Rosa M. Cabrera, PhD
Bio: Rosa M. Cabrera became the director of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC in the spring of 2011. She earned her Doctorate in Anthropology and Bachelors of Arts in Design from UIC. Cabrera has talked extensively on the role of ethnic museums and cultural centers in shaping community identity–which was the topic of her dissertation. Prior joining UIC, she was at The Field Museum where she led the "Cultural Connections" program, a partnership of more than 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago that formed the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2006 under her leadership. She also led a research team in a project with the Pilsen neighborhood’s Mexican and Mexican American community and the West Ridge’s South Asian community to better understand how cultural values and traditions impact residents’ understanding and practice of eco-friendly activities. She has collaborated with the museum and arts communities in national projects such as the Immigration Sites of Conscience Network, Americans for the Arts’ New Community Visions, the National Diversity Education Program, and Race: Are We So Different?, to increase public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues, while exploring the interplay between diversity and democracy.
Cabrera is affiliated faculty with the UIC Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) Program, and the Department of Art History’s Museum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE) Program. She is also a Keller Science Action Center Associate at The Field Museum. Her research interests include: the role of museums in civic participation and community identity formation; Latino identity and citizenship; the intersections of environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice; and the role of the arts to increase public dialogue on pressing social and environmental issues.
Cabrera is a 1.5 generation immigrant from Cuba who arrived with her mother in Chicago during a grey, snowy day in the 1970’s. She calls Chicago home and loves its parks and magnificent museums, the ‘L’ (elevated train), and diverse people committed to social change.