Pamela Cappas-Toro

Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures (Spanish)

Pamela Cappas-Toro was born and raised in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. She earned a B.A. in physical education from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez (2001) and an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Texas in San Antonio (2006). She earned a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013) where she taught numerous Spanish language classes, as well as courses in Latin American cultures and literatures, and facilitated service-learning opportunities in which students connected their academic work to service experiences in the local Latina/o community. Cappas-Toro also taught numerous ESL, Latino/a Studies and Afro-Latin American workshops at the Education Justice Project in Danville Correctional Center, Illinois, a model college-in-prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education upon incarcerated people, their communities and families.

During her doctoral studies, Cappas-Toro conducted field work on Afro-Brazilian religions and theater, as well as archival research in the Dominican Republic and Mexico City. Her dissertation, Race under Dictatorship: The Political Articulation of Citizenship and Blackness in the Dominican Republic and Brazil, examines literary and journalistic representations of blackness under the authoritarian regimes of Rafael Trujillo (1930 to 1961) in the Dominican Republic and the Ditadura Militar (1964 to 1985) in Brazil. She studied how these dictatorships manipulated local, regional and transnational notions of blackness in an effort to create an idealized, but often contradictory, racial citizenry.

At Stetson University, 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. This program creates bridges between Stetson University's classrooms and our Latino/a communities. ”La Plaza fosters educational and service opportunities for students, faculty and staff, engaging our university in a multidirectional and cross-cultural dialogue with our Latino/a community partners. Cappas-Toro's Spanish Internship course prepares students to forge meaningful partnership with Latino/a communities, while promoting critical awareness about social justice issues and institutionalized disparities.


  • Ph.D., University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A., University of Texas at San Antonio
  • B.A., physical education (coaching), University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Course Topics

  • Elementary Spanish
  • Reading Culture (Latino/a America: Desde el encuentro hasta el presente)

Research Interests

  • Contemporary Latin American literatures and cultures
  • Hispanic Caribbean literatures
  • Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian studies
  • Race and cultural studies
  • Latina/o studies
  • Community-based learning
  • Social justice


  • "¿Vaos bien con la compañía?: Violación colectiva y fantasía política en el romance 'Después que el rey Rodrigo'" (co-author with Javier Irigoyen) (Forthcoming 2013: Hispanófila)


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