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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Julio Capó, Jr.


Assistant Professor
Department of History and Commonwealth Honors College

Office: Herter 606
Telephone: (413) 545-6773
Fax: (413) 545-6137


Fields of Interest: Transnational, queer, gender, sexuality, modern U.S., Caribbean, inter-American, urban, (im)migration, Latina/o/x, ethnicity and race

Professor Capó’s research and teaching interests include modern U.S. history and the world with an emphasis on the Caribbean and Latin America. His research and teaching address how gender and sexuality have historically intersected and coalesced with constructions of ethnicity, race, class , nation, age, and ability.

Professor Capó’s first book, Welcome to Fairyland: Miami's Queer Past from 1890 to 1940 (forthcoming from the Univeristy of North Carolina Press), is a transnational queer history of a city just "south of the U.S. South." It highlights how transnational forces--including (im)migration, trade, and tourism--from the Caribbean shaped Miami's queer past. He is also currently revising his dissertation, which won the Urban History Association's Best Dissertation Prize in 2012, for future publication. That work views Miami as a borderland territory connected to the Caribbean and a larger Latin American consciousness and locates the centrality of sexuality in topics that are too often "de-sexualized." This includes immigration debates, English-only movements, tourism, urban restoration, inter-and intra-ethnic relationships, and Cold War domestic and foreign policies. In the future, Capó plans to explore how colonialism in Haiti proved critical to shaping gender and sexual norms in the Black Republic as well as in the United States. His work has appeared in Diplomatic History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of American Ethnic History, H-Net, and American Studies.

Several associations and organizations have recognized Professor Capó’s contributions to the fields of urban, migration, queer, and transnational history. In addition to the Urban History Association award, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society awarded his article, "Queering Mariel" (Journal of American Ethnic History, 2010), the Carlton C. Qualey Memorial Article Award. That piece looked to the 1980 Mariel Boatlift to explore how the United States drastically shifted its long-standing anti-gay immigration policy and its definitions of citizenship to reconcile its position as a refuge for those fleeing Communism. In 2011-12, he worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program and American Studies programs at Yale University. In 2017, he will be a Visiting Scholar at the Unvirsity of Sydney's United States Studies Centre. Capó has received other awards and grants, including the Heller-Diane Bernard Fellowship Award from the City University of New York’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies and in 2016, the UMass College Outstanding Teaching Award.

Professor Capó’s research also extends to his commitment to public history and civic engagement. Prior to entering graduate school, he worked as a broadcast news writer and producer. He has written pieces for The Washington Post, TIME, The Miami Herald, El Nuveo Día, and The Hampshire Gazette. He has also appeared as a commentator for BackStory with the American History Guys (Podcast) and the PBS/Miami Herald documentary The Day It Snowed in Miami. Capó also participated in a National Park Service initiative to promote and identify historic LGBTQ sites and contributed a piece on locating Miami's queer past for its theme study.

Educated at New York University, B.A., 2004; Florida International University, Ph.D. 2011

Research Areas:

Transnational history

Gender, sexuality and queer history

Caribbean history

Inter-American relations

Immigration and migration history

Latina/o/x and ethnic history

Urban history

Courses Offered:

U.S. LGBT and Queer History

Caribbean History

Cuba and Her Diaspora

Caribbean-U.S. Relations

Latin America: The National Period

Sexuality in the Americas (Graduate)