Skip to main content

Power SotomayorJade Power-Sotomayor

Assistant Professor

Department of Theatre and Dance

Jade Power-Sotomayor engages embodied practices of remembering and creating community as a lens for theorizing performative constructions of Latinidad. Her research focuses on Latinx theatre and performance, epistemologies of the body, the intersections between race, gender and language, and on inter-cultural performance in the Latin Caribbean diaspora.

Her book project “¡Habla!: Speaking Bodies in Latinx Dance and Performance” examines what she calls the “code-switching body” in various sites of performance (solo- performance, Puerto Rican bomba, Mexican son jarocho, zumba) and its relationship to the politics of race and ethnicity, to bilingualism and to communities of belonging as constituted through doing versus being.

Her publications have appeared in The Oxford Handbook of Theatre and Dance, Gestos, Latin American Theatre Review and she has several forthcoming pieces including a special issue on bomba that she is co-editing for Centro Journal for Puerto Rican Studies.

What excites you most about coming to UC San Diego?

I am a product of the UC system (undergrad, master’s, Ph.D., postdoc) and I am invested in the type of excellent and accessible education it provides. I look forward to being able to continue this trajectory as an educator and a researcher. Some of the things I love about UC San Diego are: its ocean views on Kumeyaay lands, the many brilliant students and faculty who have left their mark here, the Chicano Legacy mural, the smell of the eucalyptus trees.

Why did you choose your field of study?

In many ways I chose the field of theater and performance, but in many ways it continues to choose me. I discovered theater shortly after moving to California from Puerto Rico as a child and it opened worlds unknown to me, while also helping me discover and play with my own growing sense of identity. Creating performance, dancing, and being amongst fellow performance makers and scholars is deeply invigorating for the ways it asks us to work and think through our bodies in real time. There is also something inherently anti-individualist about performance that continues to make me fall in love with it again and again. 

What advice do you have for students who choose to major in arts and humanities?

The arts and humanities help orient us toward being in relation with each other, toward making sense of our unique histories, and defining our place in the world. My advice is to take up reading as a joyful practice by finding material that stimulates you, to converse with all different kinds of folks and listen to the stories they bring, and to expose yourself to as many different kind of art-making as possible, including and especially those not necessarily deemed “art.”

How do you view your role relative to the greater regional community?

Although La Jolla may not feel like a border city, to live in San Diego is to be part of a living, breathing fronterizx experience. My research on latinidad and performance is shaped by having grown up in California as a puertorriqueña steeped in a rich Mexican/Chicanx culture. I am thus indebted to the intellectual and artistic legacies of many fronterizx thinkers and art-makers, the border-busting, creative warriors of this very region. I see my role here as engaging with this tradition while also bringing my research on women of color and “performative embodied code-switching” into conversation with other complex circuits of Latinx belonging structured by indigeneity and blackness. Finally, I look to use my position at UC San Diego to support the grassroots efforts of local Latinx communities who mobilize performance in diverse ways and to distinct ends.

Tell us something about yourself that is not normally mentioned in your bio.

I bake a mean pie and my green thumb know-how brings many a smile.