Castro, Shakti

Field: United States; Advisor: Samuel K. Roberts; Year: 2019

Shakti Castro is a Bronx-born Boricua, historian, and mother. She holds a BA in English Literature and Media Studies from Hunter College and a Master's in History with a certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As an oral historian at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, Shakti conducted over 30 oral history interviews to document the history of New York's Puerto Rican community. She is an alumna of the Smithsonian's Latino Museum Studies Program, where she spent 6 weeks as a fellow in the Medical & Science division at the National Museum of American History. There, she created a collections plan to document the history of the long opioid epidemic, harm reduction, and drug policy reform in New York's Puerto Rican and Latinx communities. This collections plan forms the basis of her anticipated dissertation project at Columbia. Shakti's work examines public health and racialized surveillance, the history of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, and the postwar urban “crisis” period in New York City. 
Shakti has presented at conferences for the National Council on Public History, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, and the Oral History Association. She has given talks at the CUNY Graduate Center, Binghamton University, and the Drug Policy Alliance. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website,