Americas (2013-2018), formerly the Chicano Latino Research Center, she was the Principal Investigator of Non-citizenship, our campus’ first Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture. She has also won awards from the Ford Foundation, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, and UC Humanities Network, as well as UC Santa Cruz’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Over 2018-19, she’ll take part in our campus’ inaugural EVC Fellows Academy.

FSchaeffer.HeadshotFelicity Amaya Schaeffer

Associate Professor and Chair, Feminist Studies

Professor Schaeffer is the author of Love and Empire: Cybermarriage and Citizenship across the Americas (New York University Press, 2013), an exploration of the relationship between global shifts and intimate circuits of desire, love, and marriage. Her current research is on surveillance technologies and the sexual criminalization of migrant bodies on and beyond the US-Mexico border. Other research interests include borderlands and transnationalisms; affect and capitalism; race, technology, and subjectivity; and Chicana and Latin American cultural studies. She was a co-principal investigator of Non-citizenship, UC Santa Cruz's Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar on migration, mobility, belonging, and rights, over 2016-17.