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Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Associate Professor Department of Sociology

Dr. Vidal-Ortiz's scholarship cuts across racialization, sexuality, gender, and religion, and is interdisciplinary. He has coedited two award winning books The Sexuality of Migration, and Queer Brown Voices, and is currently completing his book manuscript about sexual minorities in Santería (an Afro-Cuban religion).

A contributor to the American Sociological Association through several committees, he served as convener (and first non-elected Chair) of a new section called Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, is Past Chair of the Sexualities Section, and editorial board member for Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, published by the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Outside the discipline, he collaborates with the Center on Latin American and Latino Studies at AU, and as an editorial board member for Duke's newest journal, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

In the past, he has supported DC community-based groups such as Different Avenues (see related essay on Public Sociology) and the Latino GLBT History Project.

He continues Fulbright-based research on displacement and LGBT people in Bogotá, Colombia. With Juliana Martínez, he is engaged in 'Transgendering Human Rights," a newest research project with the Americas as its focus.


PhD, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
MA, California State University--Humboldt
BA, Universidad de Puerto Rico--Recinto de Río Piedras

Favorite Spot on Campus

the small garden on the way to the Amphitheater
Book Currently Reading
Through the eyes of rebel women - the Young Lords: 1969-1976
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
CAS - Sociology
Watkins - 103
Spring 2017: Thursdays, 4 - 8 PM
Contact Info
(202) 885-2443 (Office)

Send email to Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Race and Ethnic Minorities

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Fall 2017

    • GNED-130 General Education Area 3 Topic: How Are Latinx Changing US
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • 2013. "Displacing the Dominant Down Low Discourse: Deviance, Same-sex Desire, and" [with Brandon Robinson, first author] Deviant Behavior 34, 3: 224-241.  
  • 2011. "'Maricón, 'Pájaro, and' 'Loca:' Cuban and Puerto Rican Linguistic Practices, and Sexual Minority Participation, in U.S. Santería." Journal of Homosexualoity 58, 6-7: 901-918.  
  • 2011. Presentación del Dossier: :"¿Cómo se piensa lo queer en América Latina?" Iconos 39: Revista de Ciencias Sociales 15, 1: 47-60. (edited special issue with María Amelia Viteri and José Fernando Serrano). (Reprinted in La Página 91, "Práctica y Teoría (Marica), Homenaje a Paco Vidarte, 2011, 22, 3.)     
  • 2011. "Autoethnography: the sociological through the personal" (with Natalia Ruiz-Junco, first author), Pp. 193-211 in New Directions in Sociology: Essays on Theory and Methodology in the 21st Century, edited by Ieva Zake and Michael DeCesare. McFarland Publishers.  
  • 2010. “Religion/Spirituality, U.S. Latina/o Communities, and Sexuality Scholarship: A thread of current works.” Pp. 173-187 in Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. Marysol Asencio (ed). Rutgers University Press.   
  • 2010. “Revisiting Activos and Pasivos: Towards New Cartographies of Latino/Latin American Male Same-Sex Desire.” (with Tomás Almaguer, Héctor Carrillo, and Carlos U. Decena) Pp. 253-273 in Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. Marysol Asencio (ed). Rutgers University Press.  
  • 2010. “Blurring the Boundaries of being, the field, and nation: Puerto Rico, the Bronx, and Santería.” Pp. 217-239 in Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean. Erin Brook Taylor (ed). Caribbean Studies Press.  
  • 2009. Cantú Jr., Lionel. [Edited by Nancy Naples and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz] The Sexuality of Migration: Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant Men. NYU Press.    
  • 2009. “The figure of the trans-woman of color through the lens of ‘Doing Gender.’” Gender & Society, 23, 1: 99-103.  
  • 2008. “The Puerto Rican way is more tolerant: Constructions and uses of ‘homophobia’ among Santería practitioners across ethno-racial and national identification.” Sexualities 11, 4: 476-495.    
  • 2008. “Introduction to Retheorizing Homophobias” (with Karl Bryant). Sexualities 11, 4: 387-396.  
  • 2008. “Transgender and Transsexual Studies: Sociology’s Influence and Future Steps.” Sociology Compass, 2, 2: 433-450.  
  • 2008. “Gender and the Hybrid Identity: On Passing Through.” Pp. 81-100 (plus references) in Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, edited by Patricia Leavy and Keri E. Iyall Smith. Brill Publishers.  
  • 2007.“Latinas and Latinos, Sexuality, and Society: A Critical Sociological Perspective.” [with Gloria González-López, first author] Pp. 308-322 (Chapter 20) in Rodríguez, Havidán; Rogelio Sáenz and Cecilia Menjívar (Eds.). Latinas/os in the United States: Changing the Face of América. New York: Springer.   
  • 2006. “Sexuality Discussions in Santería: A Case Study of Religion and Sexuality Negotiation.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 3, 3: 52-66.
  • 2006. “Studying HIV Risk in Vulnerable Communities: Methodological and Reporting Shortcomings in The Young Men’s Study in New York City.” [co-authored with Ananya Mukherjea] The Qualitative Report, 11, 2: 393-416.    
  • 2005. “Sexuality and Gender in Santería: LGBT Identities at the Crossroads of Santería Religious Practices and Beliefs.” Gay Religion, pp. 115-137. Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, eds. Boston Way Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.  
  • 2004. “On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans’ Racialization.” Qualitative Sociology, 27, 2:179-203.   
  • 2004. “Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Speaking Spanish.” Latino Studies Journal, Section on Reflexiones Pedagógicas, 2, 2:254-8. 
  • 2002. “Queering Sexuality and Doing Gender: Transgender men’s identification with gender and sexuality.” Gendered Sexualities (Advances in Gender Research, Volume 6), pp. 181-233. Patricia Gagné and Richard Tewksbury, eds. New York: Elsevier Press.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Previous funded research includes: "Do the Orishas Pick men over Women? Santería Practice and Women's Religiosity," by the Association for the Sociology of Religion's Joseph A. Fichter Research Grant Competition, in 2006.

Professional Services


  • Served as an elected member of the Sexualities and Race and Ethnic Minorities sections, and currently serve as the liaison for the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment Section-in-Formation of the American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Additional ASA service includes editorial membership in the Contemporary Sociology journal, as member of the Committee for the Status of Women in Sociology, and the Dissertation Award Committee
  • Served as blind reviewer of over a dozen peer-reviewed journals/publishing companies
  • Launched a conference and coordinated, chaired, or served as discussant for over a dozen panels


  • Collaborate on the founding of a Center on Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Serve as a Board Member to the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program
  • Supportive faculty of both programmatic and administrative needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center
  • Advise Community Service Learning on a shift to Community Learning and Research
  • Active on the Graduate Committee of the Sociology Department

Work In Progress

  • An Instrument of the Orishas: Racialized Sexual Minorities in Santería. [Book manuscript, under review]

Research Interests

  • Core Research Areas: Race/Ethnic Studies; Puerto Rican/Latino Studies; Racialized Sexualities; Sexuality Studies; Transgender/Transsexual Studies; Queer Theory.
  • Secondary Research Areas: HIV/AIDS; Social Policy; Applied Research; Migration; Religion/Spirituality.
  • Methods (Qualitative): Autoethnography, Focus Groups, Interviews, Ethnographies, Oral Histories.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Professional Presentations

  • 2009. “Border Crossing and Desire: Lionel Cantú’s The Sexuality of Migration” (with Nancy A. Naples) Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Diego, CA.
  • 2009. “Jane Ward’s Respectably Queer.” Author Meets Critics, Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Diego, CA.
  • 2008. “Black/Latino relations: recognizing inter- ethno/racial coalitions and tensions.” Contemporary Issues for Activists and Allies panel at the Race and Resistance, 1858 and   2008. (A symposium sponsored by Oberlin College in collaboration with the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue Coalition.)
  • 2008. [Video-Conference] “Trans-Migraciones; fronteras territoriales, fronteras corporales.”[“Trans-migrations: territorial and corporeal borders.”] Facultad Latino Americana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Ecuador – [Latin American School of Social Sciences - Ecuador] Gender Studies Program. In coordination with the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington, DC.
  • 2008. “Authorized Knowledge and the Politics of Bodily Research: Transgender/Transsexual Men and Masculinities in recent autobiographical, cultural studies, and sociological literatures.” International Sociological Association, First World Forum of Sociology: Sociological Research and Public Debate, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2007. “Ethno-racial and sexual minorities: A conflation of terms (but different experiences) in U.S. Santería practice.” Rethinking Santería Session, Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference, Montreal, Canada.
  • 2007. “Experiencias e Identidades de Hombres Transexuales.” [Experiences and Identities of Female to Male transsexuals.] First National Transgender Forum: Transgressive Bodies, Transerotic Bodies.” Bogotá, Colombia.
  • 2007. “Making the Orishas Visible: Gender(ed) Labor and Santería Worshipping.” Dis/Organized Pleasures conference, organized by the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS), Lima, Perú.
  • 2006. “Sexuality and the (gendered) Body in Santería: Possession and the Interpretations of Bodies,” Session on The Body and Religion, Working Group 03: The Body in the Social Sciences, International Sociological Association, Durban, South Africa.
  • 2005. ““The Puerto Rican way is more tolerant:” Negotiated religious spaces among Santería practitioners.” Society for the Study of Social Problems, Rethinking Homophobias thematic session.
  • 2005. “Autoethnography’s Reach to the Future,” First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.
  • 2004. "On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans' Racialization." Sociological Seminar, Department of Political Science and Sociology, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

Media Appearances

  • News Blog—Interviewed September 22, 2009, Religion Dispatchers, on gender and sexuality in Santería. This interview took place primarily because of the impact of a recent court decision allowing Santeros in the US to practice animal sacrifice based on freedom of religion.
  • Television networks—Interviewed September 17, 2007, Telemundo, Inc.—Segment on DC metro area Black/Latino relations and recent tensions between both groups. Air appearance: November 2007.
  • Radio programming—Interviewed April 11, 2006 on Escucha y Ponte Trucha. Hosted by Radio Campesina (a southwest radio station focusing on immigrant populations). The interview covered a discussion about the impact of immigration on the sexuality, gender relations, and sexual education of Latin American immigrants.

AU News and Achievements