Graduate Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies


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Edit-a-thon, Students from the Gender and Power in Latin American Cultures course

The Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies Program at The Ohio State University offers one of the most distinguished and comprehensive MA and PhD programs in Latin American cultural studies in the nation. The program promotes an understanding of the ways in which Latin/@ American cultural production and practices—understood in a broad sense and including literature, performance, film, and music—interface with larger social, economic, political, and historical processes. As one of the largest public research universities in the United States, Ohio State offers many resources to support the study of Latin American cultures and literatures from different perspectives—most notably, the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), which is home to 112 faculty members among 9 colleges and 32 departments. CLAS offers a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies as well as FLAS Fellowships for undergraduates and graduates studying Portuguese or Quechua.


Graduate Literature and Culture Colloquium

Research Areas

Our faculty members have many overlapping areas of research and are by no means limited to the following concentrations. However, the following descriptions give an idea of how our collaborative and individual work has developed thus far. Please refer to individual faculty web pages for further information.

Indigenous and Andean Studies

Faculty research in indigenous studies is primarily focused on the Andean region. Michelle Wibbelsman’s interests and areas of specialization include South American indigenous cultures, ethnographic studies and ethnomusicology. Her work in Andean Ecuador has focused on symbolic and semiotic analytical approaches to indigenous performances, ritual practices and politics, while her current research explores indigenous transnational migration, diaspora and cosmopolitanism. Lisa Voigt studied indigenous participation in festivals in the Andean mining town of Potosí during the colonial period in her 2016 book project, Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns. Fernando Unzueta’s research focuses on the formation of national identities and modern subjectivities in nineteenth-century Latin America, particularly in the Andes. Ulises Juan Zevallos Aguilar works on indigenous literatures and cultures in the Andean, Amazonian, and transnational contexts.  He is the author of Las provincias contraatacan: Regionalismo y anticentralismo en la literatura peruana del siglo XX (2009) and Indigenismo y nación: Desafíos a la representación de la subalternidad quechua y aymara en el Boletín Titikaka (1926-30) (2002). The Department also offers language instruction in Quechua, and graduate students who wish to study Quechua may apply for summer or academic-year FLAS fellowships from the Center for Latin American Studies.  

Colonial and Transatlantic Studies

Faculty research on colonial Latin America has a strong comparative focus, engaging topics, texts, and individuals who cross borders between the Spanish and Portuguese empires on both sides of the Atlantic. Lúcia Helena Costigan is the author of A sátira e o intelectual criollo na colônia: Gregório de Matos e Juan del Valle y Caviedes (1991), a comparative study of Brazilian and Peruvian satirical poetry, and Through Cracks in the Wall: Modern Inquisitions and New Christian Letrados in the Iberian Atlantic World (2010), which analyzes early modern literary writings and inquisition testimonies produced by descendants of Jews forced to convert to Christianity in Iberia and Latin America. Lisa Voigt’s first book, Writing Captivity in the Early Modern Atlantic: Circulations of Knowledge and Authority in the Iberian and English Imperial Worlds (2009), examined captivity narratives in a transatlantic and comparative context, and her second book, Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns (2016), compared festivals in Potosí (Spanish viceroyalty of Peru) and Minas Gerais (Brazil). She is now working on representations of Amerindians in European performance and print in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Within the Iberian Studies section, Elizabeth Davis has worked on epic poetry of the Spanish empire and is currently writing a book on early modern sea writing in the Spanish Atlantic, while Pedro Pereira’s current project examines the emergence and legacy of Portuguese imperial discourses.

Migration, Border & Latino/a Studies

PhD students in Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies may pursue a secondary concentration or minor in Latino/a literatures and cultures or a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Latino Studies. Working at the intersection of Latino Studies, narrative theory, and cognitive science, Frederick Aldama’s many books include Brown on Brown (2005), Your Brain On Latino Comics (2008), A User’s Guide to Postcolonial and Latino Borderland Fiction (2009), Formal Matters in Contemporary Latino Poetry (2013), Latinos and Narrative Media (2003), Latinos in the End Zone (2013) co-authored with Christopher González, and ¡Muy Pop! Conversations on Latino Popular Culture co-authored with Ilan Stavans. He has several books forthcoming in 2014 on Latino pop culture, including two on the director Robert Rodriguez. Prof. Aldama edits several books series, including “Latino Pop Culture” (Palgrave) and “Contemporary Latino Authors and Directors” (Ohio State University Press), and he is founder and co-director of the Humanities and Cognitive High School Summer Institute as well as the founder and director of LASER—the Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research. Ignacio Corona is the co-editor of Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Media Representations and Public Intervention (2010).  Paloma Martinez-Cruz is at work on a book examining Chicana/o and Latinx food studies from a decolonial perspective entitled Food Fight! Millennial Mestizaje and the Dilemmas of Ethical EatingAna Elena Puga’s current book project, Staging Migrant Suffering, interrogates the reliance on melodrama in late twentieth and twenty-first century artistic and social performances featuring undocumented migrants from Latin America, especially women and children. She is the co-founder of LaMicro Theatre, dedicated to the staging of contemporary Spanish, Latin American and US Latino plays in English and bilingual productions. Abril Trigo has published Memorias migrants. Testimonios y ensayos sobre la diáspora uruguaya (1997), as well as many articles on transnational migration.‬‬‬‬

Cultural Studies

Ana Del Sarto and Abril Trigo are the co-editors (with Alicia Ríos) of the groundbreaking collection The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader (2004) and Los estudios culturales latinoamericanos hacia el siglo XXI, a special issue of Revisa Iberoamericana (2003). Ana Del Sarto is the editor of alter/nativas, latin american cultural studies journal, which publishes scholarly articles and multimedia essays on Latin American arts, literatures, films, music, performances, and other cultural practices. She is also the author of Sospecha y goce: Una genealogía de la crítica cultural chilena (2011). Abril Trigo has published extensively on cultural issues, and his current project is Crítica de la economía político-libidinal. Laura Podalsky is the author of Specular City: Transforming Culture Consumption and Space In Buenos Aires 1955-1973 (2004). Ignacio Corona is the co-editor of Postnational Musical Identities: Production, Marketing, and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario (2007). 

Gender Studies

Paloma Martinez-Cruz engages women of color feminism and alternative epistemologies in her monograph Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica: From East L.A. to Anahuac (2011), her translation of Ponciá Vicencio, a novel by Afro-Brazilian author Conceição Evaristo, and her edited collection Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology, which features stories and art from 26 Latina women from the Midwest and beyond. Ana Del Sarto is working on a book project entitled Irreverent Passions: On Bodies and Subjectivities, focused on Chilean writer Diamela Eltit and other Southern Cone women writers and addressing the issues of female bodies, subjectivities, and violence. Ignacio Corona is the co-editor of the collection Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Media Representations and Public Intervention (2010).  

Performance Studies

Paloma Martinez-Cruz’ research addresses performance studies in a contemporary hemispheric context. Ana Elena Puga is a scholar, translator, and dramaturg whose research focuses on the intersection of aesthetics and politics in Latin American and US Latino performance.  She is the author of Memory, Allegory, and Testimony in South American Theatre: Upstaging Dictatorship (2008), and her current book project is entitled Staging Migrant SufferingMichelle Wibbelsman studies Andean indigenous performances and ritual practices in her book, Ritual Encounters: Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community (2009). Lisa Voigt works on public festivals of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries in various contexts. She studied indigenous and Afro-Brazilian festive performance in Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns (2016), and is currently working on the representation and participation of Africans and Amerindians in early modern Portuguese festivals, in conjunction with RITUALS: Public Rituals in the Portuguese Empire.

Film Studies

Many of our PhD students pursue a Film Studies minor. Frederick Aldama is the author of Mex-Ciné: Mexican Filmmaking, Production, and Consumption in the 21st-Century and the forthcoming edited volumes, Robert Rodriguez and the Cinema of Possibilities and Multimediated Latinos: Film, Television, Web, Comics and Latinos in the 21st CenturyLaura Podalsky is the author of Specular City: Transforming Culture Consumption and Space in Buenos Aires 1955-1973 (2004) and The Politics of Affect and Emotion in Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico (2011).

Comparative Luso-Hispanic Studies

Many of our faculty members engage in comparative research and teaching on Brazilian and Spanish American cultures: in the colonial period, Lúcia Helena Costigan and Lisa Voigt; in the modern and contemporary period, Ignacio Corona, Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Laura Podalsky, Abril Trigo and Ulises Juan Zevallos Aguilar. PhD students in Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies may pursue a secondary concentration or minor in Luso-Brazilian literatures and cultures by taking comparative courses as well as those offered in the PhD Program in Studies of the Portuguese-Speaking World.

Literary, Discursive and Media Studies

Faculty teaching and research focus on the historical transformations of literary culture in Latin America from the nineteenth century to the cultural impact of neoliberalism; the intersection of cultural, media and literary studies; innovative critical and theoretical approaches to literature and the sociology of literature, narrative, and intermediality, among other related topics. Ignacio Corona is the author of Después de Tlatelolco: las narrativas políticas en México (1976-1990). Un análisis de sus estrategias retóricas y representacionales (2001) and the co-editor of The Contemporary Mexican Chronicle. Theoretical Perspectives on the Liminal Genre (2002). Ulises Juan Zevallos Aguilar has studied the participation of avant-garde groups in Peru and the creation of literary journals in that context.  He is the author of Las provincias contraatacan: Regionalismo y anticentralismo en la literatura peruana del siglo XX (2009) and Literatura y cultura en el sur Andino Cusco Puno (siglos XX y XXI).  Fernando Unzueta has published many articles on the ideological role of periodicals in the nineteenth century and is the author of La imaginación histórica y el romance nacional en Hispanoamérica (1996) and Cultura letrada y proyectos nacionales: periódicos y literatura en Bolivia (siglo XIX) (2018).

Musical Studies and Performance

Several of our faculty members engage musical themes in their research and teaching. Ignacio Corona’s research includes work on music and post/trans/nationalism; U.S.-Mexico border musical cultures; and Latin American and U.S. Latin rock. He has designed a sequence of courses on Musical Landscapes of Latin America including a survey course of Latin American music in social context and various regional courses that offer unique perspectives on issues of nationalism, ethnic identity, social struggle, cultural change, globalization and mobility viewed through the lens of music production and consumption. Michelle Wibbelsman holds a courtesy faculty appointment in the School of Music. She directs the newly formed Andean Music Ensemble. Her current research explores Latin American indigenous musical production and performance in transnational contexts. Ulises Juan Zevallos Aguilar’s most recent project involves research on urban musical fusions based on the traditional genre of the Peruvian huayno. Paloma Martinez-Cruz participates in U.S. Latino popular music both as a performer with her ska band and scholar of alternative sonic latinidad.  
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