Alonso Peña


Education: Majoring in English and American ethnic studies

McNair Project: Decolonizing Knowledge: Self Construction of SuperQUEERoes through Disidentification and Witness (2016)

Mentor: Tushabe wa Tushabe, Ph.D.

Superheroes have epistemologically tied superpower to white male identification to negate and subjugate marginalized individuals. White male superhero identities are colonial and manifest violence against queer people of color and people who do not fit the rigid molds of identity created by colonialism. However, as a child I was able to imagine myself as super powerful to survive systemic oppression and negation. Because I am unwilling to forfeit this sense of imagination, I argue that to bear witness to my experiences and the experiences of other queer people of color, we must dis-identify with superheroes and their attachment to white masculine strength and domination. Queer people of color who are negated and erased can imagine themselves as superQUEERoes as a praxical way of transforming oppressive knowledge and relationships into ways erased and negated people can activate their own agency to embody change in themselves and their communities.