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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 728
Telephone: (413) 545-6773
Fax: (413) 545-6137


Fields of Interest: Transnational history, Gender, sexuality and queer history, Caribbean history, Inter-American relations, Immigration and migration history, Latina/o and ethnic history, Urban history

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, and class.

Professor Capó’s first book project, currently in progress, offers new interpretations of Latina/o, ethnic, race, migration, urban, gender, and queer history. It chronicles the complex ways queer individuals negotiated their own identities and space in the city of Miami from its incorporation in 1896 to the present. His work views Miami as a borderland territory connected to the Caribbean and a larger Latin American consciousness. Capó traces how temporary and permanent settlers from the nearby Caribbean—including those from the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti—proved instrumental to the urban authority’s policing of same-sex acts and the construction of homosexual identities. Professor Capó’s work locates the centrality of sexuality in topics that are too often “de-sexualized,” such as 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 U.S. imperialism systemically subverted non-normative gender and sexual manifestations in Haiti.

Several associations and organizations have recognized Professor Capó’s contributions to the fields of urban, migration, queer, and transnational history. In 2012, the Urban History Association awarded him the Best Dissertation Prize. The previous year, 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-homosexual stance on immigration and citizenship to reconcile its position as a refuge for those fleeing Communism. In 2011, he worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program and American Studies Program at Yale University. He 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.

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. His work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Hampshire Gazette, and BackStory with the American History Guys (Podcast). He recently appeared as a commentator in the PBS/Miami Herald documentary, The Day It Snowed in Miami. He also participated in a National Park Service initiative to promote and identify historic LGBTQ sites.

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 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