Research and Public Scholarship


Keishla’s research interests include contemporary U.S. Latinx Studies and literature, Puerto Rican Studies, and Caribbean Diaspora Studies with a focus on gender, race, configurations of the body, the (maternal) body, Afro-Latinidad, communal trauma, identity, coloniality and decolonization. She was a 2019 Summer Dissertation Fellow at The Center For Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College where she completed a writing and research residency. Her dissertation research was also generously funded by Rutgers University entities: I was a 2019-2020 Rutgers University Dean’s Dissertation Fellow at The Graduate School-Newark, and I was also awarded a research grant by the Rutgers Latino Research Initiative to conduct archival research at The University of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s national archives. She pursued a doctorate in American Studies to conduct interdisciplinary research and combine her passion for literature, history, and cultural studies. Her research, pedagogical practice, and social justice endeavors are foregrounded on decolonial thought and women of color feminist theory, which pushes her to do work that is inclusive and just.

Research writing

“Puerto Rican Diasporic Novels: Witnessing State Violence and Contesting Freedom in Nicholasa Mohr’s Felita and Nilda,” Label Me Latina/o Journal, Fall 2022

“Memory and Revisionist Work in Daughters of the Stone: An Interview with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa,” Centro Journal, November 2021

“Mothers of the Grand House: Race, Motherhood, & Memory in Puerto Rican Historical Fiction,” Hispanófila Journal, June 2020

Public Scholarship

As a graduate student (Spring 2018/Spring 2019), Keishla conducted collaborative research with #ProyectoPalabrasPR – a radical literacy and hurricane recovery project spearheaded by faculty from Michigan State University. During the Spring 2018 semester, they traveled to Puerto Rico to witness and document the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the island’s economy, population, ecology, and marginalized communities. Keishla created an oral history project, “New Jersey Latino Experiences During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” aimed at collecting testimonies during her NEH postdoc at Montclair State University. She is also currently developing a grant-funded digital humanities project, DominiRicanDH, with her co-PI, Dr. Omaris Z. Zamora. More soon!

upcoming and previous events

March 2023
Black Panther 2 Screening and Post-Film Dialogue
Princeton, NJ

October 2022
Research Presentation at Puerto Rican Studies Association

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