Dr. Jessica Nydia Pabón is a diasporic Puerto Rican feminist scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University, her MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Arizona, and her BFA in Sculpture from UMass Dartmouth. She’s dedicated to action-oriented research and spends her time thinking at the intersections of identity, community, art, and resistance.
Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at SUNY New Paltz, Dr. Pabón is the first Puerto Rican woman to be hired and tenured in the department, and one of a handful of women of color to teach in the program since its founding as the Women’s Studies Program in 1974. Dr. Pabón is also an affiliate in the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program at SUNY New Paltz.
She works and lives on the unceded ancestral homelands of the Munsee Lenape people. Displaced from her own ancestral homeland by U.S. imperialism, Dr. Pabón acknowledges her role as a settler on these lands and advocates anti-colonial politics and supports indigenous efforts to decolonize. She supports the culture and sovereignty of Indigenous New Yorkers with a monthly donation to the Manna-hatta Fund and encourages you to 1) look-up whose land you live on and 2) consider making a similar monthly contribution.
Her teaching and research areas include Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Cultural Studies (Subcultural, Urban, Youth, Digital); Performance Studies/Theories; Black and Latina/o/x Performance and Visual Culture Studies/Theories (specialization in Hip-Hop Studies); Women of Color Feminisms; LGBT & Queer Studies/Theories; and the Digital Humanities. She is a qualitative ethnographer trained in various methods for talking with people, centering their experiences, and offering intersectional and interdisciplinary analyses of those experiences.
Her research is primarily concerned with how historically underrepresented and disenfranchised individuals and communities negotiate the relationship between identity, belonging, oppression, and liberation through performance (on and off stage).
Her aim is to utilize her privileged position within academia to amplify, foster, and co-create practices of liberation from white settler cisheteropatriarchal ideologies and institutions. Occasionally, Dr. Pabón acts as a consultant for not-for-profit organizations or academic institutions working on diversity, equity, access, and inclusion projects. She approaches her “DEI” work with life experiences in the one hand and academic training in the other. She doesn’t trust DEI trainings/certificates that imply that the work of dismantling the very systems of oppression that create the need for DEI trainings can be individualized, completed, or easy. Because she disliked most of the “DEI’ trainings she’s had the misfortune of attending, she strives to do something different, something better, something harder.