Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology


  • CAS - Sociology
  • Battelle Tompkins - T-11
  • M, Th 12:30-2:30 PM, and by appointment

  • (202) 885-2443 (Office)
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Spring 2015

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • 2013. "Displacing the Dominant Down Low Discourse: Deviance, Same-sex Desire, and" [with Brandon Robinson, first author] Deviant Behavior 34, 3: 224-241.  
  • 2011. "'Maricón, 'Pájaro, and' 'Loca:' Cuban and Puerto Rican Linguistic Practices, and Sexual Minority Participation, in U.S. Santería." Journal of Homosexualoity 58, 6-7: 901-918.  
  • 2011. Presentación del Dossier: :"¿Cómo se piensa lo queer en América Latina?" Iconos 39: Revista de Ciencias Sociales 15, 1: 47-60. (edited special issue with María Amelia Viteri and José Fernando Serrano). (Reprinted in La Página 91, "Práctica y Teoría (Marica), Homenaje a Paco Vidarte, 2011, 22, 3.)     
  • 2011. "Autoethnography: the sociological through the personal" (with Natalia Ruiz-Junco, first author), Pp. 193-211 in New Directions in Sociology: Essays on Theory and Methodology in the 21st Century, edited by Ieva Zake and Michael DeCesare. McFarland Publishers.  
  • 2010. “Religion/Spirituality, U.S. Latina/o Communities, and Sexuality Scholarship: A thread of current works.” Pp. 173-187 in Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. Marysol Asencio (ed). Rutgers University Press.   
  • 2010. “Revisiting Activos and Pasivos: Towards New Cartographies of Latino/Latin American Male Same-Sex Desire.” (with Tomás Almaguer, Héctor Carrillo, and Carlos U. Decena) Pp. 253-273 in Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. Marysol Asencio (ed). Rutgers University Press.  
  • 2010. “Blurring the Boundaries of being, the field, and nation: Puerto Rico, the Bronx, and Santería.” Pp. 217-239 in Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean. Erin Brook Taylor (ed). Caribbean Studies Press.  
  • 2009. Cantú Jr., Lionel. [Edited by Nancy Naples and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz] The Sexuality of Migration: Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant Men. NYU Press.    
  • 2009. “The figure of the trans-woman of color through the lens of ‘Doing Gender.’” Gender & Society, 23, 1: 99-103.  
  • 2008. “The Puerto Rican way is more tolerant: Constructions and uses of ‘homophobia’ among Santería practitioners across ethno-racial and national identification.” Sexualities 11, 4: 476-495.    
  • 2008. “Introduction to Retheorizing Homophobias” (with Karl Bryant). Sexualities 11, 4: 387-396.  
  • 2008. “Transgender and Transsexual Studies: Sociology’s Influence and Future Steps.” Sociology Compass, 2, 2: 433-450.  
  • 2008. “Gender and the Hybrid Identity: On Passing Through.” Pp. 81-100 (plus references) in Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, edited by Patricia Leavy and Keri E. Iyall Smith. Brill Publishers.  
  • 2007.“Latinas and Latinos, Sexuality, and Society: A Critical Sociological Perspective.” [with Gloria González-López, first author] Pp. 308-322 (Chapter 20) in Rodríguez, Havidán; Rogelio Sáenz and Cecilia Menjívar (Eds.). Latinas/os in the United States: Changing the Face of América. New York: Springer.   
  • 2006. “Sexuality Discussions in Santería: A Case Study of Religion and Sexuality Negotiation.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 3, 3: 52-66.
  • 2006. “Studying HIV Risk in Vulnerable Communities: Methodological and Reporting Shortcomings in The Young Men’s Study in New York City.” [co-authored with Ananya Mukherjea] The Qualitative Report, 11, 2: 393-416.    
  • 2005. “Sexuality and Gender in Santería: LGBT Identities at the Crossroads of Santería Religious Practices and Beliefs.” Gay Religion, pp. 115-137. Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, eds. Boston Way Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.  
  • 2004. “On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans’ Racialization.” Qualitative Sociology, 27, 2:179-203.   
  • 2004. “Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Speaking Spanish.” Latino Studies Journal, Section on Reflexiones Pedagógicas, 2, 2:254-8. 
  • 2002. “Queering Sexuality and Doing Gender: Transgender men’s identification with gender and sexuality.” Gendered Sexualities (Advances in Gender Research, Volume 6), pp. 181-233. Patricia Gagné and Richard Tewksbury, eds. New York: Elsevier Press.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Previous funded research includes: "Do the Orishas Pick men over Women? Santería Practice and Women's Religiosity," by the Association for the Sociology of Religion's Joseph A. Fichter Research Grant Competition, in 2006.

Professional Services


  • Served as an elected member of the Sexualities and Race and Ethnic Minorities sections, and currently serve as the liaison for the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment Section-in-Formation of the American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Additional ASA service includes editorial membership in the Contemporary Sociology journal, as member of the Committee for the Status of Women in Sociology, and the Dissertation Award Committee
  • Served as blind reviewer of over a dozen peer-reviewed journals/publishing companies
  • Launched a conference and coordinated, chaired, or served as discussant for over a dozen panels


  • Collaborate on the founding of a Center on Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Serve as a Board Member to the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program
  • Supportive faculty of both programmatic and administrative needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center
  • Advise Community Service Learning on a shift to Community Learning and Research
  • Active on the Graduate Committee of the Sociology Department

Work In Progress

  • An Instrument of the Orishas: Racialized Sexual Minorities in Santería. [Book manuscript, under review]

Research Interests

  • Core Research Areas: Race/Ethnic Studies; Puerto Rican/Latino Studies; Racialized Sexualities; Sexuality Studies; Transgender/Transsexual Studies; Queer Theory.
  • Secondary Research Areas: HIV/AIDS; Social Policy; Applied Research; Migration; Religion/Spirituality.
  • Methods (Qualitative): Autoethnography, Focus Groups, Interviews, Ethnographies, Oral Histories.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Professional Presentations

  • 2009. “Border Crossing and Desire: Lionel Cantú’s The Sexuality of Migration” (with Nancy A. Naples) Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Diego, CA.
  • 2009. “Jane Ward’s Respectably Queer.” Author Meets Critics, Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Diego, CA.
  • 2008. “Black/Latino relations: recognizing inter- ethno/racial coalitions and tensions.” Contemporary Issues for Activists and Allies panel at the Race and Resistance, 1858 and   2008. (A symposium sponsored by Oberlin College in collaboration with the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue Coalition.)
  • 2008. [Video-Conference] “Trans-Migraciones; fronteras territoriales, fronteras corporales.”[“Trans-migrations: territorial and corporeal borders.”] Facultad Latino Americana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Ecuador – [Latin American School of Social Sciences - Ecuador] Gender Studies Program. In coordination with the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington, DC.
  • 2008. “Authorized Knowledge and the Politics of Bodily Research: Transgender/Transsexual Men and Masculinities in recent autobiographical, cultural studies, and sociological literatures.” International Sociological Association, First World Forum of Sociology: Sociological Research and Public Debate, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2007. “Ethno-racial and sexual minorities: A conflation of terms (but different experiences) in U.S. Santería practice.” Rethinking Santería Session, Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference, Montreal, Canada.
  • 2007. “Experiencias e Identidades de Hombres Transexuales.” [Experiences and Identities of Female to Male transsexuals.] First National Transgender Forum: Transgressive Bodies, Transerotic Bodies.” Bogotá, Colombia.
  • 2007. “Making the Orishas Visible: Gender(ed) Labor and Santería Worshipping.” Dis/Organized Pleasures conference, organized by the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS), Lima, Perú.
  • 2006. “Sexuality and the (gendered) Body in Santería: Possession and the Interpretations of Bodies,” Session on The Body and Religion, Working Group 03: The Body in the Social Sciences, International Sociological Association, Durban, South Africa.
  • 2005. ““The Puerto Rican way is more tolerant:” Negotiated religious spaces among Santería practitioners.” Society for the Study of Social Problems, Rethinking Homophobias thematic session.
  • 2005. “Autoethnography’s Reach to the Future,” First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.
  • 2004. "On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans' Racialization." Sociological Seminar, Department of Political Science and Sociology, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

Media Appearances

  • News Blog—Interviewed September 22, 2009, Religion Dispatchers, on gender and sexuality in Santería. This interview took place primarily because of the impact of a recent court decision allowing Santeros in the US to practice animal sacrifice based on freedom of religion.
  • Television networks—Interviewed September 17, 2007, Telemundo, Inc.—Segment on DC metro area Black/Latino relations and recent tensions between both groups. Air appearance: November 2007.
  • Radio programming—Interviewed April 11, 2006 on Escucha y Ponte Trucha. Hosted by Radio Campesina (a southwest radio station focusing on immigrant populations). The interview covered a discussion about the impact of immigration on the sexuality, gender relations, and sexual education of Latin American immigrants.

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