Dr. Melissa Castillo Planas is an Assistant Professor of English at Lehman College specializing in Latinx Literature and Culture. She is the author of the poetry collection Coatlicue Eats the Apple, editor of the anthology, ¡Manteca!: An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets, co-editor of La Verdad: An International Dialogue on Hip Hop Latinidades and co-author of the novel, Pure Bronx. Her most recent book project, with Rutgers University Press’ new Global Race and Media series, A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture, examines the creative worlds and cultural productions of Mexican migrants in New York City within the context of a system of racial capitalism that marginalizes Mexican migrants via an exploitative labor market, criminalizing immigration policy, and racialized systems of surveillance. Her second book of poetry, Chingona Rules is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press in summer 2021.
Melissa’s short stories, articles, poetry and essays have been published in numerous collections such as Centering Borders: Explorations in South Asia and Latin America (Worldview, 2017), Afro-Latinos in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas (Palgrave, 2016), The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Popular Culture (Routledge, 2016); and diverse scholarly and media publications including Border – Lines, Lengua y Literature, Acentos Review, Hispanic Culture Review, El Diario/La Prensa, CNN.com The Bilingual Review, Women's Studies, and Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture, a publication for which she has also served as guest editor ("The Brazil Issue," 2016).
Melissa has given lectures and poetry readings all over the world including Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India), Seoul National University, Harvard University, UCLA, Syracuse University, SUNY Potsdam, Swarthmore University, University of Notre Dame, University of Chicago, and University of Long Island - BK, and Fordham University.
From 2017-2018 Melissa was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where she taught Latinx Music History and organized the first ever Latinx Poetry Reading and Workshop Series. She received her PhD in American Studies and African American Studies from Yale University in 2017, a Master’s in English and creative writing from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University summa cum laude with a double major in Journalism and Latin American Studies.
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