Mariana Peñaloza Morales Awarded the 2023 Jesus Estrada-Perez Graduate Fellowship

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Celebrating the legacy of scholar and activist Jesus Estrada-Perez, this fellowship supports graduate students whose work engages some aspect of queer Latinx artistic production, cultural studies, social justice issues, and related interdisciplinary theories. This year's fellowship has been awarded to Mariana Peñaloza Morales, a graduate student in the Department of Geography, Environment & Society.

I’ve been thinking about Miami for a long time, long before graduate school. Sometimes, it is the only thing I think about...I’ve started to describe my project as a love letter to the queer, Black and brown communities in Miami that raised me—taught me to live through and imagine beyond the end of the world.

Mariana Peñaloza Morales

Mariana Peñaloza Morales is a community organizer, cultural worker, and geography PhD student from Miami, FL (Pointed Land). Their scholarly work raises conceptual suspicions about the city—as a category, as an environment, as an ontology—and its hegemonic authority from the place that we now know as Miami. As the City of Miami is made analogous with catastrophe, their dissertation project centers the cultural work by queer Black and Latinx people from Miami that troubles the impulse to sentence Miami to a doomed, drowned future. Alas, if Miami is to survive, what else must it become? The answer, Mariana argues, is already here—brimming with life and found between revolutionary art and organizing.


About the Jesus Estrada-Perez Memorial Graduate Fellowship

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This fellowship is intended to provide additional summer funding for graduate students. Fellowships have been awarded to students whose projects engage some aspect of Queer Latinx artistic production, subjectivity, epistemologies, cultural studies, social justice issues, and all relevant interdisciplinary theories and/or methods.

Estrada-Perez was a graduate student in the Department of American Studies and was awarded his PhD posthumously in 2016. An instructor in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, Jesus belonged to a number of formal and informal student organizations as well as nationally recognized professional associations. He enthusiastically participated in activist movements and was passionately involved in social justice work. Thus, he often challenged conventional practices and questioned existing policies. He was widely known and loved by students and faculty across the University and in social and political circles throughout the Twin Cities. Estrada-Perez was at the vanguard of Queer of Color theory. At the time of his death, he was conducting a groundbreaking and important analysis of the work of Gay Chicano Artists.

This fellowship is sponsored by the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies with generous gifts from family, friends, and colleagues. 

Make a gift to the Jesus Estrada-Perez Memorial Fellowship

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