Rutgers logo
Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice


Carlos Ulises Decena is the Acting Director, and Cross-Campus Director of Undergraduate Intellectual Life at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, and Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Dr. Decena the joined the Departments of Latino and Caribbean Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2005. He is an interdisciplinary scholar of immigration and queer studies, and his research explores the meeting points of Black, ethnic, and area studies. A native of the Dominican Republic, Decena holds a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University. Decena is the author of two books: Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire among Dominican Immigrant Men (2011) and Circuits of the Sacred: A Faggotology in the Black Latinx Caribbean (2023), both published by Duke University Press.

Publications & Speaking Engagements


  • Kusch en el Trópico: Itinerant Fusions in the Obra of Irka Mateo,” The CLR James Journal, Volume 27, Numbers 1 & 2, Fall 2021: 121-142

  • “Afro Latina/os,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Literature, October 2019. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.378

  • “Working Trans,” in Transmovimientos: Latinx Queer Migrations, Bodies, and Spaces, edited by Ellie D. Hernández, Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr., and Magda Garcia. University of Nebraska Press, 2021.

Media Appearances/Speaking Engagements:

  • The Benjamin E. Mays Address, Social Science Research Council Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program, Annual Graduate Student Summer Conference, Bryn Mawr, PA, June 2016

  • (Invited) “Sujetos tácitos,” Género, TransGénero y PostGénero: las políticas del Cuerpo y las Disidencias en las Américas Latinas, dentro de la maestría en Género, Sociedad y Política del Programa Regional de Formación en Género y Políticas Públicas (PRIGEPP), de la Facultad Latinoamericana de las Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), June 2022.

  • (Invited) Book launching, “Sujetos tácitos,” with commentary by Fátima Portorreal, at the Tribuna Libre, Feria Internacional del Libro, Santo Domingo, April 2022.

Organizations/Accomplishments/Upcoming Projects

Previous Organizations: 

  • Columbia University


  • Fulbright Specialist Roster, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, US Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Four Years, 2022-2026

  • The 2022 Chancellor-Provost Award for Excellence in Cross-Disciplinary Research, Rutgers University

  • The 2021 Provost Award for Excellence in Service, Rutgers University

Upcoming Projects:

  • Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community

  • Healing Fusions

ISGRJ Project: Viral/Vital Conditions: Living in a World Increasingly Shaped by Multiple Meanings of Virality

Viral/Vital Conditions is an invitation/provocation for the Rutgers University community, featuring veterans, academics, activists, and artists engaged in deepening our collective understanding of the current COVID-19 pandemic in the context of earlier pandemic outbreaks such as HIV/AIDS and Monkeypox. We will examine the long-historical dimensions and practicality of living in a world increasingly shaped by multiple meanings of "virality:" how do people, communities, and systems learn from previous experiences? What are the politics of race, class, materiality, and representation in fashioning capacious futures for the most vulnerable among us?

The events in the Viral/Vital Series aim to bring attention to these interconnections and bridges linking our past and present for the sake of drawing lessons towards viable futures for all.

ISGRJ Project: Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU)

The Fellows in Racial Justice (RAJU) at the ISGRJ at Rutgers University is a new, cross-campus, intellectual learning community which aims to identify, accompany and mentor generations of life-long intellectual activists in racial justice.  

This project will center and maximize the intellectual capital and cultural resources of students, many of whom have been systematically disenfranchised and excluded from knowledge production and centers of power.  

The RAJU fellows will learn and pursue projects to renew, enrich, and maximize on-going racial justice efforts on campus to impact social change locally and globally.