Catalina de Onis
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

Mailing Address:
Department of Communication
Campus Box 176
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location:
1201 Larimer Street
3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80204


Fall 2020 Office Hours:

Mondays 10:00-12:00 pm and Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 pm, by appointment on Zoom, and phone call available too.

PhD, Indiana University, 2017
MA, University of Montana, 2011
BS, Northwestern University, 2009

Dr. Catalina M. de Onís researches and teaches environmental and energy rhetorics, Latina/o/x communication, Puerto Rican studies, de/coloniality, instructional and applied communication, reproductive justice, and rhetorical field methods. One of her essays on Puerto Rico and the Hurricane María aftermath was published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research and received the 2019 Bill Eadie top scholarly article award for the National Communication Association's Applied Communication Division. She also received the 2015 Feminist Scholar of the Year award for her article on reproductive justice, borders, and translation in Women’s Studies in Communication.

Dr. Onís has published her research in additional journals, including Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, Women & Language, Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order, and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report, as well as in several edited collections, including Racial Ecologies (University of Washington Press) and the Routledge Companion to Motherhood. Her research on energy colonialism and alternatives to extractivism composes the final chapter in the open-access online book: Energy Democracy: A Research Agenda. Dr. Onís also is a contributing member of the Iniciativa de Eco Desarrollo de Bahía de Jobos, a grassroots group in Salinas, Puerto Rico, and has focused on supporting community solar power capacity building and infrastructure for energy and climate justice. As part of her coalitional contributions, she is co-producing a documentary about grassroots solar energy communication. The film, “Coquí Solar: El poder del pueblo,” is scheduled for release in early 2021. Most recently, Dr. Onís co-authored a book in Spanish titled: "¡Ustedes tienen que limpiar las cenizas e irse de Puerto Rico para siempre!:” la lucha por la justicia ambiental, climática y energética como trasfondo del verano de Revolución Boricua 2019 (Editora Educación Emergente). This text addresses long-time environmental, climate, and energy struggles in Puerto Rico and their connections to the mass mobilizations on the Big Island in summer 2019. Dr. Onís also has a University of California Press contract for her book titled: Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico. 

In 2020, she led a co-authored grant proposal that was awarded $125,000 by JustFund to remediate coal-ash water pollution and to advance community-rooftop solar.  

de Onís, Catalina M., Emilia Cubelos, and Maria Del Rocio Ortiz Chavarria. “Testing the Water: Critiquing Monolingualism and Militarization in Oregon’s Local Emergency Management.” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict & World Order (In press).

de Onís, Catalina M., Hilda Lloréns y Ruth “Tata” Santiago. “¡Ustedes tienen que limpiar las cenizas e irse de Puerto Rico para siempre!:" la lucha por la justicia ambiental, climática y energética como trasfondo del verano de Revolución Boricua 2019.” El Verano Revolucionario Boricua 2019. Editora Educación Emergente, 2020.

de Onís, Catalina M., Hilda Lloréns, & Ruth Santiago. “Puerto Rico’s Seismic Shocks Generate OverwhelmingEvidence of Urgent Need for Community-Directed Renewable EnergyTransformations.” North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), Jan. 15, 2020.

de Onís, Catalina M. “Reproductive Justice as Environmental Justice: Contexts, Coalitions, and Cautions.” The Routledge Companion to Motherhood, edited by Lynn O’Brien Hallstein, Andrea O’Reilly, and Melinda Vandenbeld Guiles, forthcoming.

de Onís, Catalina M. “Fueling and Delinking from Energy Coloniality in Puerto Rico,” Journal of Applied Communication Research, vol. 46, no. 5, 2018, pp. 535-60. de Onís, Catalina M. “‘Es una lucha doble’: Articulating Environmental Nationalism in Puerto Rico.” Racial Ecologies, edited by Kim Hester-Williams and Leilani Nishime, University of Washington Press, 2018, pp. 185-204.

de Onís, Catalina M. “Energy Colonialism Powers the Ongoing Unnatural Disaster in Puerto Rico,” Frontiers in Communication, Special Issue: Energy Democracy, vol. 3, 2018, pp. 1-5. Lloréns, Hilda, Ruth Santiago, Carlos G. Garcia-Quijano, and Catalina M. de Onís. “Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster,” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, & World Order, 2018.

Pezzullo, Phaedra C., and Catalina M. de Onís. “Rethinking Rhetorical Field Methods on a Precarious Planet,” Communication Monographs, vol. 85, no.1, 2018, pp. 103-22.

de Onís, Catalina M. “Puerto Rican Energy Researchers Excluded from Islands Energy Transition Deliberations,” Latino Rebels, Oct. 16, 2017.

Santiago, Ruth, Hilda Lloréns, Carlos G. Garcia-Quijano, and Catalina M. de Onís. “Dispatch from the Frontlines of Puerto Rico in a Post-Maria World,” Latino Rebels, Oct. 9, 2017. de Onís, Catalina M., “For Many in Puerto Rico, ‘Energy Dominance’ is Just a New Name for US Colonialism,” The Conversation, Aug. 21, 2017.

de Onís, Catalina M., and Phaedra C. Pezzullo. “The Ethics of Embodied Engagement: Ethnographies of Environmental Justice.” The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice, editors Ryan Holifield, Jayajit Chakraborty, and Gordon Walker, Routledge, 2017, pp. 231-40.

de Onís, Catalina M. “What’s in an ‘x’?: An Exchange about the Politics of ‘Latinx.’” Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, vol. 1, no. 2, 2017, pp. 78-91.

de Onís, Catalina M. “Critiquing Utopia, Ubiquity, and Pressure in Fossil Fuel(ed) Rhetoric,” Communication Theory, vol. 27, no. 4, 2017, pp. 409-10.

de Onís, Kathleen M. “‘Pa’ que tú lo sepas’: Experiences with Co-presence in Puerto Rico.” Text + Field: Innovations in Rhetorical Method, editors Sara McKinnon, Robert Asen, Karma Chávez, and Robert Howard, Penn State Press, 2016, pp. 101-16.

de Onís, Kathleen M. “Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century by Stephanie LeMenager,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, vol. 20, no. 2, 2017, pp. 380-83.

de Onís, Kathleen M. “Lost in Translation: Challenging (White Monolingual Feminism’s) with Justicia Reproductiva,” Women’s Studies in Communication, vol. 38, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-19.

COMM 2082: Intro to Environmental Communication
COMM 5282: Environmental Communication

Expertise Areas: Rhetoric; Environmental and Energy Rhetorics; Latina/o/x Communication Studies; Rhetorical Field Methods