Daniela Valdes

Daniela Valdes

Department of History, Rutgers University

Daniela Valdes researches the history of trans and gender diverse people of color in the twentieth century United States. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of LGBTQ history, labor and working-class politics, and Black and Brown liberation movements.

Based on extensive research in the archives of criminalization of New York City and oral histories with trans and gender nonconforming people of color, Valdes’s dissertation offers a grassroots social history of working-class Black and Brown gender diverse New Yorkers from the Great Migrations of African Americans and Puerto Ricans at midcentury to the early twenty-first century. Her dissertation is a working-class history that broaches forms of survival and resistance, including participation in the informal economy. Additionally, she examines the under-researched historical connections between the carceral state and psychiatry showing how the era of mass public-order policing underwrote the criminalization and pathologization of racialized, queered, and disabled people that continues to this day.

Daniela is a gender nonconforming Latino scholar with over a decade of community engagement and activism in the trans and queer communities of the Northeastern United States. She serves as the chair of the community advisory board for “Y’all Better Quiet Down”: Trans BIPOC Digitization Initiative” of the Digital Transgender Archive. Previously, she worked with the Rikers Public Memory Project where she co-created the documentary Story by Story: Building A People’s History of Rikers Island.

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