In an era where capitalism and change threatens tradition and society along the US-Mexican border, Dr. Calvo-Quirós studies monsters and saints. As a scholar of Chicana and Chicano Studies, focusing on Design, Aesthetics, and Space, Dr. Calvo-Quirós has been exploring how communities along the shared border have expressed their understanding of their changing conditions through the consruction of new "monsters" and "saints" that have begun to dot the newly "haunted" region.

Dr. Calvo-Quirós's diversity research studies monsters and saints to understand how communitites are viewing the "effects of capitalism and change within the region and how communitites of color use the imaginary to deal with these changes." In a space of contestation, Dr. Calvo-Quirós's has uncovered a network of self-expression that has allowed these communities to make sense of their changing world and their place within it.

As he turned from his early research on how car subculture manifested American values and anxieties, Dr. Calvo-Quirós's chose to come the University of Michigan after completing his doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be one of the NCID's Postdoctoral Fellows. The fully-funded year of research, free of teaching responsibilities, allowed him to travel to his region of study and focus intensely on preparing his first book.

After completing his fellowship, he received an appointment within the University of Michigan's Department of American Culture - the same department where he was affiliated with and mentored through as a fellow - as an Assistant Professor, where he'll be able to develop his research and continue supporting the NCID as we develop our Diversity Scholars Network - a network of scholars such as him who are dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion through research and practice.

Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

NCID Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Sciences

Education/Degree: Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara



William A. Calvo-Quirós was born in Costa Rica and immigrated to the United States, with his mom and sisters, in the late 1980s. After completing his undergraduate in Industrial Design, he moved to Florence, Italy for few years. He received a PhD in Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a PhD from the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan. He is an active member of several organizations on Chicana/o Studies, Industrial Design and Queer Latina/o Studies.


Current Work:

His early work focused on car subcultures and race, and how cars manifest American values and anxieties. In particular, he studied lowrider cars customizations, their use of color and design methodologies. This project explored lowrider cars aesthetics as part of a visual language linked to Chicana/o Latina/o oral traditions and the struggles against discourses of aesthetic regulation and normalization in America. His current research focuses on the relationship between state violence and the phantasmagoric, or the blurring of the real. He studies how myths and legends function as alternative epistemic products that question invisibility and historicity while creating new narratives and significations about the border experience. His areas of interest also include Chicana/o aesthetics, Chicana feminist and queer decolonial methodologies, and the power of empathy, love, and forgiveness in order to formulate new racial, gender, and sensual discourses.


Research Areas:

Chicana and Chicano Studies