Interim Dean Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés is an accomplished scholar, historian, author, and mentor of students. She joins Macaulay after serving two and a half years as Director of City College’s Black Studies Program, overseeing 1,100 students per year, more than 20 faculty and staff members, and over 60 majors and minors.
A graduate of Yale and Vanderbilt Universities, Dr. Valdés’s research interests focus on the cultural production of Black peoples throughout the Americas: the United States and Latin America, including Brazil, and the Caribbean.
Her book on the influential and foundational historian, writer, collector and activist Arturo Alfonso Schomburg—Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (2017)—is regarded as the definitive account of his experiences as a Black Puerto Rican-born scholar and the intersection of his multi-ethnic backgrounds. Her latest book, Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean (2020) is an edited collection that re-centers Haiti in the disciplines of Caribbean and Latin American Studies.
Dr. Valdés is a frequent speaker, examining themes of cultural identity and womanhood within the context of Black history and the African diaspora.
Dr. Valdés began her academic career in 2007 as Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages in the Division of Humanities and the Arts at The City College of New York. In her fourteen years there, she earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2014, and attained the rank of Professor during her directorship in 2019. WATCH: Dr. Valdés with Prof. Mark Anthony Neal on “Left of Black.”