California State University, Fullerton
Women & Gender Studies Department
Humanities Hall 230
Fullerton, CA 92831
Xhercis Méndez, Ph. D
Associate Professor and Vice-Chair
Dr. Méndez joins us as an assistant professor after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Oneonta. She received her B.A. in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (Comparative Cultures) from Cal State Dominguez Hills, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture Program at SUNY Binghamton.
Her research thus far focuses on race, sex, gender and sexuality at the intersection of science and religion. Her dissertation entitled, An Other Humanity: (Re)constituting Gender, Bodies, and the Social from within Afro-Cuban Santería, explores the ways in which ritual practice can and does shift how we understand “gender,” embodiment, religiosity, and power as they pertain to Latino/a and Afro-descendent populations in the Caribbean and the United States. Her most recent article “Transcending Dimorphism: Afro-Cuban Ritual Praxis and the Rematerialization of the Body,” in The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory , explores how practitioners' “bodies” are reconfigured through practice and simultaneously produced as non-gendered, adding another layer to intersectional analyses of power in spaces both within and beyond ritual practice. Her work brings together Women of Color and Decolonial Feminisms, Sexuality Studies, and Afro-Latin@/diasporic Religion, Philosophies, and ways of knowing in an effort to explore alternative grounds for the (re)making of social relations, histories, intimacies, and resistant possibilities.
In the classroom, Dr. Mendez is committed to diversifying not only academic spaces, but also the processes through which knowledge is produced. Her approach includes emphasizing a diversity of thought in the selection of readings, often including non-canonical texts produced by people of color. In addition, she works to create intellectual spaces where a diversity of experiences can find a voice, experiences that were largely marginalized within her own educational trajectory. Drawing upon her experiences as a former McNair scholar and Clark Fellow and the first in her family to go to college, she has mentored and created workshops designed to prepare first generation students to face the challenges and possibilities of higher education.
2014, Ph.D, Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, SUNY Binghamton
2010, M.A., Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, SUNY Binghamton
2008, B.A, Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Women of Color, Decolonial and Transnational Feminisms, Queer theory, Latin American, Afro-Latina/o, and Caribbean Area Studies, Afro-Caribbean Religion and Philosophy, and Post-Colonial/Decolonial Studies.