Teaching Professor of Hispanic Studies
BioMy area of expertise is 20th-21st century Latin American cultural studies, focusing on the analysis of countercultural expressions as they are represented in literature, film, popular music, and comics and graphic novels. My interests also include the cycles of political violence and impunity in 20th century Latin American history as presented in its literature and popular culture. I have co-edited and published introductions and essays in the first volumes to bring together critical perspectives on the literary production of Colombian writers Andrés Caicedo and Evelio Rosero. I have also authored a number of articles on the tropes of death, suicide, and self-destruction in Caicedo and other Latin American writers, and analyses of the independent films of Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, among others. Being a native Spanish speaker and a near-native speaker of Portuguese, I bring an integrated approach to the study of Latin American literature and culture into my research and teaching. I am currently pursuing a research project on Hispanic and Latino comics and graphic novels as they are slowly being incorporated into literary and cultural studies courses at the university level in the US and Latin America, with an interest in what this may indicate about the current agency and place of comics and graphic novels within the local academic, social, and cultural structures. My Latin American Comics Archive (LACA) was awarded "Best Formative Initiative Developed in 2018" by the Hispanic Digital Humanities organization.
As a teacher in Hispanic studies, my primary goals are to lead students towards a critical awareness and appreciation of the diverse body of cultural products which characterizes the Hispanic world, and to use literature, film, and popular culture to think critically about the cultural and historical constructions of our own and others’ understandings. I teach undergraduate courses at all levels, including some covering both the Spanish-speaking Latin American and Peninsular regions.
I am the faculty advisor for the Minor in Hispanic Studies at CMU. I created and lead for several years the Modern Languages’ Informal Conversations on Teaching and Learning, monthly exchanges devoted to informal explorations of topics connected to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). I also co-created and co-direct the Hispanic Studies Outreach Program, El Círculo Juvenil, with the purpose of helping immigrant Hispanic/Latina(o) children in Pittsburgh maintain and develop their Spanish language and heritage, as well as increase their familiarity with technology, at the same time as they rapidly absorb the language and culture of their new place in the US. In addition, I have served as a Review Editor for Revista Iberoamericana and Revista de Estudios Colombianos, as Treasurer for the Asociación de Colombianistas, and as Latin American Popular Culture chair for the Midwest Popular Culture Association.
EducationPh.D., University of Michigan, 2004
- Evelio Rosero y los ciclos de la creación literaria (co-edited with Dr. Maria del Carmen Saldarriaga). Colección Ópera Eximia. Bogotá (Colombia): Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2017. Print.
- La estela de Caicedo: Miradas críticas. (co-edited with Dr. Juan Duchesne-Winter) Serie Nueva América. Pittsburgh, PA: Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana; U. of Pittsburgh, 2009. Print.
- “Círculo Juvenil de Cultura: A 10-Year Experiment in Service Learning and Community Engagement.” (co-authored with Mariana Achugar and Kenya C. Dworkin y Méndez). Project-Based Learning in Second Language Acquisition: Building Communities of Practice in Higher Education. Adrián Gras-Velázquez (Ed.) Routledge Research in Language Education Series. Routledge: New York and London, 2019. 153-71.
- "Virus tropical: Presencia y relevancia del personaje autobiográfico femenino en la novela gráfica colombiana". In: Dossier “Arte, ideología y estrategias de producción: la historieta latinoamericana como forma de aproximación a lo real,” Iberoamericana XV.57 (2015): 85-102. Print
- “Documentary Third Cinema in Colombia: The Case of Luis Ospina” (co-authored with Dr. De la Vega-Hurtado). Rethinking Third Cinema: The Role of Anti-Colonial Media and Aesthetics in Postmodernity. Eds. Frieda Ekotto and Adeline Koh. Berlin: Lit Berlin, 2009. 53-80. Print.
- “‘Un embeleco del siglo XX’: Fernando Vallejo y el cine.” Cuadernos de Cine Colombiano 14 (Oct 2010). Print.
- “El género de detectives y la monstruosidad neogótica: Río Quibú de Ronaldo Menéndez y The Nymphos of Rocky Flats de Mario Acevedo,”Conferencia Internacional de Literatura Detectivesca en Español (CILDE) en honor a Genaro J. Pérez. The Making of a Crime: Presence, Development and Importance of Crime Fiction in The Americas and Spain, Texas Tech University, October 2011
- “¿El futuro para quién? El cine de Carlos Mayolo, narración visual y nación,” XVII Congreso de la Asociación de Colombianistas, Bucaramanga (Colombia), August 2011
- “Community Voices: A Modern Languages Department’s Outreach Activities and Partnerships” (With Rosa Bahamondes Rivera, Kenya Dworkin, Mina Levenson, and Susan G. Polansky), ACTFL 2009, San Diego (CA), Nov. 2009
- Hispanic Literary and Cultural Studies: The Last Case of the Hispanic Detective
- Superheroes and Beyond: Spanish Language Comics in the Digital Humanities
- Topics in Hispanic Studies:
- Después del Fin: Post/Apocalyptic Visions of Latin America
- Comics, Community and Coding: Electronic Textuality and Culture in Latin America
- Popular Music and Countercultures in Latin America
- Latin American Monsters
- Radio Bemba & Beyond: Radio in and for the Hispanic World
- Latin America: Language and Culture
- Intermediate Spanish I & II
- Elementary Spanish I & II