Hello! I joined Santa Clara University in September 2012, which makes me one of the more recent additions to the Modern Languages tenure-track Faculty. Previously I held a position at Cal State San Marcos (2007-12). In 2007, I graduated with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University.
My current work deals with haunting in contemporary narratives of the Spanish-speaking world. I read the ghost as the vehicle of a conceptual metaphor for elements as diverse as relationship with absence, the difficulty of coming to terms with a traumatic past, or the disparities between aspirational representations of society and individual experience. Therefore, the ghost, the spectral, are forms of representing that which is not immediately apparent in cultural discourse or perceived reality. Although by no means exclusive to the Spanish-speaking world, I contend that metaphors of the spectral constitute one of the distinctive aesthetic choices that define contemporary Hispanic literatures. I have written about the representation of ghosts and voices of the dead in major contemporary writers such as Carlos Fuentes and Sergio Ramírez in works published in Mexican Studies, 2011, and forthcoming in Revista de Estudios Hispánicos). Along with my colleague Amanda Petersen (University of San Diego), I am currently co-editing a collection, Espectros, that will feature contributions from both established and up-and-coming scholars is Hispanic Studies across the United States.
Although I teach about contemporary Latin American literature and film in general, I have a special interest in Mexican culture and society as well as U.S. / Mexico border issues. Some of my works about female representations in contemporary Mexican film and about the narrative works of the Tijuana writer Heriberto Yépez have appeared in relevant journals in the field such as theHispanic Research Journal and Chasqui.
As an adherent to the teacher-scholar model prevailing in both my current and previous institutions, I incorporate my research interests into my teaching in courses such as SPAN 139, “Ghosts and the Talking Dead in Latin American Literature,” and the upcoming SPAN 135, “Colloquium: Culture, Arts and Society in the U.S. / Mexico Border.” I also enjoy bringing to campus people connected to my subject matter. My course SPAN 147, “Cinema, Politics, and Society in Latin America” has been visited by the itinerant photographic project 2Greenprints.org and by race relations expert Júlio César Machado da Paula (U. of São Paulo). During my previous appointment at CSUSM, I hosted the literary event series An Evening with, which in consecutive years featured the writers Heriberto Yépez, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Luis Valdez, the “father of Chicano Theatre” and founder of El Teatro Campesino.