Research Interest: Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean; Social Inequality; Political Economy; Cultural Studies; Narcoculture; Death Studies; Qualitative & mixed methods
M.A. Thesis & Dissertation
M.A. Thesis Title: "Que me velen para'o": "Velorios exóticos y desafíos a la marginalidad puertorriqueña contemporánea (Sociology, University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras)
The wake ceremony is the last opportunity the body has to project itself to the community and to society. Since 2008, Puerto Rico has seen a shift in the practices on how the corpse is projected during its last performance. This paper examines gatherings in which the deceased body assumes a public appearance outside of the coffin and simulating life in a frozen position. This phenomenon has been called “velorios exóticos” (“exotic wakes”) and “los muertos para’os” (“standing deaths”). The wake outside the coffin is observed, in the paradigms of the Latin American cultural studies, as a cultural manifestation of the Puerto Rican narcoculture (drug dealing and trade practices) and how it has entered other popular and marginalized sectors with low-income in the country. This study is informed using sociocultural theoretical approaches, including theories of “necropolitics”, classical and contemporary theory of death studies, and theories of performance and cultural studies. My analysis uses several methodological approaches including: participant observation notes, interviews to family members of the deceased and funeral home managers, and an archival material on “exotic wakes”.
Graduate Research Assistant, 2016 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Supervisor: Lidia Marte, Ph.D. Project: "Food and Power in Río Piedras.”
Graduate Research Assistant, 2012-2014 Center for Social Research, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Supervisor: Emilio Pantojas-García, Ph.D.
Research Assistant, 2008-2010 Center for Applied Social Research, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Supervisor: Michael González-Cruz, Ph.D. Project: “Assessment of the waterfowl hunters as key Stakeholders of the Boquerón Wildlife Refuge.”
Research Assistant, 2007-2010 Interdisciplinary Center for Coastal Studies, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Supervisor: Manuel Valdés-Pizzini, Ph.D.