Dr. Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas is a Professor in the Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College and in the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is also the Valentin Lizana y Parrague endowed chair in Latin American Studies. Ramos-Zayas has a BA in Economics from Yale College and a MA/PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Ramos-Zayas is the author of National Performances: Class, Race, and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago (The University of Chicago Press, 2003), Street Therapists: Affect, Race, and Neoliberal Personhood in Latino Newark (The University of Chicago Press, 2012), and co-author of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (Routledge, 2003). She has also authored numerous journal articles in the fields of youth culture, race and critical race theory, citizenship and migration, the anthropology of emotion and affect. Mostly from a geopolitical focus that centers on Latino and Latin American populations, particularly Brazilians and Puerto Ricans, Dr. Ramos-Zayas’ work is comparative and ethnographic in nature.
Ramos-Zayas is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Affective Privilege: Affluence, Race, and Parenting in Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and El Condado (San Juan, Puerto Rico). Drawing from ethnographic field work in these two affluent Latin American neighborhoods, Ramos-Zayas hopes to gain insight into the ways in which parenting ideologies are articulated in the context of local privilege and global neoliberal anxieties. She is also co-authoring a theoretical and methodological piece on the challenges and productive potential of examining an “economies of affect” in relation to racialization theories. Ramos-Zayas’ body of work aims to understand and disentangle systems of power and privilege at a variety of scales, ranging from U.S. imperial and white supremacist politics to the ways in which individuals and communities make sense of everyday forms of power and subordination. Issues of social justice and the intersection of intimate worlds and political economic structures are fundamental concerns in Ramos-Zayas empirical analyses.
Additionally, together with four other ethnographers in universities throughout the New York metro area, Ramos-Zayas is currently conducting a collaborative ethnographic research on parenting spaces and practices in Harlem, NY. This is part of a five-neighborhood project on demographic changes in neighborhood and parenting ideologies, which also includes the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Tribeca, Bed-Stuy, and Jersey City.
Ramos-Zayas has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses including: “Urban Ethnography,” Introduction to Latino and Latin American Studies, “Youth Cultures,” and “Migration, Race and Citizenship.” She has also mentored a number of graduate students at Rutgers, where she taught for ten years before joining CUNY in 2012, and at the Graduate Center, as well as in other universities in the U.S. and abroad. Mentoring students and witnessing their process of discovery is one of Ramos-Zayas’ most gratifying roles.
Ramos-Zayas draws on the resources provided by the Valentin Lizana y Parrague endowment, which she manages, to invite guest speakers, fund classroom enrichment activities and award competitive research grants for students and student-faculty pairs each year. The goal is to promote student research in the social science and the humanities and expose students to the connections between empirical insight and broader issues around equality and justice.
Ramos-Zayas has been co-organizer of various faculty/graduate student workshop series at CUNY, including “Economies of Affect” (Baruch-Rutgers collaboration, 2012-13) and “Whiteness in the Americas” (2013-ongoing). She is also the organizer of an upcoming conference titled “Studying Up in the Americas: Critical Excursions into Privilege” to be held in the fall of 2014 and which will draw scholars whose area of interest include the critical examination of inequality, not only from the perspective of individuals and communities that suffer its consequences, but also from that of those who benefit from it.