Anthropology of religion; Black Atlantic religions; Black radicalism; Caribbean theory and philosophy; Caribbean and Latin American anthropology; critical ethnography; decoloniality; feminist anthropology; gender and sexuality studies; human-animal relations; performance studies; race and racialisation; and ritual theory.
Alejandro's research is concerned with how identities are formed, perceived, and undone. In his current research project, he focused on how genderbending performances and minstrel-esque costuming negotiate histories of anti-blackness in Puerto Rico. More narrowly, he focused on one festival character, “la loca,” who appears during Las Fiestas Tradicionales en Honor a Santiago Apóstol, which takes place each July in the Afro-Puerto Rican city of Loíza. Locas are bawdy and ribald personages who simultaneously entice and vex festival goers. Typically played by men in Loíza, locas mix and remix forms of identity through cross-dressing and parodic makeup. Using la loca as a method and theory of analysis, Alejandro traced the ways that performances are tied to identities and how performances can be used to negotiate and upend identities. Aspects of this research have been published in Transgender Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Africana Religions, and a forthcoming chapter, "Playful Masculinity." He is currently working on his first monograph, tentatively titled "Madness: Gender, Race, and Religion in Loíza, Puerto Rico."
Recently, he started research on two new projects. The first extends his work in Loíza and focuses on ancestral devotion and performances of gendered piety in dance. This project considers how female dancers bow before musical drummers to acknowledge the dead before beginning their routine. In a second project, Alejandro is interested in tracing the relationship between religion and revolutionary politics in the Caribbean. Starting with the Haitian Revolution, Alejandro seeks to explore how religion has played an integral role in radical political movements.
Alejandro completed his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), where he served as Teaching Fellow from 2019–2021. During that time, he was also an Adjunct Instructor at Elon University (USA). Prior to moving to Edinburgh, he was Lecturer in Social Anthropology at King's College London.