Ph.D. in Spanish, Stanford University (2000)
M.A. in Spanish, Arizona State University (1995)
B.S. in Psychology, Georgetown University (1989)
Biographical Information and Teaching Interests
Growing up in Puerto Rico in a bilingual-bicultural home has marked my academic trajectory in many ways, from my chosen field of study, Latin American literatures and cultures, to how I study these literatures and cultures comparatively, as part and parcel of global flows of ideas, values, and styles.
I teach a wide range of courses using a variety of approaches, yet regardless of the course, my goal in the classroom is to better understand ourselves and one other through the vicarious experiences afforded by the narratives we study.
My research focuses on Latin American cinema, and my contributions to the field include a book on Cuba's foremost film director (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea: The Dialectics of a Filmmaker. New York: Routledge, 2002), and the first comprehensive history of Latin American narrative cinema (Latin American Cinema: A Comparative History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). I began to research Latin American cinema as a graduate student, and what has sustained my interest over the years is cinema’s unique ability to engage us emotionally and intellectually, and its versatility as a tool to better understand a region as culturally and geographically diverse as Latin America.
I am also in the beginning stages of a new research project that seeks to answer why Latin America in the eighteenth century saw the emergence of an alternative discourse of modernity that combined Baroque ideals of reciprocity and faith with Enlightenment ideals of individual freedom and scientific knowledge. To try to answer this question I am focusing on the work of three artists: the Mexican criollo poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the Afro-Brazilian architect and sculptor Aleijadinho, and the Quechua architect José Kondori. What attracts me to this project is the artists’ extraordinary artistic achievements, to be sure, but also the many parallels that exist between their work and our best aspirations today for a diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian society.
Scholarly and Professional Activities
Chair, Film Studies Section, Latin American Studies Association (2015-2017)
Co-Chair, Translation Committee, Society for Cinema and Media Studies (2016-2019)
Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University (1995-2000)
Editorial Board Member:
Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana (Arizona State University)
Cinegogía (College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts)
Fuera de campo (Universidad de las Artes, Ec