University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo

PostDoctoral Program: Current FELLOWs

2017-2018 Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnic Studies

Angelica Camacho

Angelica CamachoAngelica Camacho received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Riverside in 2017. She also holds a Master’s in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Riverside and a Bachelor's in Black Studies and Chicana/o Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. Angelica is a 2015 Ford Dissertation Fellow. It was the injustices present in her community, and her desire to understand, explain, and change them that drove her to pursue a career in Ethnic Studies. Today she shares Ethnic Studies’ commitment to intellectual praxis and social justice.

Her current research is on the Pelican Bay California Prisoner Hunger Strikes by incarcerated people and their families. She engages and forefronts SHU prisoners and their families’ theorizing on social transformation and the carceral state. Angelica examines the ways prisoners have used their bodies, spirit, and mental strength against the prison apparatus to create a rupture in the process that relegates them to property as they resist the conditions of confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU) across California prisons. Additionally, Angelica analyzes how people have become anesthetized to the brutality of solitary confinement and points to the rise of moral panics around the Mexican Mafia. She simultaneously explores how the War on Drugs and the criminalization of Latinx communities has contributed to the rise of the prison industrial complex in California.

For future projects, Angelica hopes to examine how the criminalization of Latino masculinity extends to police Latina sexuality and autonomy, as evident through Pete Wilson’s anti-immigrant campaigning that directly waged war on immigrants, street gangs, drugs, and teen pregnancy. Moreover, she will investigate how the proposed tough-on-crime approaches promoting incarceration as an adequate response to deviant and lewd behavior are rooted in conquest. Specifically, how the construction of prisoners as private property is founded on the erasure of native decolonial epistemologies that continuously remind us land and all living beings are sacred. Most importantly, that our desire to label living beings as void objects- and criminal- in order to contain and possess them, is a psychotic dehumanizing illusion.

As an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara her research examined how the criminalization and incarceration of black and brown youth manifested through the public-school system attempted to incapacitate and contain youth rebellion in the service of capital and white supremacy. Her intellectual work aims to shift the dominant narratives of criminality that target and scapegoat communities of color into counter-hegemonic narratives that highlight social struggles for life and liberation.

Angelica’s research Interests include: Prison Industrial Complex, Carceral State, Moral Panics, Latinx and Brown Criminalization, War on Drugs, Social Movements, Community Wellness & Safety, Prayer and Spirituality, Revolution V. Reform, Zapatismo, Indigenous Resistance, Feminist and Native Methodologies, and Insurgent Learning. She will teach LLS 238 Latina/o Social Movements during the Spring 2018 semester.