It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our beloved colleague, and friend, Professor Horacio N. Roque Ramírez. He will be remembered as an engaging scholar, a true mentor, and a lively, friendly member of the Department of Chicano/a Studies.
Professor Roque Ramirez’s scholarship focused on the Central American experience in the U.S.; he was a scholar of queer sexuality, and a proponent of oral history, a story- teller of the forgotten histories of the marginalized in society, a scholar of the invisible. He was granted tenure and became Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies in 2010; in recent years, he served as a Los Angeles-based Independent Scholar in the fields of LGBT and Latina/o Studies, with a focus on Central American cultures and immigrations. Professor Roque Ramírez was regarded as an expert on the topic of political asylum with an underlying and consistent focus on gender identity, sexuality, and HIV status as well as domestic and gang-related forms of persecution and violence. His hope was to contribute to understandings of Central Americans in ways reflective of their ongoing, continuing presence across many decades in the U.S. and to sustain the significance of Latino sexuality and hope in an era of AIDS and deportation.
Professor Roque Ramírez authored numerous award winning articles, edited an anthology with Professor Nan Alamilla Boyd, Bodies of Evidence: The Practice of Queer Oral History (Oxford: Oxford University Press), and has a forthcoming single-authored book, Queer Latino San Francisco: An Oral History, 1960s-1990s. His book is the culmination of a decade's worth of oral history and archival research, an ethnographic historical study of the formation and partial destruction of queer Latina and Latino community life in San Francisco for about four decades. Informed by LGBT historical scholarship and queer studies, oral history theory and methodology, and Latina and Latino scholarship on gender, sexuality, and community life. It is a major historical study of the undocumented in LGBT studies and Latina/o archive.
Professor Roque Ramírez enjoyed a decade’s long presence in higher education, including UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, UC Los Angeles, and UC Santa Barbara. He obtained his B.A. and M.A. from UCLA and his Ph.D. was awarded in Comparative Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley.
Although he is gone, his presence remains, as his many students and colleagues have described in recent days as they remember his influence on them. Through his published work and mentoring, we in the Department also recognize his contributions and presence.
On behalf of the Department of Chicana/o Studies, I offer these remarks with the hope that they provide comfort to all mourning his loss, to his students and dearest friends about whom he cared deeply, and in recognition of his impact on us all.
Gilberto Q. Conchas,