Image by Mabette Colón Pérez
Dr. Catalina M. de Onís researches and teaches topics involving environmental communication, Latina/o/x communication, Puerto Rican studies, de/coloniality, feminist rhetoric, applied communication, and ethnographic methods. In 2020, Dr. Onís, Dr. Hilda Lloréns, and attorney Ruth Santiago co-authored “¡Ustedes tienen que limpiar las cenizas e irse de Puerto Rico para siempre!:” la lucha por la justicia ambiental, climática y energética como trasfondo del verano de Revolución Boricua 2019. This Spanish-language book addresses long-time environmental, energy, and power struggles in Puerto Rico and their connections to the mass mobilizations on Puerto Rico’s largest island in summer 2019. Dr. Onís also is the author of Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico, published by University of California Press (June 2021).
Dr. Onís has published her research in Women’s Studies in Communication, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, Women & Language, Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order, and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report, as well as in several edited collections, including Racial Ecologies (University of Washington Press) and the Routledge Companion to Motherhood. Her essay “Fueling and Delinking from Energy Coloniality in Puerto Rico” was published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research and received the 2019 Bill Eadie top scholarly article award for the National Communication Association’s Applied Communication Division. Dr. Onís also received the 2015 Feminist Scholar of the Year award for her article on reproductive justice, borders, and translation in Women’s Studies in Communication. In addition to addressing academic audiences, she works to reach wider publics by writing popular press pieces, published by Latino Rebels, Truthout, and The Conversation, among other venues.
Dr. Onís is a contributing member of the Iniciativa de Ecodesarrollo de Bahía de Jobos, a grassroots group in Salinas, Puerto Rico, and has focused on supporting community capacity building and distributed rooftop solar infrastructure and power sharing to cultivate energy and climate justice. As part of her coalitional contributions, she is co-producing a documentary about grassroots communication in the form of apoyo mutuo (mutual support). The film, “El poder del pueblo: testimonios de una lucha colectiva por la vida y el medioambiente” (“Power of the People: Testimonies of a Collective Struggle for Life and the Environment”) is scheduled for release in 2021. In 2020, Drs. Onís and Lloréns and Santiago co-authored a successfully funded grant proposal for $125,000 to remediate coal-ash water pollution and to advance community-rooftop solar in the Salinas-Guayama region of southeastern Puerto Rico.
PhD, Indiana University, 2017
MA, University of Montana, 2011
BS, Northwestern University, 2009