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Gloria Negrete-Lopez: Changing perceptions of migrants through art

Gloria Negrete-Lopez

Gloria Negrete-Lopez, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is taking a hard look at art and how it colors perceptions of Latin American migrants. Her work addresses a range of topics including gender and feminist studies, Latinx/e studies, migration, queer and trans of color critique and culture studies. At present, she’s working on a book about the artistic and cultural work of migration activists.

I hope to . . . eventually create links to the migrant community here in West Virginia.

Negrete-Lopez received her bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles; a master’s from San Francisco State University; and her doctorate from the University of Arizona. 

Q: Your academic career has been pretty focused.

A: All the degrees I have received have been in women's and gender studies. I specialize in women of color feminisms, migration studies, and cultural studies focusing on the role of art in changing perceptions of how we view Latin American migrants in popular culture. 

Q: How did you find your direction?

A: When I was growing up, I knew that I wanted to teach, but I was unsure if I wanted to be a schoolteacher or not. I would often line up all my stuffed animals and pretend that I was teaching them a fascinating lesson. When I went to community college, I was finally able to take classes that I found interesting and that piqued my interest in feminism and gender studies. After my first women's studies class at Fullerton College (a community college in California), I knew exactly what my career path would be at that moment. I enjoy interacting with students and get excited when I see my students use the lessons they have learned in class to their lives and/or outside the classroom. 

Q: What kind of research are you hoping to focus on at Eberly?

A: I have a few research projects that I am currently working on that are based in creative and artistic approaches to thinking about Latin American migrants, specifically how migrants are criminalized. Additionally, I want to continue thinking about the role of digital activism and art. 

Q: What kind of impact might your work have in West Virginia?

A: I hope to continue the work I mentioned and eventually create links to the migrant community here in West Virginia. Additionally, I would like to curate creative programs that bring together the WVU Art Museum and the larger Morgantown community. 

Q: Everybody has a series of nicknames for their pets. Tell us about yours. 

A: I can talk about my pets for hours, and I have tons of photos to go along with it. My first pet ever is my 5-year-old poodle mix rescue who goes by the name of Auggie. He has only 1-eye and is about the sweetest dog you can ever meet, and he has a lot of nicknames, but my favorite is "Augg-teenie" or "Papas." Now, my second dog is a 2-year-old Miniature Schnauzer mix by the name of Espy who has a single black ear and a black spot on her tail while her whole body is white. Her nickname is "Espy-licious" or "Lil Mama."

Written by Laura Roberts