People / Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Alan Pelaez Lopez

Narrativity, Black and Indigenous Studies, Settler Colonial Studies, Citizenship and Illegality, Trans* Studies

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Bio & Research Interests

Alan Pelaez Lopez is a narrative scholar, multimedia artist, and poet in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.

In Fugitive Authorships: Social Contracts and the UndocuBlack Everyday, Alan Pelaez Lopez examines the development of cultural production by Black migrants who have lived as undocumented (“undocuBlack”) in the United States between 2006-2020. The dissertation places undocuBlack literary and other artistic productions in direct conversation with nineteenth-century cultural production and legal conditions of fugitive enslaved subjects in the antebellum era and of American Indian communities in the assimilation era. This comparison reveals U.S. legal citizenship as a politically produces status that relies on nonconsensual performance contracts based on compulsory heterosexuality and monogamy, anti-Blackness, and Indigenous dispossession.  Pelaez Lopez’s intervention demonstrates the simultaneous erasure and production of the Black illegal subject in the U.S. as interrelated to the conditions of Black American and American Indian communities.

In their poetic, visual, and performance practice,  Alan’s work considers the written word as an unreliable category of communication. Informed by artists from the Global South, Alan’s art practices remaps Black and Indigenous gestures and articulations as ephemeral languages that the written text fails to capture :: master :: possess. They address issues of language through collage, jewelry, installations, and concrete poetry.

Alan Pelaez Lopez is the author of the art and poetry collection, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), a finalist for the International Latino Book Award, and the chapbook, to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press).

Performances and Lectures (Selected): 

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • Brown University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Chicago
  • New York University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The Andy Warhol Museum
  • Museum of the African Diaspora
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
  • Galeria de la Raza



Leigh Raiford

Juana María Rodríguez

Beth Piatote

Courses Taught or Assisted

Courses Taught at University of California, Berkeley:

Spring 2022. Native American Studies R1B: Indigenous Storytelling, Resistance & Futurity.

Fall 2020. Ethnic Studies 103: Theorizing Poetic Embodiment.

Fall 2019. Native American Studies R1A: Indigenous Storytelling, Resistance & Futurity.

Spring 2019. Chicano Studies R1B: People of Color Thought.

Fall 2018. Chicano Studies R1A: Contemporary Race, Gender and Migration.

Spring 2018. Chicano Studies R1B: Unearthing Latinx and Caribbean Literature.

Fall 2017. Chicano Studies R1A: (Im)Migration, Blackness & Latinidad.

Summer 2017. Native American Studies R1B: Indigenous (Un)Belonging. 

Courses Assisted: 

Summer 2016. Graduate Student Instructor. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain: ETH STD N180: Interculturality, International Migration and the Dialogue between Civilizations Before and After 9/11.


Select publications


Pelaez Lopez, Alan.  Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien. The Operating System, 2020.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. to love and mourn in the age of displacement. Nomadic Press, 2020.


Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Foreword.” We Are Owed. by Ariana Brown. Grieveland Press, 2021. Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “America (n): A Creation Myth.” Fantasy America: Exhibition Catalogue. The Andy Warhol Museum, 2021. Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “The ‘X’ in Latinx is a Wound Not a Trend.’” Colorbloq (2018). Online.


Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “A Future, Elsewhere.Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings. HarperCollins Publishers (2022). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Questions To Ask After Your FFS Consultation. The Rumpus (2022). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “When Dreaming of a Future Means Letting Go. Teen Vogue (2021). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Untitled.Hunger Mountain Review. Vermont College of Fine Arts (2020: Issue #24). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “sick in america.” Best American Experimental Writing. Wesleyan University Press (2020). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Libélulas,” “On Why I No Longer Care for T-Blockers,” and “A Rupture in the Crust.”  The Georgia Review. Georgia University Press (Spring 2020). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “On the occasion that i die before i’m thirty.Catapult (2020). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “A Daily Prayer.” Poetry Magazine (January 2020). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “The Spine of Gorée Island.” Best New Poets 2019. University of Virginia Press (2019). Print

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Orange: an Elegy b/c I do not Remember the Funeral,” and “Examining the Only Existing Portrait of an { }.”  Puerto Del Sol (V. 54, Spring 2019). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Zapotec Crossers.” Poetry Magazine (October 2018). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Illegal Intimacy.” En Mi Piel. La Liga Zine (September 2018). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Entrada De Diario, 2014.” Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review (Summer 2018). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “–Yil Shwe’, Shwe’ –Yil,” and “Black Indian Crosses Border at 5-years-old (Zapotec, Spanish and English translations).” Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities (Summer 2018). Print

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “An Encounter with my Heart.” Origins Journal (Winter 2018). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “NDN Travel” and “Guide to Border-Crossing Self.” Pittsburgh Poetry Review (Winter 2018). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Discovering Blackness.’” Vinyl Poetry and Prose (Fall 2017). Online.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “3 Things I Regret Not Asking From Allies and My Community as an (Un)Documented and Queer Activist.” The Solidarity Struggle: How People of Color Succeed and Fail at Showing Up for Each Other in the Fight for Freedom. Ed. Mia McKenzie. Oakland: BGD (2016). Print.

Pelaez Lopez, Alan. “Las Estages of Blackness.” Bozalta: Arts, Activism, Scholarship. Afro Latinidad V. 2 (2016). UCLA, 06 July 2016. Online.