James Padilioni, Jr.
Consortium for Faculty Diversity Dissertation Fellow
SpecialtyUS, African Diaspora, Latin America
My teaching and research foregrounds the African Diaspora and the institution of Black chattel slavery in the West. I am interested in the diverse lifeworlds created by enslaved Africans and their descendants, and my scholarship reveals the historical relations that have structured and materialized the networks harnessed by Black peoples across the Diaspora to mobilize and circulate resources in their varied yet persistent efforts to create meaningfulness out of the fragments of the Middle Passage. In particular, I focus on the history of Black religious and aesthetic practices, with specialties in Black music, performance, and ritual; African American and Afro-Latinx folk Catholicism; and Afro-Caribbean syncretic and creolized cosmologies. My work and pedagogy also interrogate the genealogy of the modern concept of race, understanding it to be a floating signifier that materializes within integrated historical contexts on local and global levels.
I am a PhD Candidate at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA currently finishing my dissertation “Black Ecstasies: Re/membering the Diaspora Through St. Martin de Porres.” Part history, part ethnography, and part critical race theory, this project examines the circulation of iconography and restaging of rituals and performances relating to St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), the first Catholic saint of African descent from the Americas, through several case studies located from the 17th-21st centuries across the Caribbean, South America, and the United States. This research positions Martin de Porres as both a historical figure and a figure of repetition within Black cultures whose six-century durée within the African Diaspora reveals the nature of Diasporic networking, ethical affiliation, resource circulation, project mobilization, and the work of collective memory.
I engage public scholarship across various platforms in cyberspace. I am a co-host of the Always Already critical theory podcast and the director of its Epistemic Unruliness stream where I interview activists, scholars, and artists who use their craft to challenge systems of domination. I am a contributor to Black Perspectives, the peer-reviewed blog of the African-American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).
PhD Candidate/ABD, American Studies, The College of William and Mary
MA, American Studies, The College of William and Mary
BA in History, Music minor, West Chester University