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Latina/Latino Studies Invited Lecture: Dr. Roberta Hurtado, “Revealing Potential: Colonialism, Sexuality, and Puerto Rican Women’s Decolonial Erotic Aesthetics of the Flesh”

Event Type
Department of Latina/Latino Studies
Room 103, 1207 W. Oregon St., Urbana
Feb 21, 2024   3:30 - 5:00 pm  
Dr. Roberta Hurtado
Originating Calendar
Latina/Latino Studies Event Calendar

Abstract: Anglo-US colonial narratives routinely depict heterosexual Puerto Rican women as hypersexual. The 20th century has witnessed these narratives fostering government policies and legislation that attempt to control Puertorriqueña’s sexuality on the grounds of social necessity. For those on the mainland, these “necessities” have manifested in nuanced experiences of violence. But these are not mainland Puerto Rican women’s only story. This talk shares from the first chapter of my second book, But Is It Sexy?, and how author Ivelisse Rodriguez explores these different historical realities and exposes the impact of transforming mainland heterosexual Puerto Rican women’s sexuality into a technology of domination. In this talk, I also define the “decolonial reveal” as a theme in Rodriguez’s short story “Holyoke, MA” that strategically moves toward the flesh of sexual-erotic potential. But Is It Sexy? contends that this theme participates in previously unmapped decolonial erotic aesthetics in mainland Puerto Rican women literature.

Dr. Roberta Hurtado is the Associate Professor of Latina/e/o/x Literature and Culture at SUNY Oswego, and the inaugural Director of the newly launched Latino and Latin American Studies (LLAS) program at Oswego. She is also the inaugural Fellow of the James A. Triandiflou ’88 Institue for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Transformative Practice for the Spring 2023-Spring 2024 terms. Her work explores knowledge that emerges from flesh experiences—both on the personal and communal levels, as well as across and between generations—and how it is represented in art as a method to promote healing and liberation. Her book, Decolonial Puerto Rican Women’s Writings; Subversion in the Flesh, is part of Palgrave Macmillan’s “Literature of the Americas” series. It is also a ranked finalist in the 2020 International Latino Book Awards Women’s Issues category. Hurtado’s work has been published in journals such as Label Me Latina/o, Chiricú, and Journal of Critical Latina Feminisms. She resides in Upstate NY where her current research projects include studies in sexuality, Puerto Rican Women’s Literature, and trauma. 

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