Photo of Yomaira Figueroa. Young woman smiling in white blouse, with black curly hair with purple streaks in it.

Yomaira Figueroa

Associate Professor
Global Disapora Studies

Office: C600 Wells Hall

Yomaira C. Figueroa is Associate Professor of Global Afro-Diaspora Studies in the department of English at Michigan State University. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and her B.A. in English, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her first monograph, Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2020), examines the textual, historical, and political relations between diasporic Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Dominican, and Equatoguinean poetics. Her second major project, Archive of Disappearances: Afterimages of Afro-Puerto Ricans at the Edges of Empire, examines the disappearances and excesses of Afro-Puerto Rican island and diasporic peoples through the study of archival histories, photography, visual art, and film from the late 19th century to the present. Her published scholarly and creative work can be found in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, The Journal of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, CENTRO Journal, Small Axe, Frontiers Journal, Hispanofilia, and SX Salon

A scholar and organizer, she is a founder of the MSU Womxn of Color Initiative, collaborative hurricane recovery project #ProyectoPalabrasPR, and the digital/material site Electric Marronage. Dr. Figueroa was awarded the 2015-2017 Duke University Mellon Mays SITPA Fellowship, the 2017-2018 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, the 2017-2018 Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and the 2021-2022 Cornell University Society for the Humanities Fellowship. 

A first-generation high-school and college graduate, Dr. Figueroa is passionate about mentoring underrepresented and first-generation students and co-leads the MSU Mentoring Underrepresented Scholars in English Program (MUSE) which seeks to advise and recruit promising prospective Ph.D. students in an effort to shift the discipline and study of English. Dr. Figueroa teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the department of English and the Chicano/Latino Studies Program.  

Selected Courses Taught:

ENG 484C: Decolonial Love & the Diasporic Novel
ENG 820: Poetics of Liberation & Relation: Women of Color Feminist Thought
CLS811: From the Entrails of the Monster: Afro-Latinx Literary Culture & Theory
ENG 800: Race, Gender & the Human