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Paul Joseph López Oro  Joins Bryn Mawr as Director of Africana Studies Program

August 31, 2023
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Paul Joseph López Oro

As we begin the semester, we're highlighting Bryn Mawr's newest faculty members. The College supports faculty excellence in both research and teaching.

Paul Joseph López Oro is joining Bryn Mawr's faculty this fall as an assistant professor of Africana Studies and the new director of the program.

“I’m beyond thrilled for this exciting opportunity to be the first tenure-track line in Africana Studies in the history of Bryn Mawr. I’m especially grateful to collectively build the present and future of Africana Studies at Bryn Mawr with an expansive curriculum, student programming, and community outreach on and off campus,” says López Oro.

López Oro is a transdisciplinary scholar of Black Studies whose teaching and research lie at the intersections of multiple fields/conversations, such as Black Queer Diaspora Studies, Afro-Latin American/Afro-Latinx, Caribbean Studies, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and Native American & Indigenous Studies. Grounded in Black Queer Feminist methodologies and epistemologies, López Oro uses multi-sited archives, oral histories, film, social media, and critical ethnography to unearth the often understudied and undertheorized intellectual, political, spiritual, and cultural contributions embodied by Garifuna (Black Indigenous) women and queer-identified folks who are at the forefront of decades-long hemispheric movements of preserving Indigenous Blackness. His first book manuscript Indigenous Blackness: The Queer Politics of Self-Making Garifuna New York is a transdisciplinary ethnography on how gender and sexuality shape the ways in which transgenerational Garifuna New Yorkers of Central American descent negotiate, perform, and self-make their multiple subjectivities at the intersections of their Blackness/Indigeneity/Central American Caribbean Latinidad.

López Oro received his doctorate in African and African Diaspora Studies from The University of Texas at Austin, his master’s degrees in African American Studies from Northwestern University and in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico, and his bachelor’s degree in history from St. John’s University. He has taught Black Studies, Latinx Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies courses at The University of Texas at Austin; Hunter College, The City University of New York; University of Virginia; and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Smith College’s Department of Africana Studies and most recently in the Department of Sociology at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

His research has been generously funded by the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. He was the inaugural 2017–2018 Dissertation Fellow in the Department of Mexican American and Latino Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a 2018-2020 Predoctoral Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. He was the 2021-2022 Miriam Jiménez Román Fellow at the Latinx Project at New York University’s Department of Social & Cultural Analysis. He was the 2022-2023 Visiting Research Scholar in Ethnic Studies at the Institute of American Cultures and Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Africana Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that prides itself on offering courses that examine Africanness and Blackness in a globalized world. The program offers students the ability to explore Africana and Diasporic study through a wide range of perspectives such as anthropology, dance, economics, education, history, history of art, international studies, language, literary studies, performance and visual studies, political science, sociology, and social work, among others. 

Africana Studies