Social scientist, cultural activist Jonathan De Oleo Ramos is CUNY DSI’s second Threatened Scholar Fellow


Jonathan De Oleo Ramos, a social scientist, educator, cultural activist, and researcher focusing on social justice and Afro-Dominican culture in the Dominican Republic is the 2024 Threatened Scholars Fellow at the City College of New York-based CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI).

Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Threatened Scholars Fellowship Program was launched at The City College in 2023. It seeks to broaden the scope of current conversations on censorship and suppression of civil liberties by examining the limits on people’s freedom to think and speak in established and long-lasting democracies such as the Dominican Republic. 

De Oleo Ramos is the second ‘Threatened Scholar’ to join CUNY DSI after Ruth Pion Vizcaino. He will spend this summer at CCNY, benefitting from a collaborative space where he will continue promoting inclusiveness and pride in public places about Afro-Dominican music and culture in the public sphere in the Dominican Republic. 

He’s produced original and vital work on Dominican Gaga, a forbidden folkloric music and dance with African roots, which has been the target of municipal-level prohibition. He will teach a class on Dominican Gaga as part of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies program.

De Oleo Ramos will also spend time at other universities where the Mellon Foundation supports Threatened Scholars Fellowship programs. These include the University of Illinois Chicago, Florida International University, and the University of Texas at Austin. De Oleo Ramos’ experience as a fellow will be recorded as part of a documentary series about threatened scholars, and intellectual and academic freedom more broadly.

De Oleo Ramos’ publications include the book “Cofradías Dominicanas del Espíritu Santo.” 

For additional information on De Oleo Ramos’ work and the Threatened Scholars Fellowship Program, please contact Pierre Losson, associate director of the CUNY DSI, at


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Jay Mwamba
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