Melissa Castillo-Garsow is a Mexican- American writer, poet and scholar currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. She received her PhD in American Studies and African American Studies from Yale University in 2017 during which she focused on new ways of looking at migration, ethnicity, race and gender in the US via both scholarly and creative interventions in the fields of Latin@, Latin American, American and African American Studies. Her dissertation, “A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture" establishes a dialogue between African American and Borderlands studies by considering the recent history of Mexican migration to New York within the context of a much longer history of black and brown laboring bodies.
Melissa is the co-editor with Jason Nichols of La Verdad: An International Dialogue on Hip Hop Latinidades, released with Ohio State University's Global Latino/a Studies (2016), as well as the editor of ¡MANTECA!: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AFRO-LATINO POETRY with Arte Público Press (2017). Her first novel, Pure Bronx, was released by Augustus Publishing in Fall 2013 and her first volume of poetry Coatlicue Eats the Apple was released VerseSeven in June 2016. Additionally, her short stories, articles, poetry and essays have been published in numerous collections such as Centering Borders: Explorations in South Asia and Latin America (Worldview, 2017), Afro-Latinos in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas (Palgrave, 2016), The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Popular Culture (Routledge, 2016); and diverse scholarly and media publications including Border – Lines, Lengua y Literature, Acentos Review, Hispanic Culture Review, El Diario/La Prensa, CNN.com The Bilingual Review, Women's Studies, and Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture, a publication for which she has also served as guest editor ("The Brazil Issue", 2016).
Melissa completed her Master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Fordham University in 2011 where she was a graduate assistant for the American Studies Program. Prior to that she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from New York University summa cum laude with a double major in Journalism and Latin American Studies.
As a scholar of American and African American Studies, Melissa has published three books, four book chapters and seven peer reviewed articles, that introduce new ways of looking at migration, ethnicity, race and gender in the US via both scholarly and creative interventions in the fields of Latin@, Latin American, American and African American Studies. She has presented at numerous conferences as well as been invited to such universities as Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India), Seoul National University, Syracuse University, SUNY Potsdam, Swarthmore University, University of Notre Dame, University of Chicago, and University of Long Island - BK to share her work. Her dissertation, “A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture" establishes a much needed dialogue between African American and Borderlands studies by considering the recent history of Mexican migration to New York within the context of a much longer history of black and brown laboring bodies.
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