Sociology Professor Sujatha Fernandes

Sujatha Fernandes

Sujatha Fernandes
Associate Professor

Office: Powdermaker Hall 252 Z
Phone: (718) 997-2841  (On leave)
Fax: (718) 997-2820

Personal website

Website for my new book: Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation

Sujatha Fernandes is Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2003. She has taught classes on Social Theory, Latin American politics, Caribbean politics and society, and cultural politics. Her research interests include hip hop culture; neoliberalism; state-society relations; urban public space; and the role of culture in social movements; with an area focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr Fernandes has been the recipient of various fellowships, including a Wilson-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts (2003-2006) and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center (2007-2008). In 2008, she was awarded the Feliks Gross Award from the CUNY Academy for Arts and Sciences in recognition of outstanding research. She is currently a mid-career Mellon Faculty Fellow at the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr Fernandes is the author of Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures (Duke University Press, October 2006) and Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela (Duke University Press, April 2010). Her most recent book is Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation (Verso, September 2011).

Access CV

Recent Media Appearances:

New York Times Op-Ed about Cuban Hip Hop

Daily News article about Close to the Edge

Video interview with Frank151 magazine on Cuban hip hop

Radio interview with Law and Disorder Radio on Venezuela book

Interview with Laura Flanders on GRIT TV about Latin America

Selected Articles:

2011. “Radio Bemba in an Age of Electronic Media: The Dynamics of Popular Communication in Chávez’s Venezuela.” Participation, Politics and Culture in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, edited by David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger, Duke University Press, 2011, pp 131 – 156.

2011. “Made in Havana City: Rap Music, Space, and Racial Politics.” Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings after 1989, edited by Anke Birkenmaier and Esther Whitfield, Duke University Press, 2011, pp 173 – 186.

Translated into Portuguese as “Feito em Havana: Rap, Espaço, y Política Racial.” Outras Ilhas: espaços, temporalidades e transformações em Cuba, edited by Olívia Maria Gomes da Cunha, Sao Paulo: Aeroplano Editora, 2011, pp 425 – 445.

2011. “Translating Hybrid Cultures: Quandries of an Indian-Australian Doing Ethnography in Cuba.” Black Subjects: Race and Research in Africa and the Atlantic World, edited by Ben Talton and Quincy Mills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

2011. “Everyday Wars of Position: Social Movements and the Caracas Barrios in a Chávez Era.” Colombia International 73, enero a junio de 2011, special issue on Latin American cities, edited by Forrest Hylton, pp 71 – 90.

2011. “Elio Rodríguez: Of Joint Ventures and Sexual Adventures,” Queloides: Diez Años Después, Art Catalogue, curated by Alejandro de la Fuente and Elio Rodríguez, January 2011.

2010. “Gender, Popular Participation, and the State in Chávez’s Venezuela.” Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics, edited by Karen Kampwirth. University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010, pp 202 – 220.

2010. “Revolutionary Praxis in a Post-Neoliberal Era: Media Associations and the New Coalitional Politics in Venezuela.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2010.

2009. “Urbanizing the San Juan Fiesta: Civil Society and Cultural Identity in the Barrios of Caracas.” Ethnographies of Neoliberalism, edited by Carol Greenhouse. Philadelphia: Penn Press, pp 96 – 111.

2007. “Barrio Women and Popular Politics in Chávez’s Venezuela.” Latin American Politics and Society, Fall 2007, Volume 49, Number 3, pp 97 – 127.

2007. “Proven Presence: The Emergence of a Feminist Politics in Cuban Hip-Hop.” Home Girls, Make Some Noise!: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology, Mira Loma, California: Parker Publishing, LLC, pp 5 – 18.

2006. “Mambíses, Malandros, and Maleantes: Imaginerías Colectivas de Luchas y Supervivencia en el Rap Cubano y Venezolano.Revista Iberoamericana, special issue edited by Alejandro Bruzual, Vol. LXXII, Octubre-Diciembre 2006, Núm. 217, pp 973 – 987.

2006. “Recasting Ideology, Recreating Hegemony: Critical Debates about Film in Contemporary Cuba.” Ethnography, Volume 7, Number 3, Autumn 2006.

2006. with Jason Stanyek, “Hip Hop and Black Public Spheres in Venezuela, Cuba and Brazil.” Beyond Slavery: The Multi-Layered Legacy of Africans in Latin America, edited by Darien Davis, New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, pp 199 – 222.

2005. “Transnationalism and Feminist Activism in Cuba: The Case of Magín.” Politics & Gender, Volume 1, Number 3, September 2005, pp 431- 452.

2003. “Fear of a Black Nation: Local Rappers, Transnational Crossings and State Power in Contemporary Cuba.” Anthropological Quarterly, Volume 76, Number 4, Fall 2003, pp 575 – 608.

Translated into French as “Quand les rappeurs cubains marchandent avec l’Etat” in Cuba, un régime au quotidien, edited by Vincent Bloch and Philippe Létrilliart, Paris: Choiseul Édiciones, 2011, pp 177 – 208.

2003. “Island Paradise, Revolutionary Utopia or Hustler’s Haven? Consumerism and Socialism in Contemporary Cuban Rap.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2003, pp 359 – 375.

Fernandes – Recent commentary on Latin American and the Caribbean:

“Straight Outta Havana,” Op-ed, The New York Times, August 6, 2011.

“Obama and the Future of US-Cuba Relations,” Economic and Political Weekly 44(19) and Znet, May 14, 2009.

“The Revolutionary Imagination in Cuba and Venezuela.” NACLA Report on the Americas, Volume 42, No 2, March/April 2009.

“Social Policy in Chávez’s Venezuela: A Radical Alternative or More of the Same?” ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Fall 2008, pp 40 – 42.

“Latin America Looks towards European Union,” Economic and Political Weekly 43 (32) and Znet, August 16, 2008.

“Where is the ‘Right’ in Latin America’s Left Turn?” Economic and Political Weekly 43 (21) and Znet, June 3, 2008.

“Cuba’s Changing Leadership and the Dynamics of Civil Society,” Online forum, Change in Cuba, Social Sciences Research Council, March 2008.

“The Trajectory of Indigenous Politics in Latin America,” Economic and Political Weekly 42(39) and Znet, February 26, 2008.

“What Does the ‘No’ Vote Mean?” The Nation, Online Forum on Venezuela, December 6, 2007.

“What is at Stake in Venezuela’s Reform Referendum?” Economic and Political Weekly 42(47) and Znet, November 11, 2007.

“The Gender Agenda of the Pink Tide in Latin America,” Economic and Political Weekly 42(39) and Znet, October 4, 2007.

“Democracy and Constitutional Reform: Rewriting the Constitution in Bolivia and Venezuela,” Economic and Political Weekly 42(21) and Znet, June 6, 2007.

“Political Parties and Social Change: Debates about a New Socialist Party in Venezuela,” Economic and Political Weekly 42(10) and Znet, March 19, 2007.

“A View from the Barrios: Hugo Chávez as an Expression of Urban Popular Movements,” LASA Forum Focus, Winter 2007, Vol 28, Issue 1, pp 17 – 19.

“Savvy Marketing or Debating the Issues: Recent Elections in Latin America,” Economic and Political Weekly 42(1) and Znet, January 11, 2007.

“With or Without Fidel: The Future of the Cuban Revolution,” Economic and Political Weekly 41(38) and Znet, October 29, 2006.

“Smelter Struggle: Trinidad Fishing Community Fights Aluminum Project,” Corpwatch, September 6, 2006.

“Way Forward for the Left: Debates over Electoral Strategy in Mexico,” Economic and Political Weekly 41(31) and Znet, August 9, 2006.

“Trade Treaties and Challenging US Hegemony in the Americas,” Economic and Political Weekly 41(20) and Znet, June 12, 2006.

“Beyond the World Social Forum,” Economic and Political Weekly 41(13) and Znet, April 6, 2006.

“Saints of Venezuela: Reclaiming Religious Fiestas,” Colorlines: Race, Culture, Action, Spring 2006.

“Growing Movement of Community Radio in Venezuela,” Economic and Political Weekly 41(4) and Znet, December 24, 2005.


“East of Havana,” review of documentary East of Havana, directed by Charlize Theron and Clark Peterzon, Sony BMG Films, DVD, 2007. Journal of the Society for American Music, Volume 4, Number 1, February 2010, 123 – 125.

“Global Hip Hop and the Africanist Aesthetic,” review of Halifu Osumare, the africanist aesthetic in global hip-hop: power moves. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Dance Research Journal, Volume 40, Number 2, Winter 2008, 97 – 99.

“The Rhythms of the Cuban Revolution,” review of Robin Moore, Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba. Berkeley and LA: University of California Press, 2006 in Contracorriente, Volume 1, Number 5, Otoño 2007.

Manifesto Project

Students in my class “Foundations of Social Theory,” read Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, and they wrote manifestos about the issues that affect them as young people in society today. A manifesto is a statement or declaration that describes the injustices of the world and outlines a program of the kinds of changes that should take place within it. Students in my classes were concerned about declining access to a college education for working class students, access to health care for undocumented immigrants, domestic violence, discrimination against women, working for the minimum wage, and drugs. Here are their voices:

Access Student manifestos

Class website: Whose work allows NYC to function?

In my Honors class, The Peopling of New York City, the students did individual research projects on construction workers, domestic workers, restaurant workers, taxi drivers, street vendors, gas station attendants, and other groups in the city, documenting the role played by immigrant workers in the economy of New York City. The students worked with immigrant worker organizations in the city and they created a website. I have compiled their final papers into an e-book which is also available on the website. Here is the link to the website:

Access Class Website

E-book from “Immigrants in the Global City” class, Spring 2010

Professor Fernandes’ Books