Pamela Cappas-Toro

Associate Professor of World Languages and Cultures (Spanish)

Pamela Cappas-Toro teaches Spanish language, Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures, Latino/a studies, and is developing courses in Portuguese and Brazilian studies as well. Cappas-Toro's passion for social justice, community engagement and commitment to undergraduate education guide her efforts as the director of La Plaza Comunitaria Latina at Stetson University.

  • PhD, Latin American and Caribbean Literatures & Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • MA, Latin American Literatures & Cultures (Spanish), University of Texas at San Antonio
  • BA, Physical Education (Coaching), University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüezn


Pamela Cappas-Toro


Pamela Cappas-Toro is a first-generation college student, born and raised in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. She earned her Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While completing her doctoral degree, Cappas-Toro joined the Education Justice Project, a model college-in-prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education upon incarcerated people, their families and the communities from which they come (2010-2013). In the EJP, she taught numerous ESL, Latinx Studies and Afro-Latin American workshops. At Stetson University, she teaches Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American literature and cultures, and Latinx Studies. Her passion for social justice, community engagement scholarship and commitment to undergraduate education guide her efforts as the co-founder and co-director of the Community Education Project, a liberal arts higher education in prison initiative since 2015. Her current research explores questions of power in pedagogical strategies for second language acquisition in carceral spaces. In 2016, she served as a steering committee member to launch the National Alliance for Higher Education in Prison. In 2017, she was selected as a national finalist for the Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty, sponsored by the Center for Public Service at Brown University. Cappas-Toro is also the founder and director of La Casa Cultural Latina at Stetson. This cultural center provides ESL courses for community members, extends educational opportunities into our community, serves as a satellite space for local non-profit organizations, and engages Stetson students in community-based learning and internship opportunities.

More About Pamela Cappas-Toro

Areas of Expertise

  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Latinx Studies
  • Higher Education in Prison
  • Community-Based Learning
  • Race and Cultural Studies

Course Sampling

  • Spanish in the Communities: Latinxs in the U.S.
  • The Defiant Politics of Dance, Music, and Performance in Latin America
  • Enduring Questions: Prisons, Incarceration, and Society
  • Approaches to World Cultural Studies

  • Higher education in prison
  • Language acquisition in carceral spaces
  • Community based-learning

  • Pamela Cappas-Toro y Valeria C. Servigna-Villalobos, traductoras. Equidad y excelencia en práctica: Una guía para la educacio'n superior en la cárcel. Por: Tanya Erzen, Mary R. Gould y Jody Lewen, St. Louis, MO: Alliance for Higher Education in Prison y San Quentin, CA: Prison University Project, 2019.
  • Pamela Cappas-Toro, Antonio Rosa, and Ken Smith. "Pedagogy and Authorship Behind Bars: The Challenges on Becoming a Spanish Language Incarcerated co-instructor and co-researcher." Teaching Literatures and Writing in Prison, Modern Languages Association. 2021 (forthcoming)
  • Pamela Cappas-Toro, "Pelo Rebelde: Race, Dominicanidad, and the Contested History of Natural Hair." Essays in World Languages and Literatures: Stereotypes and the Challenges of Representation, Brown Walker Press. 2018.
  • Jelena Petrovic, Andrew Eisen, and Pamela Cappas-Toro. "Higher Education in Prison: Critical Pedagogy and Incarcerated Student Identities." Special Student Populations, Routledge. 2017.
  • Pamela Cappas-Toro and Javier Irigoyen, "¿Vaos bien con la compañía?: Violacio'n colectiva y fantasía política en el romance 'Despue's que el rey Rodrigo'." Hispano'fila. 173: 3. 2015.