Yomaira Figueroa is assistant professor of Afro Diaspora Studies in the department of English and the African American & African Studies program at Michigan State University. Her work is centered on 20th century U.S. Latinx Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic literature & culture. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in the department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and her B.A. in English, Puerto Rican & Hispanic Caribbean Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick (Douglass College).
A native of Puerto Rico, Yomaira was raised in Hoboken, NJ and is a first-generation high school and college graduate. She served on the secretariat of the Caribbean Philosophical Association from 2010-2017 and was the project coordinator for the Women of Color Initiatives Project (organizing the 25th Anniversary Empowering Women of Color Conference) at UC Berkeley. In the spring of 2016, Yomaira co-founded founded the a Womxn of Color Initiatives Project at Michigan State. Since then, WOCI has brought a bi-annual speaker series, residencies, health and wellness programs, and other related events for women of color and their allies to the MSU campus and greater Lansing community. Past speakers include: Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Ana Castillo, and artists-in-residence Shani Peters and Nanibah Chacon.
Her research has been generously funded by the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Fellowship, the Metro New York Leader's Fellowship, the UC Berkeley Dean's Normative Time Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Departmental and 5th Account Grants and the Ford Foundation. She is part of the inaugural cohort of the Duke University Mellon Mays SITPA Scholar Fellowship Program and is a 2017-2018 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.
Yomaira offers graduate seminars and undergraduate courses in the Department of English, the African American & African Studies Program, and the Chicano/Latino Studies Program.
Yomaira was featured in the 2017 MSU College of Arts & Letters Dean's Report.