Melissa M. Valle

Melissa M. Valle

Email

melissa.valle [at] rutgers.edu

Office Location

407 Conklin Hall
175 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102

I am currently an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of African American and African Studies  at Rutgers University-Newark.

My current book project is an ethnography exploring how people determine who is worthy of occupying contested space in a gentrifying neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia. I demonstrate how race, ethnicity, gender and class are encoded in the value of urban spaces through analyses of micro-level meaning-making practices and structures. I was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student award to Colombia to conduct my ethnographic fieldwork.

I am currently working on a group survey project titled, "Visibilizing Afro Latin@s" with the afrolatin@ forum. This survey is being administered during the summer of 2018 in the Bronx, NY and is designed to: (1) better understand the factors that shape racial self-identification for Latin@s in the United States; (2) identify survey strategies that effectively identify racial disparities on the ground; (3) highlight inequities in health, education, housing, and other material conditions, which are a product of racial hierarchies.

I have also completed research on Afro-descendants living in Santiago, Chile, exploring the mechanisms that lead to reduced life chances for marginalized groups and how such groups negotiate stigma perspectives that suggest their identities have been devalued.

Prior to completing my Ph.D., I spent ten years working with youth in various capacities, most recently as a New York City Teaching Fellow on the Lower East Side. I have also worked in the field of public policy and community development in Harlem. I have served on the board of the afrolatin@ forum since 2010.

I believe in the healing power of laughter, that Beyoncé is a global treasure, that I should’ve been in the Guinness Book of World Records for my childhood keychain collection, and that without justice there can be no peace.  

Courses Taught

  • Race and Ethnicity in Multicultural Societies (Sociology of Race and Ethnicity)
  • Race and Ethnicity in Latin America and the Caribbean 
  • Race, Ethnicity, Space & Place: Exclusion, confinement & transformation (RESPECT)

Research Initiatives

Projects in Progress:
  • Book project: A Battle of Worths: The politics of race, space, and recognition in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
  • afrolatin@ forum- Visibilizing Race
    • Collaborative survey-based research to test ways to accurately measure the Afro-Latin@ population, as well as paint a more vivid picture of the Afro-Latin@ experience.
  • Tow Center Fellow, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Philadelphia Media Ecologies Project
    • Collaborative study that explores how residents negotiate trust with news outlets and other communication resources—the reasons underlying mistrust, and how they adapt their communication
      ecologies when facing a deficit of trust.

Awards

  • Rutgers Research Council Grant (2018)
  • Latino Studies Faculty & Graduate Student Grant (2018)
  • Tow Center Fellow, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University Journalism School (2017)
  • Fulbright U.S. Student Award Recipient to Colombia (2013-2014)

Education

Columbia University in the City of New York, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York, NY:  

Ph.D. Sociology, Master of Philosophy in Sociology, Master of Arts in Sociology  

Pace University, School of Education, New York, NY: 

Master of Science for Teachers in Childhood Education   

New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York, NY: 

Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy  

Howard University, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, DC: 

B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Dual Major: Economics and Afro-American Studies      

Expertise

  • Race & ethnicity 
  • Urban & spatial sociology
  • Cultural sociology 
  • Economic sociology
  • The African/Black Diaspora (with a focus on Afrolatinidad in the Americas)
  • Ethnographic and visual methods

Publications

Valle, M.M. (2019- forthcoming). Burlesquing Blackness: Signifying race during Carnival and the carnivalesque on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Public Culture, 31(1).

Valle, M.M. (2017). Revealing the Ruse: Shifting the narrative of colorblind urbanism. “Spotlight on Race, Justice and the City.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.  

http://www.ijurr.org/spotlight-on-overview/race-justice-and-the-city/valle/

Valle, M.M. (2017). The discursive detachment of race from gentrification in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Ethnic and Racial Studies.                                                     http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2016.1274419   

Valle, M.M. (2014). Afro-descendant migrants in Santiago, Chile: Stigma processes & rhetorical resistance. Revista de Trabajo Social de la Escuela de Trabajo Social de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 87,3-18. 

https://www.academia.edu/11926998/Contesting_Stigma_Afro-descendant_migrants_in_Santiago_Chile                    

---- (Also published in Spanish as: Impugando el  estigma: migrantes afro-descendientes en Santiago de Chile) https://www.academia.edu/11927087/Impugnando_el_estigma_migrantes_Afrodescendientes_en_Santiago_de_Chile            

Valle, M.M. (2013). Afro-Latina/o authors. In C. M. Tatum (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Latino culture: From calaveras to Quinceañeras (pp.  527- 536). Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press.

 https://www.academia.edu/20723192/Afro-Latin_at_Authors_Afro-Latino_a_Authors_Afrolatinx_Authors  

Co-Authored Works

Wenzel, A., Nadler, A., Valle, M.M., & Hill, M.L. (2018). ‘A journalist should step correct:’ Building trust in local news. Columbia Journalism Review. June 12, 2018. 

https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/a-journalist-should-step-correct-building-trust-in-local-news.php 

Wenzel, A., Nadler, A., Valle, M.M., & Hill, M.L. (2018). Listening is not enough: Mistrust and local news in urban and suburban Philly. Columbia Journalism Review. March 26, 2018. 

https://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/mistrust-and-local-news-urban-and-suburban-philly.php

Associated Programs

Global Urban Studies