Program in Comparative Literature

Michael Reyes Salas

Postdoctoral Fellow, Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative

Doctor of Philosophy
Michael Reyes Salas



Critical Carceral Studies; African-American, French, Latin American and Caribbean literatures; Black/Afro-Latinx Diasporas; Black Existentialism; Narrative and Memory; and Postcolonial Theory.


Michael Reyes Salas is a Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned his PhD from the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Chicano of Afro-Mexican descent and first-generation scholar who studies the literary and intellectual history of Black diaspora communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. He serves as a writing advisor for Barrio Writers, a creative writing summer workshop for youth, a volunteer instructor for the Texas Prison Education Initiative, and materials translator for Critical Resistance.

Born in Southern California, he is a proud descendant of Mexican immigrants. His itinerant upbringing took place in several cities within the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys of Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, as well as various years between Xalapa, Veracruz and Tequila, Jalisco. Throughout his doctoral studies, he has presented research across the United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and Martinique. He has traveled extensively across the US, France, Spain, Denmark, Morocco, Portugal, India, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia.

His current project, Fragments of Carceral Memory, studies African-American, Caribbean, and French carceral narratives alongside penal heritage commemoration practices, with a concentration on Guyane’s penal colony. He investigates carceral narratives and institutional penal history to shed light on how stories both personal and imperial must undergird our approaches to challenging the prison-industrial complex.

Follow him on twitter @mreyes_salas.