Amarilys Estrella is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate for the Center for African and African American Studies at Rice University. Her research interests broadly focus on the intersections of race and gender within transnational movements, Black Latin American and Latinx identity, as well as human rights and anti-racist activism. Her first book project investigates how Blackness and Black identity, is produced, employed and transformed through everyday encounters among stateless Black grassroots activists of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. In her article, “Muertos Civiles: Mourning the Casualties of Racism in the Dominican Republic” she examines mourning as a practice of resistance within anti-racist movements. In her blogpost “Black Latinx Encuentros: Embodied Knowledge and Reciprocal Forms of Knowledge Sharing” Estrella and her colleague Dr. Meryleen Mena explore the importance of encuentros, understood as meetings or collective forums where Black Feminists throughout the Americas create spaces for intellectual and personal reciprocity enabling us to connect across our similarities and differences. Estrella is also working on an edited book volume with Dr. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo which seeks to explore and engage the many voices of Mujerismos disrupting the silences and making visible the ways in which “genealogies of power” get mapped through and because of the body. This book volume engages multiple genres including poetry, visual art, and scholarly essays.
Estrella’s work has been recognized by several organizations for its contributions to the humanities and the study of grassroots activism. She was an 2020-2021 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Emerging Voices Fellow. She was part of the Mark Claster Mamolen Dissertation Workshop Class of 2019, administered by the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University. She was also a 2018-2019 Public Humanities Fellow for Humanities New York. In 2017, she received the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) Grassroots Development Fellowship for dissertation field research.