Meet the Staff
María DeGuzmán is Professor of English & Comparative Literature and founding Director of Latina/o Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of two books: Spain’s Long Shadow: The Black Legend, Off-Whiteness, and Anglo-American Empire (University of Minnesota Press, August 2005) and Buenas Noches, American Culture: Latina/o Aesthetics of Night (Indiana University Press, June 2012). She has published many articles on Latina/o cultural production, and she writes and teaches about relationships between literature and various kinds of photographic practice.
She is also a conceptual photographer who produces photos and photo-text work, both solo and in collaboration with colleagues and friends. She has published essays and photo-stories involving her photography. Her images have been chosen as the cover art for books by Cuban American writer Cristina García and the poet Glenn Sheldon and for books by academic scholars. As Camera Query (solo and in collaboration with others) and as SPIR: Conceptual Photography (with Jill H. Casid), she has shown in the Carrack Gallery, the Pleiades Gallery, and Golden Belt Art Studios in Durham, 523 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, the Orange County Historical Museum in Hillsborough, and the Joyner Library at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina; Salisbury University Art Gallery in Salisbury, Maryland; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol, England; Pulse Art Gallery in New York City; the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art (CEPA Gallery) in Buffalo, New York; and El Progreso Gallery in Madrid, Spain. She has worked most notably with co-authors and co-producers, Jill H. Casid and Carisa R. Showden on combinations of text and image. She has collaborated as music composer with visual artist and lyricist Janet Cooling. Most recently, she has been composing original music and lyrics of her own as well as working on her own photo & text stories.
María J. Durán is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and Graduate Research Assistant for the Latina/o Studies Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She studies 20th century-contemporary Latina/o Literature with a focus on drama and performance. Her dissertation examines death and injury as potentially productive sites of social protest. Her project engages various ways of understanding death in the public sphere and the potential of pain as a basis from which to organize a multivalent Chicano/a and transnational Latino/a community. She has presented her academic work at Latina/o and literature conferences and has presented on panels about diversity and Latina/o education success. Durán has served as a guest blogger for UNC’s Institute for the Study of the Americas, and she has a forthcoming peer-reviewed article in the leading Chicana/o Studies Journal, Aztlán. She teaches ENGL 105 and other literature sections, including ENGL 129: Literature and Cultural Diversity. She will teach WMST 233: Latina Literature in Spring 2017.
Outside of the academic sphere, Durán is an advocate for underrepresented minority education. She has worked with The Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) at UNC-Chapel Hill to assist talented underrepresented undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in their pursuit of doctoral degrees. In Summer 2015, she received the UNC Graduate School’s Richard Bland Fellowship and interned with Juntos, a North Carolina State University cooperative extension program whose mission it is to help Latina/o students achieve high school graduation and access higher education. Durán was recently selected as an HSF scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year. She is also a Carolina Firsts Advocate for undergraduate and serves on the advisory board for the Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS. In her spare time, Durán enjoys visiting coffeeshops, hot yoga, traveling, and spending time with her two pet bunnies. Click here to read about Durán’s decision to pursue graduate studies and what advice she has for prospective graduate students.