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Associate Director of SLED; LifeWorks Program Head

Gigi Otalvaro, Ph.D.



Gigi Otálvaro is an educator, artist-scholar, writer, and psychogeographer. As Associate Director of SLED, she leads the LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning. Her research and pedagogical interests include the intersection of creative practice and contemplative practice, women of color feminisms, queer of color critique, erotic art and performance, art and activism, as well as embodied and creative healing modalities such as qigong and laughter yoga. She holds a Ph.D. in Theater & Performance Studies with a minor in Art History from Stanford University, an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts, and a B.A. in Hybridity and Performance from Brown University. Her current book project, Erotic Resistance: the Struggle for the Soul of San Francisco, is based on her doctoral dissertation Erotic Resistance: Performance, Art, and Activism in San Francisco Strip Clubs (1960s-2010s) and will be published by University of California Press in spring of 2024. Other publications have appeared in Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, Open Space, Art Practical, Performance Research, and the Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art History (forthcoming). 

For a partial list of other publications and awards, access Gigi's Stanford CAP profile.


Ph.D., Theater and Performance Studies (minor: Art History), Stanford University; M.A., Visual and Critical Studies, California Colleges of the Arts; B.A., Hybridity and Performance, Brown University

Research and Professional Interests

Women of color feminisms, queer of color critique, performance ethnography, erotic art and performance, psychogeography, art and activism, creativity and contemplation, healing performing arts modalities, embodiment, and affect studies  

Personal Interests

Latin percussion and dance, qigong, laughter yoga, cats, nature, travel, exquisite food and wine  

Courses Taught: LIFE 101

Tools for a Meaningful Life, LIFE 150G: Performing Race, Gender, and Sexuality, LIFE 180: Art, Meditation, and Creation, LIFE 120/PSYC 120/TAPS 102L: Yoga Psychology for Resilience and Creativity, LIFE 104: Tools for Meaningful Communities, WELLNESS 170/TAPS 170W: Laughter and Play for Wellbeing, WELLNESS 171: Laugh to Relax