SX Blog


Congratulations to Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé and the Honorable Mention of his SX Essay

30 March 2023
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Congratulations to winners of the 2023 Bianca G. Silvestrini Prize and congratulations to Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé for having his essay in Small Axe 68 selected as honorable mention!

Below you will find the abstract for this essay "Dancing in an Enclosure: Activism and Mourning in the Puerto Rican Summer of 2019," which you can read here.

An examination of the significance of dance performances in the demonstrations of the Puerto Rican summer of 2019, this essay argues that these performances belong to a history of irreverent, extravagant mourning gestures that periodically irrupt in Puerto Rican culture as decolonial practices by dislocating the socially prescribed binding between performance and affect. Using the theories of Saidiya Hartman, José Esteban Muñoz, and Juana María Rodríguez, and connecting to the work of Rocío Zambrana on strategies that address the island’s colonial legacy, the essay explores the mournfully irreverent dance performances of the Afro-Boricua bomba dancer Clara Isabel Díaz, the patería combativa (combative queer voguing) of Aldrin Manuel Cañals, and the reggaetón perreo of queer feminist activists Perra Mística and Kaya Té as gestures of loss and mourning that both demand redress and enact what Puerto Rican artists, activists, and critics have begun to call “decolonial joy.”