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Julio Capó, Jr.

Associate Professor, Department of History + Commonwealth Honors College

Portrait of Julio Capo Jr.

(413) 545-6773

Herter Hall 606

Professor Capó is a transnational historian whose research and teaching interests include modern U.S. history, especially the United States’s relationship to the Caribbean and Latin America. He addresses how gender and sexuality have historically intersected and coalesced with constructions of ethnicity, race, class, nation, age, and ability.

These are central themes in Capó’s publications. His first book, Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940 (UNC Press, 2017), 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—to and from the Caribbean shaped Miami’s queer past. The book has received six awards and honors, including the Charles S. Sydnor Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best book written on Southern history.

Capó is currently working on two major projects. The first is tentatively titled Pulse: The Orlando Massacre and Queer Latinx Communities in History (under contract with UMass Press). It explores the long history of systemic violence, erasure, and displacement many queer people of color know well that set into motion the June 12, 2016 nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. He is also revising his dissertation, which won the Urban History Association’s Best Dissertation Prize in 2012, for future publication. Tentatively titled A Queer Refuge: Miami after World War II, it shifts attention to Miami’s queer, ethnic, and racial communities and the social and political movements they participated in once lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities had more formally crystallized in the city.

His work has appeared in the Journal of American History, Radical History Review, Diplomatic History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of American Ethnic History, H-Net, and American Studies, with forthcoming works in Modern American History and several edited volumes.

Capó’s research 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 for The Washington Post, Time, The Miami Herald, and El Nuveo Día (Puerto Rico). He 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.

Several associations and organizations have recognized Capó’s contributions to several fields. In addition to the Urban History Association award, the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History awarded his article “Sexual Connections” the Audre Lorde Prize and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society awarded his article “Queering Mariel” the Carlton C. Qualey Award. He was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre in 2017 and worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University from 2011-12. Capó has received other awards, 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.

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

Research Areas

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

Courses Recently Taught

  • U.S. LGBT and Queer History (Honors and Non-honors)
  • Caribbean History (Honors and Non-honors)
  • Cuba and Her Diaspora (Non-honors)
  • Caribbean-U.S. Relations (Non-honors)
  • Latin America: The National Period (Honors)
  • History of Sexuality in the Americas (Graduate)