Susana Peña

Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
250 Shatzel Hall | 419-372-2796 |

My research focuses on the intersection of race, sexuality and gender with a particular focus on Latinx populations.  In recent years, I have also contributed to both research and service related to increasing equity and diversity in higher education.
My core faculty appointment is in Ethnic Studies where I currently serve as Chair and Graduate Coordinator.  I am also Affiliated Faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and American Culture Studies, all within BGSU’s School of Cultural and Critical Studies.

  • Latina/o/x Studies
  • Sexuality and Gender Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Equity in Higher Education
  • PPh.D. Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2002.
  • M.A. Sociology, with honors, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1997.
  • B.A. Sociology and Latino Studies (self-designed interdisciplinary major), cum laude, Amherst College, 1994.


  • ETHN/WS 4550 Latin/o Gender & Sexuality


  • ACS 7450 Publication and Professional Development
  • ACS 7750 Dissertation Workshop
  • ETHN 6500 Sexuality, Race, and Nation

I am engaging with two major research projects at the moment.  One is tentatively entitled “Desiring Gaze: Sexuality, Race, and U.S.-Cuba Relationsˆ”  This project analyzes how sexuality, race, and gender were formed in Cuba.  I analyze sexual culture, industry, and representation in Havana Cuba in the first half of the 20th Century.  In particular, I am interested in the transnational dynamics between the U.S. and Cuba.

My other research project builds off with my work with the BGSU ALLIES ( project and focuses broadly on equity in higher education.  In particular, I have contributed to work on bias, allyship, and privilege, and have co-developed trainings for faculty leaders such as chairs, directors, and deans about these issues. Through my work in the classroom, I also try to contribute to equity in higher education by enhancing and diversifying the professional development of our graduate students.

  • Hanasono, Lisa Kiyomi, Hyun Kyoung Ro, Deborah A. O’Neil, Ellen M. Broido, Margaret Mary Yacobucci, Susana Peña, Karen Root.  “Communicating Privilege and Faculty Allyship.”  Communication Quarterly, Published online July 21, 2022. []
  • Hanasono, Lisa Kiyomi, Broido, Ellen, Yacobucci, Margaret M., Root, Karen V., Peña, Susana, O’Neil, Deborah A. “Secret Service: Revealing Gender Biases in the Visibility and Value of Faculty Service.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 12: 1,1 (2019): 85-98.
  • Peña, Susana. Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami.  Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
  • Peña, Susana.  “Gender and Sexuality in Latina/o Miami:  Documenting Latina Transsexual Activists.”  Gender & History 22:3 (2010): 755-772, special issue on “Historicizing Sexuality and Gender” edited by Kevin Murphy and Jennifer Spear.  Republished in Historicising Gender and Sexuality (special issue book series).  Ed. Kevin Murphy and Jennifer Spear.  Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.  229-246.
  • Peña, Susana.  “‘Obvious’ Gays and the State Gaze:  Cuban Gay Visibility and U.S. Immigration Policy during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.”  Journal of the History of Sexuality 16: 3 (2007): 482-514. 

  • Leadership as a Chair/School Director Award, BGSU Faculty Senate, Spring 2021.
  • Women of Distinction Award, Office of the Dean of Students, BGSU, Spring 2015.
  • Senior Personnel, “BGSU ALLIES: Building Inclusive Leadership Practices and Policies to Transform the Institution,” ADVANCE-Adaptation grant, National Science Foundation, Lead Principal Investigator is Peg Yacobucci, 2018-present.

Updated: 05/09/2024 09:03AM