Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Student Spotlight: Marianela Muñoz Muñoz, PhD

Fri, May 18, 2018
Student Spotlight: Marianela Muñoz Muñoz, PhD
Marianela Muñoz Muñoz, PhD

Marianela Muñoz Muñoz has recently completed her PhD in Latin American Studies, with doctoral portfolios in African and African Diaspora Studies and in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Her dissertation, titled “Political bilingualism: Afro-Caribbean Women in the White and Multicultural State in Costa Rica (1978–2017)” (Bilingüismo político: Afrocaribeñas en el Estado blanco y multicultural costarricense (1978–2017), analyzes the political interventions of Black women—West Indian descendants—who have been engaging with state politics in Costa Rica for the past forty years. Situating her work within the field of studies of Black movements and the multicultural state, women in state politics, and the history of the Afro-Caribbean community in Costa Rica, Muñoz describes her work as offering "an intersectional, historical, ethnographic, and critical discursive analysis of Black women in state politics" in her native Costa Rica.

A chapter of her dissertation was published in the journal América Latina Hoy (U. de Salamanca, 2017), under the title "Mujeres afrocostarricenses y multiculturalismo tardío: reforma de la Consitución de la República (blanca) de Costa Rica."

Muñoz began her dual career in Costa Rica as an academic, teaching literature in the School of Philology, Linguistics, and Literature of the University of Costa Rica, and as a cultural manager, developing a variety of projects for national institutions, NGOs, and international organizations. She came to UT Austin in 2013 as part of the Fulbright Laspau Faculty Development Program.

During her years on campus, Muñoz has been a constant and positive presence at LLILAS Benson both as a graduate research assistant (GRA) and as a member of the scholarly and activist community. In her role as public engagement GRA, she taught “Race and Ethnicity in Latin America,” a workshop for bilingual education students at the university level. In the broader university context, she was co-organizer of numerous forums, among them “Dimensions of Indigeneity and Being (Black) Diasporic in Belize: Perspectives from a Garifuna Anthropologist,” part of the 2015 Mellon Sawyer Symposium Series, “Territorial Roots, Diasporic Routes: Native American and Indigenous Dialogues in the Americas”; the 2018 edition of the Abriendo Brecha activist scholarship conference, focused on Black Central America; and a foro urgente on Nicaragua that took place this past April. She co-directed, with Black Diaspora Archivist Rachel Winston, a Black digital humanities workshop in spring 2018. With the Colectivx Centroamericanx, a group of Central American students, she convened the group’s first “espacio tomado,” titled “Repensando la política latinoamericana das margens,” which featured the participation of Dr. Luther Castillo, Garifuna and human rights activist.

Muñoz completed her dissertation under the co-supervision of Professors Juliet Hooker and Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez, and with the academic support of the rest of her interdisciplinary committee, Professors Edmund T. Gordon, Luis Urrieta Jr., and Diana Senior Angulo. She received the Best Dissertation Award at the LLILAS graduation on May 18. Following her graduation from LLILAS this month, she will return to her teaching position at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

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  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

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