The Southwest Hispanic Research Institute (SHRI) at The University of New Mexico will be under new leadership when students arrive back on campus for classes.

Irene Vásquez, professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and American Studies, is the new director of SHRI and took up the position at the beginning of August. Vásquez specializes in the intersectional histories and politics of Mexican-descent populations in the Americas. Her research and teaching interests include U.S. and transnational social and political movements and ethnic studies.

“I look forward to working with the SHRI community to advance the research impact of the institute and address issues that matter the most to New Mexicans,” said Vásquez. “Together, our work at SHRI will help us realizenew solutions for reversing the trend of under-represented Latinas/os in key areas of our society including cultural production, politics, science and technology.”

Vásquez replaces former director, Bárbara Reyes, who announced her retirement earlier this year. 

“Since 2014, Professor Reyes has done a great deal to promote the efforts of the SHRI community. I commend her on her dedication and excellent leadership over the years,” said Gabriel López, vice president for research.

Vásquez received her bachelor’s, master’, and doctorate in history at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has co-authored a book titled “Making Aztlan: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977” on the Chicana and Chicano movement; written several essays in English and Spanish on the historic and contemporary relations between African Americans and Latin American descent peoples in the Americas; co-edited ‘The Borders In All of Us: New Approaches to Global Diasporic Societies’, published by New World African Press; and has published essays on Indigenous peoples in what is today northern Mexico. 

During her time at UNM, she has been instrumental in the establishment of the department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, a bachelor’s degree, an online bachelor’s degree and a graduate studies certificate in Chicana and Chicano Studies. 

“Professor Vásquez brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the directorship and I am confident in her ability to lead SHRI effectively into its next stage of research impact,” López concluded.