Vanessa K. Valdés

Associate Provost for Community Engagement


Main Affiliation


Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Afro-Latin America
  • Black Studies
  • Cultural Production of Peoples of African Descent throughout the Americas
Portrait of woman with white dress.

Vanessa K. Valdés


Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés is the Associate Provost for Community Engagement at The City College of New York, and as such, she engages with community leaders on issues and programs of mutual interest and benefit to the College, and provides vision, direction, coordination and leadership for campus-community partnerships and programs that originate from or are administered by the Provost’s Office. She is the former interim dean of Macaulay Honors College at CUNY (2021-2022) and the former director of the Black Studies Program (2019-2021). A graduate of Yale and Vanderbilt Universities, and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, her research interests focus on the cultural production of Black peoples throughout the Americas: the United States and Latin America, including Brazil, and the Caribbean. She is the editor of The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies (2012); Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora (2012); and Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean (2020). She is the author of Oshun's Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas (2014) and Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (2017). Her latest book is Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter in the Age of Velázquez (2023), co-authored with David Pullins; it accompanied the exhibition of the same name on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from April 3 - July 16, 2023. 


Ph.D. Combined Vanderbilt University in Spanish and Portuguese

M.A. Vanderbilt University in Spanish

M.A. Vanderbilt University in Portuguese

B.A. Yale University in English