Lorena Muñoz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. Lorena is an urban/cultural geographer whose research focuses on the intersections of place, space, gender, sexuality, health and race. Her research includes exploring the experiences of urban migrant and immigrant labourers in the Global South.
About: Dr. Munoz’s transdisciplinary research agenda has been focused on Latinas/os in the global south, particularly in the areas the (in)formal economy, labor, health and productive/transformative agency. In particular, her research through different projects, calls for rethinking the ‘informal’ economy in ways that disrupt normative narratives that centre ‘the economy’ as a unitary category. Building on diverse economies onto-epistemology, her work re-thinks ‘the economy’ as diverse, heterogeneous entangled economic processes, rather than categories that exclude, include and define binary systems. In order to theoretically understand how these spaces and places are produced, Dr. Munoz, looks towards what she calls Queering (in)formal economies, that is rethinking the (in)formal economy by understanding heterogeneous economic processes as queer, entangled and relational.
Dr. Munoz’s second project is an interdisciplinary, collaborative, comparative study of informal systems of access to food, labor and health in three different urban populations of migrant and immigrant labourers in the Global South: Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. This project examines how street vending in the shadows of large-scale neoliberal development projects in (im)migrant receiving centres becomes both a sustainable mechanism of livelihood and a gendered delivery system of food, goods, and healing remedies for migrant labourers in Bogotá and Cancún and Latino immigrants in Los Angeles. The project focuses on the intersection of food, health and labor in relation to street vending as well as food-way systems.