About Corinna J. Moebius, PhD

Corinna J. Moebius
Corinna J. Moebius

Dr. Corinna Moebius is a Little Havana-based writer, educator (indoor, outdoor and online), catalyst and consultant. She helps people shift paradigms within themselves, within institutions, and within communities, inspiring action and opening hearts and minds.  

An interdisciplinary, out-of-the-box thinker, Dr. Moebius is trained in urban anthropology, Critical Race Theory, public history and other disciplines; she works in both academic and professional worlds and across sectors (e.g., urban placemaking, arts and civic engagement, cultural heritage tourism). As a scholar who investigates global white supremacy, she recognizes how historical, sociocultural and transnational forces impact present day policy and practice. 

Dr. Moebius teaches at Florida International University (FIU). She is working on a book based on her Ph.D. dissertation, which explores the role of global white supremacy on the development of Little Havana’s Calle Ocho arts district. She is creating a digital project highlighting Little Havana’s little-known black history. Before COVID-19, she led walking tours that promoted critical thinking about the role of the built environment on racial narratives and practices.

In the past decade, she has become widely recognized for her civic leadership in Little Havana. She co-authored A History of Little Havana, a “people’s history” of the neighborhood, and has organized numerous efforts aimed at building civic engagement and ensuring equitable development in the gentrifying neighborhood. PBS featured her in its Women Who Lead series, as did the National Trust for Historic Preservation in its Little Havana Me Importa exhibit. Calle Ocho magazine made her an inaugural recipient of its Community Champion Awards.

For decades, Dr. Moebius has worked to make cities and communities more equitable, inclusive and ecologically resilient. As the director of Imagine Miami, the South Florida civic engagement initiative of Catalyst Miami, she facilitated large-scale community dialogues and developed a series of “Changemaker Conferences” where grassroots leaders connected for knowledge-sharing, capacity building and leadership development. She designed South Florida’s first summit on arts, culture and civic engagement and leads annual workshops on arts and civic engagement for ArtServe’s Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute in Broward County, Florida.

Little Havana Me Importa
Little Havana Me Importa
exhibit

In Washington, DC, she developed plans for inclusive community engagement in urban planning; She proposed the city’s first convening aimed at increasing the participation of Latino residents in land use decision-making. Her equity work is featured in the textbook, Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design. Her Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods has been implemented in after-school programs nationwide.

Corinna holds a Ph.D. in Global & Sociocultural Studies from FIU with Graduate Certificates in Afro-Latin American Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies. She holds a certificate in Arts Management from the University of Massachusetts’ Summer Institute for Arts Management and is also certified in Permaculture. She is a former fellow with the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection and the Smithsonian’s Latino Museum Studies Program.

She stays true to her North Star: To cultivate a more equitable, loving, and Earth-honoring world.

For speaking and consulting inquiries, drop me a line
or call (305) 814-8884.
For details on my background and experience, please see below.

Welcome.

I’m glad you found my home on the Internet.

I like to help people see and understand the world — and themselves — in new ways. My greatest satisfaction comes from inspiring “Aha!” moments:

  • I get you outside and attentive to the natural world around you, including people and places;
  • I bring your awareness to your own body, so you’re learning through all of your senses; and
  • I promote critical thinking by bringing together scientific data, archival documents, maps and multimedia into projects that show you how histories — and places far away — inform the world you experience now.

I do this work because I want to decolonize minds, open hearts, and inspire awareness of our interconnectedness. Now, more than ever, we need to confront problematic pasts, shift paradigms and heal our divided world.

One of my greatest passions is teaching beyond the traditional classroom. I lead educational eco-cultural walking experiences and workshops and create engaging multimedia projects that educate, inspire and inform.

Throughout my career, I’ve played a “changemaker” role, proposing new ideas and regenerative systems, forging creative partnerships, and opening up spaces–online and in person–where people can come together across borders for dialogue, fellowship, deliberation, and creative, meaningful connection.

Below, you can find details on my background, education, and experience.


Building Creative Civic Engagement for Inclusive and Equitable Communities

  • Director of a regional (South Florida) civic engagement initiative (Imagine Miami). Developed tools, online platforms and convenings aimed at building the capacity of residents to affect change and shape policy through cross-sector, multiracial collective action. Created diverse, multi-stakeholder advisory councils and launched local and national partnerships. Supervised staff and volunteers. Proposed, designed and oversaw the organization’s internship program for young adults. Read more.
  • Launched and designed South Florida’s first Summit on Arts, Culture and Civic Engagement. Partnered with the National Endowment of the Art’s Animating Democracy initiative. Read more.
  • Designed and directed a series of Imagine Miami Changemaker Conferences aimed at building the capacity and social capital of grassroots community leaders in South Florida. National partners included PolicyLink and Project for Public Spaces. Participants learned how to use policy tools and built skills in placemaking, advocacy, civic dialogue and equitable development. Facilitated World Café community dialogues at each event. Read more.
  • Trainer and consultant for arts and civic engagement projects, including an arts project organized by members of South Florida’s Syrian community.
Commentary about the Imagine Miami Conferences by volunteer Oona Romero

Improving Processes for Inclusive Placemaking

DC Comprehensive Plan
  • Played a key role in developing an inclusive community involvement strategy for revision of Washington, DC’s Comprehensive Plan. Managed community outreach and partnerships citywide. My work in participation is highlighted in a textbook on careers in urban planning. “On behalf of everybody on the project team and all the residents who will never know how they came to be informed, educated and engaged as well as they did: Corinna, thank you for everything,” wrote team member and renowned facilitator Don Edwards, CEO of Justice & Sustainability Associates. Read more.
  • Proposed the first-ever collaboration between Washington, DC Office of Planning and the Office on Latino Affairs. Local Latinx leaders and outreach workers met, discussed and formulated strategies for building meaningful Latinx engagement in local planning efforts.
  • Facilitated public meetings and community conversations aimed at building greater equity and inclusion in community decision-making and placemaking.
  • Planned and wrote the curriculum for a 6-month youth civic engagement program piloted for 3 years in after-school programs nationwide: “Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods.” Participating youth identified local assets, analyzed media representations, conducted interviews, and crafted proposals. Outcomes included youth meetings with mayors, youth-led community planning meetings, and the formation of youth councils. Read more.
Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods

Teaching Civic Engagement and Promoting Inclusion

  • I use my walking tours of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood as teaching opportunities. My unique tours confront racist stereotypes and myths, reveal silenced histories and invisibilized practices, uncover (trans)national relationships, deepen cultural understanding, and spark critical thinking.
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow and Advisor for “Civic Engagement & Neighborhood Revitalization: Issues and Options for Miami’s Little Havana,” a graduate level course at Florida Atlantic University. Connected students to local residents and stakeholders to discover local needs, led educational tours, assisted with research projects (findings shared with the community).
  • For the 2019 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Washington, DC, designed and co-led (with Afro-Latinx community leader Roland Roebuck) a field trip focused on remembering the heritage and history of people of color in Adams Morgan and Malcolm X Park.
  • Presenter/Speaker on Racial Equity. Recent presentations include the 2020 South Florida Community Reinvestment Summit, the 2019 National Summit for Cultural & Heritage Tourism and the 2018 Afro-Latino Summit.
Corinna Moebius on panel
Panel at 2019 National Summit for Cultural & Heritage Tourism and the 2018 Afro-Latino Summit

Writing About Race, Community and Resilience

  • Co-authored the book, A History of Little Havana (The History Press, 2015), a “people’s history” of Little Havana that recognizes the contributions of Afrodescendants, Central Americans, LGBQT residents, and others often excluded or marginalized from dominant histories of the neighborhood.
  • My forthcoming book, based on my dissertation, uncovers networks of power and racializing practices involved in the development (and narration) of Little Havana. It relocates local practices within webs of transnational and transcultural connections while also uncovering black placemaking efforts.
A History of Little Havana

Bridging Digital Divides and Increasing Access

  • Co-produced the nation’s first symposium on online content creation by/for and about people of African descent, “Internet Opportunities for African Americans” (Howard University, 1997). Read more.
  • Director of Communications for one of the first online communities aimed at women professionals and business owners, womenCONNECT.com. Read more.
  • Directed and managed all online projects and content for an Emmy Award-winning international youth journalism organization, Children’s Express Worldwide. Proposed, organized and trained youth-only “Internet Advisory Teams” at DC and NYC bureaus in order to include youth (from diverse backgrounds) in the development of online strategies and policies. Read more.

Activating Arts & Culture

  • Directed Washington, DC’s most popular street festival, Adams Morgan Day (20,000+ attendees). Launched new features including the Dance Plaza, which remains a popular feature to this day.
Calle Ocho Yemaya

Promoting Equitable Economic Development

  • Directed organizations and committees aimed at helping mom & pop businesses, including immigrant businesses, survive gentrification. Co-Chaired the Economic Diversification Committee of Adams Morgan Main Street and co-founded the Little Havana Merchant Alliance. Read more.
  • As a Little Havana activist and civic leader, helped lead a successful effort to challenge zoning changes impacting low-income residents. Co-founded and led the Little Havana Merchant Alliance and launched a community breakfast series. Coached emerging civic leaders. Read more.
  • Interviewed for NPR’s All Things Considered and profiled in PBS’s “Women and Girls Lead” series. Widely covered in news media based on my leadership in Little Havana. Read more.
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LHMA’s community breakfast series.
A 2019 Winner of the “Little Havana Community Champion” Award

Fellowships and Awards

cohort LMSP
Latino Museum Studies Program cohort

Advisor/Volunteer

Work History

  • Adjunct Lecturer, Global & Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University, 2019-Present
  • Owner/Principal, Little Havana Experiences (formerly Little Havana Tours), Miami, 2011-Present
  • Self-Employed Consultant, Los Angeles, DC and Miami (formerly People Place Connect, Bordercross Communications), 1997–Present
  • Senior Tour Leader, Classic Journeys, 2014-?? (COVID-19)
  • Little Havana Guide, Road Scholar, 2013-?? (COVID-19)
  • Onboard Lecturer, Pearl Seas Cruises, 2018-?? (COVID-19)
  • Director of Imagine Miami, Catalyst Miami, Miami, 2007-2009
  • Director, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, Miami, 2006–2007, 2010
  • Director of Interactive Media, Children’s Express Worldwide, DC, 1999-2000

Find Me Online

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Media

I’ve been interviewed, quoted or appeared in The New York Times, PBS, NBC, NPR, 60 Minutes Australia, CityLab, National Geographic Traveler, The Atlantic, and The Telegraph (U.K.) among other outlets. For more details, see my mentions in the media

Interdisciplinary Education

My academic background has always been interdisciplinary.

  • Ph.D. and M.A. in Global and Sociocultural Studies. Concentration in urban anthropology, critical geography and critical race studies (Florida International University, 2019)
    • Graduate Certificates in Africana and African Diaspora Studies and Afro-Latin American Studies.
    • Research areas: White supremacy in U.S. and Latin America (especially Cuba), racial politics of placemaking, memorialization and heritage tourism in the U.S. and Cuba; black and Afro-Latinx placemaking; embodied experiences of place; eco-spiritual and religious dimensions of racial politics; histories of interracial placemaking.
    • Dissertation Title: (Un)Making Racial Order and Cuban White Supremacy in Little Havana’s Heritage District

Fellowships have also contributed to my scholarly development. As a Graduate Fellow with the Smithsonian’s Latino Museum Studies Program, I completed my Practicum at the Anacostia Community Museum under the guidance of anthropologist Ariana Curtis. For my practicum, I worked with archival materials from Black Mosaic: Community, Race, and Ethnicity among Black Immigrants in Washington, DC.

I also received a prestigious Goizueta Graduate Research Fellowship with the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami, which allowed me to spend a month gathering archival data for my dissertation. My dissertation focuses on the racial politics behind the historical development of Little Havana’s heritage district.

I give credit to the outstanding teachers who have taught me over the years: Anthropologists and Africana studies scholars Jean Muteba Rahier and Andrea Queeley; communications and Asian Studies scholar Gordon Nakagawa; historians Greg Bush and Jessica Adler; performance studies scholar Christie Logan; geographers Richard Wilkie, Benjamin Smith, Ulrich Oslender and Gail Hollander. In various ways, all expanded my understanding of race and racialization in the U.S. and Latin America.

Personal

I live in Miami’s Little Havana/Shenandoah neighborhood, where I have fabulous neighbors who like to drop by and share food with me. I am a passionate enthusiast of Afro-Cuban rumba. When I can, I go for long walks and practice attentiveness. I like to weave with a backstrap loom, like my grandmother taught me.

Barbara Schaffer Bacon taught me the power of arts for civic engagement; Mencer “Don” Edwards, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs trained me in community dialogue and facilitation. From Koreen Brennan I received excellent training (and certification) in Permaculture design. And for many years now, Marisol Blanco and Ezequiel Torres have helped build my embodied wisdom through teachings of Afro-Atlantic philosophy, music and dance.

For decades I have studied and received training related to Afro-Atlantic and European-derived eco-spiritual traditions, including the study of sacred and medicinal plants, geomancy and the creation of sacred space, and sacred arts. I am initiated as a priest of Santería but am no longer active in the religion, and I am currently a Druid Candidate with the Ancient Order of Druids in America. I received some of my training in mystery teachings from the Center for Visionary Leadership in Washington, DC, where I earned a Certificate in Visionary Leadership.

“Callings” Close to my Heart

“I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963)
  • RACIAL EQUITY: My areas of focus are and have been: access to community decision-making, urban planning/community development, tourism; access to/usages of public space; addressing state-sanctioned anti-black and anti-brown violence;
  • PUBLIC SPACE: Celebrating and protecting (from privatization, commodification and racial exclusion) the public spaces where we encounter strangers and become inspired (e.g., streets, parks, plazas, sidewalks, public markets).
  • ECOLOGICAL REGENERATION: Regenerative ways of living on earth. Reconnection to land and place and natural world; putting our hands in the soil, learning about native plants, growing our own soil, local food systems;
  • PARTICIPATORY AND COMMUNITY ARTS … versus the hyper-commodified spectacle, as well as arts for social change;
  • SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Creative changemaking, community resilience, social entrepreneurship, contributions to community, resident/citizen-driven projects;
  • STORYTELLING AND DIALOGUE: Learning from griots; dialogue vs. debate, community conversations;
  • ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION: Learning beyond the traditional classroom or “training”, alternative. education, promoting critical and interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary thinking;
  • RE-ENCHANTING THE WORLD: Restoring a sense of wonder and awe for the Living Earth. Acknowledging the sacred as a part of our daily lives;
  • RESTORING WHOLENESS IN OUR BODIES: De-colonizing our bodies and minds.
  • PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY.

A human being is a part of the whole called by us “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein