Fernando Tormos

Fernando Tormos-Aponte

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh
Kendall Fellow, Union of Concerned Scientists

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About Fernando

Tormos-Aponte's research focuses on how social movements cope with internal divisions and gain political influence. He specializes in social movements, identity politics, social policy, and disasters. Tormos-Aponte is a Kendall Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. He earned his MA and PhD in Political Science from Purdue University, West Lafayette, and a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico—Río Piedras.


How Inequality and Politics Influence Government Responses to Natural Disasters

  • Gustavo García-López
  • Mary Angelica Painter

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Opinion: "Neoliberal Disaster Management Is Forcing Puerto Ricans to Create Their Own Recovery," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Jacobin, October 1, 2022.
Opinion: "Puerto Rico’s Electricity Problems Go Beyond Maria and Fiona for Progressives From a Devastating Supreme Court Loss," Fernando Tormos-Aponte (with Mary Angelica Painter and Sameer H. Shah ), The Washington Post, September 28, 2022.
Opinion: "Puerto Rico’s Vulnerability to Hurricanes Is Magnified by Weak Government and Bureaucratic Roadblocks," Fernando Tormos-Aponte (with Carlos A. Suárez Carrasquillo), The Conversation, September 21, 2022.
Opinion: "Puerto Ricans Haven’t Stopped Organizing After Last Year’s Uprising," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Jacobin, August 19, 2020.
Opinion: "Many Puerto Ricans Are Outraged about How Its Resigning Governor Installed His Successor. Here’s Why.," Fernando Tormos-Aponte (with Glenda Labadie-Jackson), Washington Post, August 7, 2019.
Opinion: "Ricky is Gone," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Jacobin, August 2, 2019.
Opinion: "How an Investigative Journalism Center Helped Oust Puerto Rican Gov. Rosselló," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, In These Times, August 1, 2019.
Guest on WPKN Between the Lines, July 31, 2019.
Interviewed in "Puerto Rico Rises," The Majority Report, July 25, 2019.
Quoted by Ana Campoy in "What's Next for Puerto Rico?," Quartz, July 25, 2019.
Opinion: "Unrest in Puerto Rico is Not Just about the Governor. Here Are Four Things to Know.," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Washington Post, July 23, 2019.
Interviewed in "Privatizing Puerto Rico's Schools," July 19, 2019.
Quoted by Isabela Dias in "What Are the Protests in Puerto Rico Really About?," Pacific Standard, July 18, 2019.
Opinion: "Puerto Rico Rises," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Jacobin, July 17, 2019.
Research discussed by Katarina Zimmer, in "Science in Puerto Rico Still Recovering After Hurricane Maria," The Scientist, February 15, 2019.
Opinion: "Razones para Celebrar después de las Elecciones Intermedias en Estados Unidos," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, The New York Times, November 23, 2018.
Guest on WORT FM Labor Radio, May 9, 2018.
Interviewed in "A Look at the Left in Puerto Rico," XRAY in the Morning,
Opinion: "The Politics of Survival," Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Jacobin, April 2, 2018.
Quoted by Katie L. Burke in "Scientists in the Wake of the Hurricanes," American Scientist,
Opinion: "Puerto Rico at the Precipice," Fernando Tormos-Aponte (with José Ciro Martínez), Jacobin, October 5, 2017.


"Energy Inequality and Clientelism in the Wake of Disasters: From Colorblind to Affirmative Power Restoration" (with Mary Angelica Painter and Gustavo García-López). Energy Policy 158 (2021).

FInds that communities with ties to the ruling party elicit greater government responsiveness while socially vulnerable communities are less likely to be prioritized during the disaster relief efforts, controlling for disaster damage as well as logistical, economic, and essential service recovery priorities.

"Green New Deal Policies Should Be Fueled by Frontline and Grassroots Power" (with Angela Adrar, Olivia Burlingame, and Anthony Rogers-White). Public Administration Review (2019).

Advocates for a Green New Deal driven by grassroots organizing and democratic decision-making.

"Black Women Lawmakers and Second-Wave Feminism: An Intersectional Analysis on Generational Cohorts within Southern State Legislatures from 1990 to 2014" in The Legacy of Second-Wave Feminism in American Politics, edited by Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Argues that despite criticism of Second-Wave feminists for ignoring the intersection of race and gender, the movement, when viewed in conjunction with the African American Civil Rights Movement, proved influential for Black women who came of age during this period, launching a generation of female, African American state political leaders.

"Intersectional Solidarity" Politics, Groups, and Identities 5, no. 4 (2017): 707-720.

Focuses on the practical implications of intersectionality for social movements. Reviews prominent definitions of intersectionality, identifies a series of tenets, and presents a brief history of the notion of intersectionality. Reviews extant explanations of solidarity. 

"Assessing the Possible Impact of the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill on Human Mortality," (with Mark Paul), Scholars Strategy Network Memo, September 25, 2017.