Kiley Guyton Acosta


Kiley Guyton Acosta

HBCU Instructor

AfroLatinidades Institute

Kiley Guyton Acosta is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California Santa Barbara and is an ethnographer of Afro-Latinx expressive culture. Her research focuses on intersections of feminism, social justice artivism (art activism), and African diaspora identities in Cuba, Brazil, and the Caribbean diaspora communities of the United States. She holds an M.A. in Hispanic Literature and a PhD with Distinction in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of New Mexico.

As a Black lecturer at a Minority Serving Institution, Kiley’s principal objective is to do the ongoing work required to champion the learning needs of undergraduate students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds who enter the public university system with markedly different levels of academic preparation, digital literacy and family circumstances. Her philosophy of education derives from a steadfast commitment to undergraduate academic success and student advocacy. She believes that all students deserve respect, recognition, and the opportunity to shine as scholars, professionals, and leaders in a multicultural global society. 

At UC Santa Barbara, Kiley teaches U.S. Latinx Literature, as well as an advanced Spanish language course series designed for first-generation Latinx bilingual college students, and students for whom Spanish is a heritage language. Previously, she taught in the Departments of Black Studies and Feminist Studies at UCSB, where she developed original seminars inspired by her doctoral research, including AfroCuba, Afro-Latinxs in the United States: Identity on the Color Line, and Voices of the Diaspora: Theorizing Hemispheric Black Feminism. As a Ford Diversity Fellow and lifetime educator, Kiley takes pride in building inclusive learning communities (physical, virtual and hybrid) and diversifying curricula to promote new systems of thinking and collaboration among her students. In 2021, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Santa Barbara recognized her pedagogical accomplishments with an Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Over the past decade, Kiley has served as a cultural consultant and interpreter for renowned artists, musicians, filmmakers, activists, and government officials throughout Latin America and the U.S. Notably, she has garnered acclaim for her work on journalist Pedro Pérez Sarduy’s antiracism initiative Afro-Cuban Voices, and for her leadership in community-based cultural exchange programs to Cuba and Nicaragua. She has worked with the Smithsonian Institution as Bilingual Folklife Festival Presenter for Colombia: The Nature of Culture and serves as International Representative of Ojundegara, Cuba's award-winning Arará folkloric cultural ensemble (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site). Kiley has held Ford Predoctoral and Smithsonian Institution Latino Studies Fellowships, two Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships in Brazilian Portuguese, a UC Santa Barbara Black Studies Dissertation Fellowship and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Dance Studies. Her teaching and postdoctoral research have been supported with grants from The RISE Institute at UC Santa Barbara and the UC Center for Black Studies Research. 

As Grant Writer for the Global Latinidades Project, Kiley works with Ben V. Olguín and the team to secure small and large-scale project funding and grants, including the recent University of California-Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant; a University of California System multi-campus initiative to build relationships with undergraduates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and increase the number of Black applicants to UC graduate programs. In summer 2022, she will teach a course on Afro-Latinx literature and art as Lecturer for GLP’s AfroLatinidades Institute.

GLP AfroLatinidades