Alaí Reyes-Santos

Alaí Reyes-Santos profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Additional Title: Pro-Term Instructor Conflict Resolution
  • Phone: 541-346-0928
  • Office: 217 Alder Bldg
  • Office Hours: Fall Term: Mondays 3:30-4:30pm and by appointment
  • Departments: Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliated Departments: English Department, Romance Languages, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Interests: Black Studies, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Environmental Justice
  • Website: Website
  • Curriculum Vitae


I encountered Ethnic Studies initially during my graduate school years at UC, San Diego. Having arrived from Puerto Rico to pursue a PhD in Literature, the vibrant collaborations between Ethnic Studies and Literature at UCSD proved to be an ideal place to grow as a scholar. I found a home for the undergraduate research agenda on Third World Feminisms, African Diaspora and Black Studies, and Caribbean Studies that led me to pursue graduate studies. Getting involved in interracial activist efforts against the War in Iraq, Homeland Security surveillance and deportation policies, and budget cuts and increase tuition, as well as union organizing and migrants’ rights advocacy work, immersed me in the applied experience of concepts and theories emerging from histories of indigenous and people of color survival and resistance. Joining the Ethnic Studies faculty at U of Oregon was the outcome of those four years spent in San Diego intertwining theoretical training and praxis.  


Research Interests

I am a professor of Ethnic Studies who also teaches at the UO Law School Conflict Resolution Program. My book Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles (Rutgers University Press, 2015), coins the term transcolonial kinship to describe anti-racist, feminist, and queer modes of solidarity across island borders. My manuscript-in-progress, Oceanic Whispers, Secrets She Never Told, is a creative endeavor that intervenes in conversations about social violence, solidarity, and community healing through storytelling practices and an analytical lens derived from Afro-Caribbean acred ceremonial traditions. Her ongoing research project with Dr. Ana-Maurine Lara, titled Decolonizing Knowledge: AfroIndigenous Caribbean Women Healers, will showcase healers and their ethnobotanical resources through an open-access digital archive sponsored by a Digital Humanities Scholarship (UO Libraries). Digital Humanities have become increasingly relevant to my scholarship. In 2017-2018, I led the digital project The UO Puerto Rico Project: Hurricane Maria and the Aftermath with a student team devoted to collecting stories about Puerto Ricans in the island and Oregon, and develop publicly available educational tools about the natural disaster. 

As a public intellectual, I have served as a consultant with the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Northwest Youth Corps, School Garden Project, Non-Profit Association of Oregon, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, and Mobilize Green, among others, on equity, inclusion, and environmental initiatives. I also served on MRG Foundation's Board of Directors and intercultural education initiatives in Centro Bono's migrant justice programs in the Dominican Republic. I am a frequent contributor to HipLatina, a digital publication, and Oregon’s Register Guard. The Ted-talk “Building Intercultural Communities” is widely used in higher ed and community-based educational settings. 

A priestess and tradition keeper of regla de ocha and regla conga-Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions-and founder of the ceremonial space Ilé Estrella de los Mares, I draw from my academic and ceremonial training to foster open conversations about social violence, power, and solidarity. The Ilé honors Caribbean Indigenous, Congo, and Yoruba heritages through transnational educational exchanges. An award-winning teacher, I received the 2015 Ersted Distinguished Teaching Award.  




Book manuscript. Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles.  Rutgers University Press, 2015.

Book manuscript-in-progress. Oceanic Whispers: Sacred Stories of Violence, Justice, and Healing in Diaspora.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

"Mangú y Mofongo: Intra-Latinx Subjectivities in Dominican-Puerto Rican Families." Co-author Ana-Maurine Lara. Centro Journal, 2018.

 “On Pan-Antillean Politics: Betances and Luperón Speak to the Present.” Callaloo 36.1 (2013): 142–157.

"Afro-descendencia y pan-americanismo en el pensamiento antillanista del siglo diecinueve." Estudios Sociales XLI.154 (May 2013): 29-51.

“Capital neoliberal, raza, migración: relaciones domínico-haitianas y domínico-puertorriqueñas.” Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales 24.1 (February 2008): 13-34.

Under Review

Hernández, Ramona and Alaí Reyes-Santos. "The 2009 DSI-Baruch Survey: Interrogating How We Study Dominican Identities in New York City." Revise and re-submit.

Peer-Reviewed Chapters

Hernández, Ramona y Alaí Reyes-Santos. "Notas sobre identidades étnicas y raciales dominicanas." Afrodescendendientes en México y Nuestra América. Ed. Jesús María Serna e Israel Ugalde Quintana. Centro de Investigaciones sobre América Latina y el Caribe, UNAM: 2019.

“Anowa and Tituba, Witch or Feminist?: A Comparative Study of Two Postcolonial Characters.” African Diasporas: Ancestors, Migrations and Boundaries. Eds. Robert Cancel and Winifred Woodhull. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2008. African Literature Association Annual Series Vol. 14: 115-123.

Public Scholarship

Creative Non-Fiction

Creative Essay. “What It Means to Be a Black Latina in Higher Education.” Hip Latina.

            Oct. 2018.

Creative Essay. “Echa Pa’Lante”: For Some of Us, Death is Never Too Far Away.” Revista

            Bilingüe. Mar. 2017.

Digital Humanities Projects

Decolonizing Knowledge: Afro-Indigenous Women Healers in the Caribbean,

              (with Ana-Maurine Lara) website of interviews and botanical resources, in-development, 2015-

The UO Puerto Rico Project: Hurricane Maria and Its Aftermath, co-created with UO

            Ethnic Studies students,, March 2018

Interviews with Dominican Social Justice Activists, co-produced with Ana-Maurine

            Lara,, January 2012

IV People’s Summit of the Americas. April 2009. 


Op-Ed. “2019: Fear? Despair? Or Embrace Our Creativity?” Register Guard, Feb. 18th, 2019.

Op-Ed. “Black Studies is growing, soul searching.” Register Guard, Jan. 12, 2019.


Op-Ed. “¿Por qué debemos preocuparnos por Puerto Rico?” Translation of Register Guard

 op-ed. Revista Caminos, Oregon, Nov. 2017


Op-Ed. “Why Oregon Should Care About Puerto Rico?” Register Guard, October 2017.


Op-Ed. “Violencia Policial y Fantasmas de la Historia.” La Razón, Spain. July 2016.

Invited Blog Entries

Invited Blog Entry. “Our Caribbean Kin,” Bittersweet Blog: Coming Together to the Table,

            Jan. 2017,

"Music, Beauty, and Afro-Diasporic Traditions." The Artfullness Project, Jan. 2014,


Media Interviews

Our Caribbean Kin, Black Agenda Report, Book Forum, June 27, 2018

School Stories, Latino USA by Maria Hinojosa, Radio Show, NPR, August 25th, 2013.


Applied Research: Equity and Inclusion

City of Eugene Climate Change Action Plan, facilitator of bilingual focus groups with

            community members in equity panel and report development, 2019

Klammath Lake and Land Trust, outreach plan with low-income, Native and Latino communities,


Huerto de la Familia, focus group with Latin@/x families, 2018

School Garden Project, facilitation and creation of equity engagement plan with minority

            populations, 2018

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, workshop and curriculum for adult

            education on equity and inclusion, 2017-2018

Northwest Youth Corps, workshops and professional training, 2014-2017

Non-Profit Association of Oregon, workshop for government officials and non-profits,


Association of American States, consultant for international report on police interactions

            with communities of color in the U.S., 2016

Mobilize Green, roundtables on diversity and equity in environmental sector, 2016

Centro Bonó, intercultural Dominicans of Haitian descent youth leadership curriculum, 2013



Fellowships and Awards

Selected Grants and Fellowships

2018  Digital Humanities Fellowship, UO Libraries, U of Oregon

2018  Research Innovation Grant, VPRI, U of Oregon

2018  Research Grant, Center for the Study of Women in Society, U of O

2017  Summer Stipend, Humanities and Creative Arts Faculty, CAS, U of O

2017  Professional Development Grant, Center for Asia Pacific Studies, U of O

2016  Research Grant, Center for Latin@ and Latin American Studies, U of O

2016   Research Grant, Center for the Study of Women in Society, U of O

2016   Oregon Humanities Center Teaching Fellowship, U of Oregon

2015    Golden Key International Honor Society Travel Grant, Australia

2014    Research Grant, Dominican-Puerto Rican Families and Civic Engagement, CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute and the Center for     Puerto Rican Studies, New York City                                           ,                                

2014   Academic Support Grant, Jordan Schnitzer Museum, U of Oregon

2014   Finalist (of 700 candidates), Transatlantic Leadership Fellowship, Marshall Memorial Fund, Washington D.C.

2010-2011    Faculty Research Fellow (Winter quarter), Oregon Humanities Center, University of Oregon

2010   Faculty Research Grant (Fall quarter), Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon

2010   Invited Visiting Scholar (Summer), Dominican Studies Institute, City University of New York

2009   Future of Minority Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (Fall semester), Women's and Gender Studies, Syracuse University

2009   Selected participant in Future of Minority Studies Summer Institute, Transnational Queer Studies, Cornell University, Mellon Foundation

2008    Summer Research Grant, Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon

2004    Dissertation Field Research Grant, UCSD Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies

Awards and Honors

2016               Distinguished Woman of Achievement, Black Women of Achievement, U of Oregon

2015               Ersted Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Oregon

2015               Guy Alexandre Paper Prize, Haiti-Dominican Republic Section, Latin American Studies Association Conference

2008               Fall Professor of the Term, Mortar Board Society, University of Oregon

2007               Outstanding Faculty Award, Office of Multicultural Advising and Support, University of Oregon

2005               Barbara and Paul Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award, UCSD Academic Senate



  • ES 101: Introduction to Ethnic Studies (F06; F07; F08; S11; S12; F13; W14; F14; S15; S17; W18)
  • ES 199: Race, Gender, and Globalization (S10)
  • ES 199: Race, Ethics, Justice (W17; F2018)
  • ES 250: Introduction to African American Studies (W07; W08; W09; W10; S12; F13; W15; W16; W17)
  • ENG 254: Survey of Latin@ Literature (W17)
  • ES 301: Theoretical Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (F13)
  • ES 330: Women of Color Feminisms (W10; W14; W15)
  • ES 300: Environmental Racisms (S19)
  • ES 399: Caribbean Migrations in the Literary Imagination (S07; W08; S10)
  • ES 399: Migrations in Literature and Film (Summer 2007)
  • ES 407: Race, Gender, and Globalization (F06; W12)
  • ES 442/542: Caribbean Literature and Politics (F08; S11; W14; W15; F18)
  • ES 450/560: Race and Sex in Latin@/Latinx Literature (W19)
  • ES 410/510: Latin American and Latino/a Cultural Studies (S07)
  • ES 499: Ethnic Studies ProSeminar (S09; S16; S17)
  • CRES 610: Cross-Cultural Understanding in Conflict Resolution (2018-19)


Ph.D. University of California, San Diego, Literature, 2007

M.A. University of California, San Diego, Spanish, 2004

B.A. University of Puerto Rico, Comparative Literature, magna cum laude, 2001