B.A., Harvard University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)
Petra R. Rivera-RideauAssistant Professor of American Studies
Interdisciplinary scholar studying race and ethnic identities and popular culture in Latin America and U.S. Latina/o communities.
Broadly, my research examines the cultural politics of race in Latin American and Latina/o communities. I am primarily interested in how ideas about blackness and Latinidad intersect (or not) in popular culture, especially popular music. My first book, Remixing Reggaeton: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico, focused on how the rap-reggae musical hybrid reggaeton offers new ways of thinking about Puerto Rico's relationship to the broader African diaspora. I argue that reggaeton's black diasporic politics disrupt dominant narratives of Puerto Ricanness that stress the island's ties to Spain. I have also published articles about reggaeton in journals such as Popular Music & Society, Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
I also co-edited Afro-Latin@s in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas with Jennifer A. Jones and Tianna S. Paschel. This interdisciplinary volume combines academic analysis, personal reflections, interviews, and photography to examine how different ideas about blackness travel across Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean, and the United States.
In addition to my work on reggaeton and Afro-Latino identities, I am beginning a new project about representations of Latinidad in the Zumba® fitness program, tentatively titled "Fun, Fitness, Fiesta: Zumba® and the Production of Latinidad." I am also interested in musical production in Puerto Rican diasporic communities outside of New York City.
Generally my courses consider the histories, cultures, and representations of Latina/o communities from a transnational perspective. At Wellesley, I teach courses about Afro-Latina/o identities, Latin popular music, race and culture in Puerto Rico, among others.
When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading fiction, going to the beach, and cooking new foods.