The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia


Gender and sexuality are central to the ways in which Garífuna New Yorkers negotiate migrations, build cultural movements, and transnational networks beyond multiple borders of nation-states and racial subjectivities. Garífuna are descendants of shipwrecked enslaved West Africans and Carib-Arawak indigenous peoples on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, their exile by British colonial forces in 1797 led them to the Bay Islands of Honduras, then subsequent migrations to Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and mainland Honduras. Their first Great Migration to the United States begins in the late 1950s due to the economic collapse of the United Fruit Company. New York City is home to the largest Garífuna community outside of Central America's Caribbean Coast. My dissertation, Queering Garifuna: The Diasporic Politics of Black Indigeneity in New York City, is an ethnographic and archival study on how gender and sexuality shapes the ways in which Garifuna New Yorkers negotiate and perform their multiple subjectivities as Black, Indigenous, and Latinx. Building upon Black Queer Diaspora theories to closely examine the processes of self-making, performance, ancestral memory, visual cultures, and hemispheric articulations of Blackness, Indigeneity, and Latinidad. Situating Garifuna New Yorkers as a political project of self-making Garifunaness vis-a-vis cultural and sociolinguistic preservation and restoration. I argue that Garifuna New Yorkers engage in a diasporic politics of Black Indigeneity that disrupt U.S. Blackness, Latin American mestizaje, and U.S. Latinidad. Queering Garífuna is a study of political movements, transgenerational migrations, and racial & ethnic negotiations. 

First Name: 
Paul Joseph López
Pre-Doctoral Fellow (African and African Diaspora Studies)
The University of Texas at Austin
Dissertation Title: 
"Queering Garifuna: The Diasporic Politics of Black Indigeneity in New York City"