People / Faculty


Laura E. Pérez

Professor Chicanx and Latinx Studies & Chair, Latinx Research Center

Chicanx Latinx Studies

Decolonial aesthetics, Decolonial spiritualities, Latina/o literary + visual + performance arts, Post-sixties US Women of Color Feminist and Queer Thought

Ph.D., Romance Languages & Literatures, Harvard University; Stanford University, Exchange Scholar; B.A./M.A. Joint Degree, Romance Languages & Literatures, University of Chicago; Cursos Internacionales de Verano, Universidad de Salamanca.

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Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way

Fall 2021: Via Zoom, Fridays, 3:30 to 5 PM PST and by appointment.


t: N/A, Main Office: 510-643-0796

Bio & Research Interests

Laura Elisa Pérez is professor in the Program of Chicanx Latinx Studies and the Department of Ethnic Studies, and since 2018-19, is Chair of the new interdisciplinary and transAmericas Latinx Research Center, at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a core faculty member of the doctoral program in Performance Studies and of the Department of Women’s Studies, and an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Latin American Studies. Pérez received her Ph.D. from Harvard University with a dissertation focused on the multiple cultural and ideological practices of the literary avant-garde of Nicaragua of the 1920s and 30s. She received her BA/MA Joint Degree from the University of Chicago, with a Master’s Thesis focused on the Spanish Civil war aesthetics and politics of the poets, Chilean, Pablo Neruda and Peruvian, César Vallejo. Her research and teaching focuses on Chicanx and Latinx feminist and queer literary, visual cultural, and performance art, and on US women of color thought. Pérez curated UC Berkeley’s first Latina/o Performance Art series, co-curated Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas in 2009, at 516 Arts Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, and curated Labor+a(r)t+orio: Bay Area Latina@ Arts Now at the Richmond Arts Center, CA in 2011. Pérez is the author of Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities (Duke University Press, 2007), a work in which she theorized decolonial aesthetics and decolonial spiritualities. Eros Ideologies: Writings on Art, Spirituality, and the Decolonial was published by Duke University Press in the fall of 2019 and received a Book Award Honorable mention from the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies in 2020. She is co-editor with Dr. Ann Marie Leimer of the forthcoming “Consuelo Jimenez Underwood: Art, Weaving, Vision,” to be published by Duke University Press (June 2022), and which was awarded the College Art Association’s Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publishing Grant. Her work was most recently published in Theories of the Flesh. Latinx and Latin American Feminisms, Transformation and Resistance, ed. By Andrea J. Pitts, Mariana Ortega, and José Medina (Oxford University, Studies in Feminist Philosophy, 2020), MeXicana Fashions. Politics, Self-Adornment, and Identity Construction, ed. By Aída Hurtado and Norma E. Cantú (University of Texas Press 2020), and Voices from the Ancestors. Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices, ed. by Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales (University of Arizona Press 2019). She is currently co-curating with María Esther Fernández a major retrospective of the work of Amalia Mesa-Bains at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive which will open spring of 2023, and editing the exhibition catalog for “Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory.” Pérez is part of the Decolonial Knowledges and Pluriversal University research initiative at the Latinx Research Center, which is placing in dialogue the philosophical thought of hemispheric Latinx Indigenous and Afrodiasporic traditional cultures with those of the modern westernized world.

Courses Taught

IHEAL, Institut des Hautes Etudes de l’Amerique Latine, Paris III—  Sorbonne Nouvelle:

Domination and Decoloniality, M.A. Level Seminar

Hispanic Theological Institute Summer, Mundelein Seminary:

Virgins & Goddesses, M.A. and M.Div. Level Summer Program

University of California, Berkeley

Graduate and undergraduate courses in the literary, visual, and performance arts and decolonial, post-colonial, and U.S. women of color feminist and queer theory, in the Department of Ethnic Studies, some of which have been cross-listed with Women’s Studies, the Graduate Group in Performance Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese.  

Graduate Seminars: 

Racialization, Visual Culture, and Performance

Non-Violence, Spirituality, Women of Color, and the Arts

U.S. Women of Color Thought

Cultural Texts: Theories and Methodologies

Cultural Politics and Economics of Museums

U.S. Latina and Latin American Feminist Queer Thought

Visual Cultures and Racialization

Visual Cultures, Racialization, and Latina/os

Art and Spirituality in Contemporary U.S. Latina/o and Latin American Visual Arts

Oppositional Theories

U.S. Latina/o Performance Art

Contemporary Latin American and Latina Feminist Writers.


U.S. Latina/ Religion and Philosophy

Curander@as, Santer@as, and Writing, Undergraduate Seminar

U.S. Chicana/o-Latina/o and Mexican/Latin American Visual and Literary Nationalist Cultures

Introduction to Latina/o Culture

U.S. Women of Color Feminist Thought and the Arts

Chicana Feminist Writing, Visual, and Performance arts

Virgins and Goddesses, Undergraduate Seminar (literary, visual, cultural representations from pre- to post-colonial eras)

Sacred, Divinized, and Human Hearts in Contemporary Latin American and U.S. Latina/o Art, Undergraduate Seminar

Chicana Feminist Writing

U.S. Latina/o Post-Sixties Writing

Mexican and Chicana/o Nationalist Thought of the Last Hundred Years

Poetry of the Latin American Historical Avant-Garde (1900s-1940s)

Contemporary Latin American Novel

U.S. Latina and Latin American Women’s Contemporary Writing


Chicana art
2019 Eros Ideologies

Select publications

“Writing With Crooked Lines,” Fleshing the Spirit. Spirituality and Activism in Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous Women’s Lives, edited by Elisa Facio and Irene Lara (University of Arizona Press, forthcoming spring 2014).

“The Inviolate Erotic in the Paintings of Liliana Wilson,” in Ofrenda/Offerings: Liliana Wilson’s Art of Dissidence and Dreams, ed. by Norma Cantu and Liliana Wilson (forthcoming fall 2014).

“Rethinking Immigration with Art” Tikkun. Politics. Spirituality. Culture (Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer 2013: 38-40. .

“The Performance of Spirituality and Visionary Politics in the Work of Gloria Anzaldua,” El Mundo Zurdo 2, ed. by Sonia Saldivar Hull, Norma Alarcon, and Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Press 2012: 13-27).

Decolonizing Spirituality and Sexuality: Chicana Feminist and Queer Art, in the online issue of “Queer Spirituality & Politics”, Tikkun. Politics. Spirituality. Culture (July/August 2010), at .

Coalition Amidst Difference: U.S. Women of Color Feminist Thought and Enrique Dussel’s Etica de la liberacion,” Special edition on Decolonial Feminisms, Qui Parle (Spring 2010).

“Con o Sin Permiso (With or Without Permission). Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas,” pp. 3-7. And, co-curator, with Delilah Montoya, of Chicana Badgirls. Las Hociconas exhibition January 17-March 21, 2009 at 516 ARTS gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities (Duke University Press, July 2007).

“Hybrid Spiritualities and Chicana Altar-Based Art. The Work of Amalia Mesa-Bains,” Mexican American Religions. Spirituality, Activism, and Culture (Duke Universityy Press, 2008), ed. by Gaston Espinosa and Mario T. Garcia, pp. 338-358.

“Maestrapeace: Picturing the Power of Women’s Histories of Creativity,” Chicana/Latina Studies. The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social Vol. 6, Issue 2, Spring 2007: 56-66.

“Decolonizing Spiritualities: Spiritualities that are Decolonizing and the Work of Decolonizing Our Understanding of These,” in Latin@s in the World-System. Decolonization Struggles in the 21st Century U.S. Empire, ed. by Ramon Grosfoguel, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and Jose David Saldivar (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2005: 157-162.)

“Flesh of the Inscrutable (On Long Nguyen’s Tales of Yellow Skin #2),” Fresh Talk; Daring Gaze, edited by Elaine Kim and Margo Machida. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003. Text reproduced for the retrospective exhibition and catalog, Tales of Yellow Skin. The Art of Long Nguyen, JoAnne Severns Northrup, ed. San Jose Museum of Art, CA: 2003, and The Hillstrom Museum of Art, Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN, 2004.

“Writing on the Social Body: Dresses and Body Ornamentation in Contemporary Chicana Art,” in Decolonial Voices. Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century, edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Naomi Quiñónez. Indiana University Press, 2002, 33 pp.

“El desorden, Nationalism, and Chicana/o Aesthetics,” in Between Women and Nation Transnational Feminisms and the State, edited by Caren Kaplan, Norma Alarcón, and Minoo Moallem, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

“Spirit Glyphs: Reimagining Art and Artist in the Work of Chicana Tlamatinime,” Modern Fiction Studies Vol. 44, No. I (April 1998). Special Issue, “Contested Spaces in the Caribbean and the Americas,” edited by Marcia Stephenson and Aparajita Sagar. In edited form also in: Rhetorics of the Americas. 3114 BCE to 2012 CE, ed. by Damian Baca and Victor Villanueva (Palgrave MacMillan 2010: 197-226).

“De lo rural a lo global: Martha Orozco y el reto del nativo del planeta ” revista de critica literaria latinoamericana, Año XXIII, No. 46. (Lima Berkeley 2do. semestre de 1997), pp. 89 100.

“Reconfiguring Nation and Identity: U S Latina and Latin American Women’s Oppositional Writings of the 1970s-1990s.” Berkeley: The Doe Library, University of California, 1995. Morrison Library Inaugural Address Series; No. 2, 31 pp.

“Reflections and Confessions on the ‘Minority’ and Immigrant I.D. Tour,” with Ali Behdad, Paragraph. A Journal of Modern Critical Theory, (Edinburgh University Press), Special Issue, “Practices of Hybridity,” edited by Mireille Rosello, Volume 18, Number 1, (March 1995), pp. 64 74.

“Opposition and the Education of Chicana/os,” in Race, Identity, and Representation in Education, ed. by Cameron McCarthy and Warren Crichlow, NY and London: Routledge, 1993, pp. 268 279. Volume now in its second edition.

Awards & Honors

Abigail Reynolds Hodgen Fund Book Publication Award

Chancellor’s Public Scholar, American Cultures Engaged Scholars Program, American Cultures Center and Public Service Center

Hellman Faculty Fellows Graduate Student Mentee Award, Directing Sonia Hart, Ethnic Studies

Alfonso Caso Visiting Professorship, Institut des Hautes Etudes de l’Amerique Latine (IHEAL), Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle, Fall Semester

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Feminist/Mujerista Theology Professorship, Hispanic Theological Institute Summer Program

Humanities Research Fellowship

Committee on Research Faculty Grants

The Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award, University of California, Berkeley 

Susan B. Anthony Post Doctoral Fellowship, Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Studies, University of Rochester, 

Mellon Fellows in the Humanities Dissertation Fellowship

Harvard University Minority Prize Fellowship

Honorary Mellon Fellow in the Humanities

Faculty Mellon Project Grant in the Humanities 2020-22
National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award Honorable Mention 2020
College Art Association’s Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publishing Grant 2020