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Joshua Deckman
048 Burrowes, Cubicle 4
Office Phone: (814) 863-9441

Office Hours:

  • M 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, F 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Josh is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Latin American literature and culture. He received his B.A. in Spanish and Education from Washington & Jefferson College and a certificate from the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico. He earned his M.A. in Hispanic Literature from Penn State in 2015 and a doctoral minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2016. His research departs from a consideration of those voices that are often systematically devalued, marginalized, and forgotten. His work brings together Women of Color and Decolonial Feminisms, Afro-Latinx/diasporic religious practices, and queer of color critiques in order to develop alternative methodologies and tools for the (re)making of social relations, histories, intimacies, value systems, and resistance possibilities. His dissertation project, currently titled “The Poetics and Politics of Pain: Decolonial Spirituality in the Afro-Caribbean and Its Diasporas,” traces the formation of a decolonial spiritual epistemology that emerges from the literary and cultural productions of Afro-descendant women writers in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and their diasporas in the United States. 

As a current fellow of Penn State’s Africana Research Center and a recipient of the 2017 CUNY Dominican Studies Archives and Library Research Award, his current teaching and writing interests center on Afro-Latinx identities, radical Black feminist aesthetics, and the active struggle against xenophobia and anti-blackness in the Caribbean and the US. At the Dominican Library Josh will research the role of Dominican women artists in New York City’s socio-political landscape, as well as their contributions to civic and political activism. This particular project will provide insight into how the work of Dominican women artists and activists has incorporated African diaspora spirituality, such as Vodou, to represent, contest, and provide multiple languages for Dominican dreams, struggles, and visions for social change in New York City.

Josh has also received a Latin American Studies Travel Grant to pursue these questions in Havana, Cuba, where he conducted archival research in the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí and the Archivos de la Nación. Parts of this project have been presented with the Haiti/Dominican Republic Section Panel at the 2017 conference of the Latin American Studies Association in Lima, Peru. He will also be presenting on Afro-descendent challenges to coloniality and Black lesbian feminist activism at the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora in November of 2017.

In addition to the elementary, intermediate, and advanced Spanish language courses that he has taught at Penn State and in the Language Institute, he also teaches Latinx Studies and literature/cultural survey courses. In the summers of 2017 and 2018, Josh will have the opportunity to co-direct a summer abroad trip to Puebla, Mexico, where he will teach courses on Mexican literature, culture, and art. He occasionally writes reviews for Voces del Caribe, a digital archive of the Caribbean found here.