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Advisory Committee for the Latina/o Studies Minor

JuanAlamoJuan Álamo, D.M.A., Associate Professor
Department of Music

“As an educator and performer I am involved in different recording projects, classes, lectures and master classes related to Latin American culture/studies.  For instance, at UNC I teach two courses related to Latin American music: MUSC 147 – Intro to Latin American Music and MUSC 213-007, UNC Global Rhythm Ensemble. Through these our students get an opportunity to courses  study the history, culture, music –artists & recordings –  as well as to learn the drumming traditions of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Peru.  Also a scholar and performer I present lectures and master classes about Afro-Caribbean music at symposiums, universities, percussion festivals and conservatories nationally and internationally.”


AlthaCraveyAltha Cravey, Associate Professor
Department of Geography

Altha J. Cravey’s work explores globalization livelihoods, and labor geographies from a feminist perspective using ethnography, political economy and collaborative video documentaries. She has expertise in Mexico, Mexican development policies, NAFTA, and Mexican working class experiences in the United States South. She has published in Feminist FormationsEthnography, Economic Geography, Social and Cultural GeographyAntipode, and also published a book, Women and Work in Mexico’s Maquiladoras. Two video projects that examine the Mexican diaspora in North Carolina are “Seed Spirits: The Otomi of Carolina del Norte” (2011) and “The Virgin Appears in La Maldita Vecindad” (2008). A forthcoming documentary video examines the resilience of Ixil Maya after the early 1980s genocidal attacks in highland Guatemala. Her scholarly work has been supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, National Institute of Health, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.


ECrystallElyse Crystall, Senior Lecturer
Department of English & Comparative Literature

Dr. Crystall teaches “Literature and Cultural Diversity: Transmigrations” which takes as its point of departure Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of the “contact zone,” the site where those who come into contact are changed by the encounter. The texts consist of narratives that move across time and history; space and geography; gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality and challenge notions of what is defined (culturally) as normal, natural, accepted, and customary – that is, the standard against which we compare, contextualize, and define ourselves and others. Rethinking and reframing social relations allows us to imagine multiple possibilities for interventions in (and the re-creation of) daily life in order to fashion a world in which we want to live. Over the years, the reading list has included Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz, Martín Espada, Tomás Rivera, Helena María Viramontes, among others, and films such as El Norte, Lone Star, Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican, and Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America.



Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Associate Professor and Margaret Shuping Fellow of Creative Nonfiction
Creative Writing Program, Department of English & Comparative Literature

A Chicana from South Texas, Stephanie Elizondo Griest is the author of three travel memoirs that explore Latina/o cultural identity: Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines; and All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Oxford American, VQR, and The Believer, and her reporting has won a Richard Margolis Award for Social Justice. Here at UNC-Chapel Hill, she teaches Intro and Advanced Creative Nonfiction, Travel Writing, and Memoir as Witness. Visit her website at





María DeGuzmán, Eugene H. Falk Distinguished Professor of English & Comparative Literature and Founding Director of the UNC Latina/o Studies Program of the Department of English & Comparative Literature

See full biography on the staff page.




Oswaldo Estrada, Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies

Department of Romance Studies

Dr. Estrada’s research focuses on gender formation and transgression, historical memory, and the construction of dissident identities in contemporary Latina/o American Literature. He regularly teaches a first-year seminar on Mexican and Latina women, titled “Mexican Women across Borders and Genres,” and also an upper division course, titled “Violence in Contemporary Latina/o American Literature.” He has published articles on Peruvian American author Daniel Alarcón, and also on Mexican writers Daniel Sada, Orfa Alarcón, Carlos Fuentes, and Yuri Herrera, whose works problematize border identities, migrant experiences, and coloniality. His most recent books are: Troubled Memories: Iconic Mexican Women and the Traps of Representation (2018), Senderos de violencia: Latinoamérica y sus narrativas armadas (ed. 2015), Ser mujer y estar presente. Disidencias de género en la literatura mexicana contemporánea (2014), and Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico. Literary and Cultural Inquiries (ed. with Anna M. Nogar, 2014).


GonzalezEspitiaJuan Carlos González-Espitia
, Associate Professor of Spanish
Department of Romance Studies

Dr. González-Espitia is a scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American and Latina/o literature. He has continuously taught courses and guided work in both time periods, inspiring and being inspired by my students. His research focuses on non-canonical, heterodox, shunned and hidden literature, ideas, and authors that, although excluded, reveal very profound trends in culture and society. Dr. González-Espitia’s research treats representations of disease, literature that challenges the status quo, and nation-building—in particular the complex, dynamic transformation from a colonial condition to one of budding independence. He is especially interested in the relationships between disease and nation in literature, and in finding divergent, innovative, profound, and fertile critical approaches to texts.


photo-17Laura Halperin
, Associate Professor
Department of English & Comparative Literature
Affiliated with the Department of American Studies and Curriculum in Global Studies

Dr. Halperin is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Program in Latina/o Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, and she is affiliated with the Department of American Studies and the Curriculum in Global Studies. She is also the Academic Director of N.C. Sli (the Scholars’ Latinx Initiative), a mentorship and leadership program that pairs UNC undergraduates with Latinx high school students and that is built on principles of recognition, affirmation, and equity. Currently, Dr. Halperin serves on the executive committee for the Modern Language Association’s Forum on Chicana and Chicano Literature. Her first book, Intersections of Harm: Narratives of Latina Deviance and Defiance, was published by Rutgers University Press as part of the American Literatures Initiative Series. It explores the intersections of psychological, physical, and geopolitical harm in relatively contemporary memoirs and novels by Latinas and argues that the individual experiences of harm need to be understood in relation to collective histories of oppression. Her second book explores Latinx experiences in the U.S. educational system. She regularly teaches a course on targeted Latinx texts as well as English 267: “Growing Up Latina/o,” English 363: “Latina Feminisms,” English 364: “Introduction to Latina/o Studies,” and English 467: “Educating Latinas/os: Preparing SLI Mentors.” She also teaches Latinx and feminist studies graduate courses. For more information about her first book, please visit,5467.aspx. For more information about N.C. Sli, please visit



China Medel, Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

B.A. (English) Portland State University, Portland Oregon. Ph.D. (Literature and Feminist Studies) Duke University, Durham North Carolina.

Dr. Medel’s research and teaching interests include visual media studies, performance, U.S.-Mexico border studies, Chicana/o and Latina/o literature and art, hemispheric and transnational American Studies, social movements, and transnational feminism. Her research focuses on the role of art and media in imagining and generating new modes of political recognition in the Americas. Her dissertation “Border Images and Imaginaries: Spectral Aesthetics and Visual Medias of Americanity at the U.S.-Mexico Border” examined aesthetic means by which artists and filmmakers generated alternative forms visibility of the U.S.-Mexico border and migration that do not rely upon the racialized and militarized modes of visibility that work to criminalize immigrants. As postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Communication at UNC Carolina, Dr. Medel is at work on a book project, “Spectral Aesthetics: Media and Movement(s) at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” The book expands the scope of her dissertation to put art and filmmaking practices into dialog with the experiments and thinking emerging from on the ground activist projects in immigration justice in order to understand the crucial role of these different types of praxis in imagining and shaping new forms of political life. Dr. Medel is also at work on a second research project that maps a constellation of popular struggles over water in visual media, performance, and activism in the Americas. She has taught courses in film and media studies and border studies. Hailing from a rural community in Idaho, Dr. Medel is a first generation college student and proud Chicana. In addition to her scholarship and teaching, Dr. Medel is also a SONG (Southerners on New Ground) member working on local anti-criminalization campaigns.


Susan HarbSusanHarbagePageage Page, Assistant Professor and Visual Artist Susan

Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Harbage Page is a visual artist whose research focuses on social justice issues concerning race, surveillance, and militarized borders. Her work is extremely diverse both in substance, form, and media and can be roughly divided into “The U.S–Mexico Border Project” which includes the “Anti-Archive of Trauma on the U.S.-Mexico Border” with circa 1000 objects (2007-present) and “Textiles: A Metaphorical Tracing” (2012-present). Both bodies of work focus on archives, how they shape our histories, whose narratives get included, and whose get left out. Harbage Pages research methods are conceptual and experiential, grounded in her early studies of visual art, photography, music, and feminist history and activism. Her most recent performance piece “Erasing the Border” pushes the audience to question its relation to territories, borders, power and exclusion, and the binary logic behind social and gendered boundaries.


RosaPerelmuterRosa Perelmuter, Professor of Romance Studies (Spanish) & Director of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program
Department of Romance Studies

Dr. Perelmuter regularly teaches a first-year honors seminar about Latin@ literature and culture (ROML055H, “Writing with an accent: Latino Literature and Culture”), where students are exposed to the many faces/ethnicities of Hispanics living in the United States and their literary and cultural production.She also teaches a course on the literary and cultural output of Cubans living in the US (SPAN 389, “Los cubanos en la diáspora: literatura y cultura”). For MURAP ( she recruits college students, many of whom are Latinos, and offer them an intensive summer research program to prepare them to pursue doctorates in the humanities, social sciences or fine arts and eventually join the ranks of academia. The goal of the program is to diversify doctoral programs and academia, and it has had great success in doing that, thus leading Latino students to productive and successful careers.


Perez Mendez

Roxana Perez-Mendez
Department of Art

Roxana Pérez-Méndez is a video performance and installation artist who creates work about the arbitrary nature of contemporary identity through the lens of her own experience as a Puerto Rican woman.



KristaPerreiraKrista Perreira, Professor of Social Medicine 
UNC School of Medicine

Dr. Perreira is a health economist who studies disparities in health, education, and economic well-being and inter-relationships between family, health and social policy. Focusing on children in immigrant families, her most recent work combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study migration from Latin America and the health and educational consequences of migration. Through her research, she aims to develop programs and policies to improve the well-being of immigrant families and their children. She has taught courses on migration in the U.S. South and migration and health.



Guillermo Rodríguez-Romaguera
Department of English and Comparative Literature

Guillermo Rodríguez-Romaguera has a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture and an M.F.A. in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California as well as an A.B. in Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies from Princeton University. His research focuses on theorizing horror film spectatorship as a self-reflexive act of political resistance in modern and contemporary culture through an interdisciplinary imbrication of literary theory, political philosophy, film theory, critical race theory, queer theory, neuroscience and surrealist aesthetics. His first monograph titled Mirrors to the Unconscious: Spanish Meta-Art and Contemporary Cinema, which is under review at State University of New York Press, argues that cinema has the power to reveal to the spectator their own inner thoughts, especially when living in an environment in which they are not allowed to express their mind openly, such as politically oppressed or culturally repressed societies. Framed around critical readings of Spain’s masterworks in meta-art – Don Quixote, Las meninas, and Un chien andalou, the book examines instances of duality in contemporary films from Spain, Poland, France, Canada, Argentina, Cuba and the United States that appear to project on screen what the viewer is subconsciously thinking. He has also published several articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies, Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America and Studies in European Cinema.


Currently, he is working on a new research project titled The Fluid Gaze of Latinx Spectatorship: Transgender and Interracial Visual Pleasure in the Horror Film which re-thinks the horror genre as the site of a complex intermingling of gender and racial subjectivities for its Latinx audience. The book proposes a theory of how gender fluidity in Latinx cinematic identification disrupts not just patriarchal structures and heteronormative sexualities but the power dynamics of whiteness and racial oppression. Building off Jordan Peele’s exposure of racial issues through horror in Get Out and Us, the book will focus on the paradoxical relationship of Latinx spectators to the horror genre in the United States. For instance, statistics show that the current boom in horror box office with groundbreaking hits like It and the new Halloween sequel is attributable to an increase in Latinx audiences, yet these films do not feature any Latinx protagonists for these audiences to identify with. Given this lack of representation, why do Latinx viewers continue to embrace a genre known for excluding them? To tackle this question, this book will re-examine representations of political otherness in classic horror cinema as prefiguring contemporary transformations of the genre’s racial and ethnic stereotypes into narratives that advocate for the underrepresented, the oppressed and the marginalized. Guillermo’s transnational and comparative approach to Latinx Studies seeks to go beyond identity politics in the United States by applying the critical-theoretical framework developed in his first book to formulate a spectatorship of exclusion for Latinx horror audiences not only in the United States but also in Latin America and Europe.


Guillermo is also a film director, screenwriter and editor. He wrote, produced and directed an emotional thriller entitled The Shadows (2007) and produced and edited the feature film Sweet Thing (2008), a coming-of-age tale of two young women set in Seattle. He has worked as an editor for DirecTV, NBC and CBS as well as editing numerous feature films, documentaries and TV series such as The History Channel’s Gangland.


TanyaShieldsTanya Shields, Associate Professor
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Dr. Shields’ research and teaching on the Caribbean may be of particular interest to students pursuing a certificate in Latina/o Studies.  In addition to her research (see Bodies and Bones: Feminist Rehearsal and Imagining Caribbean Belonging and The Legacy of Eric Williams: Into the Postcolonial Moment), she teaches two relevant courses that include readings and material from cultural producers in the Caribbean and Latina/o artists in the US: WMST 350: Spitting in the Wind: American Women, Art, and Activism and WMST 352: Rahtid Rebel Women: An Introduction to Caribbean Women.


stuesse-author-photo-2014Angela Stuesse, Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology and Global Studies
Angela Stuesse is broadly interested in social inequality, and her research and teaching interests include globalization, migration, race, labor, human rights, and methodologies of activist research. Her book Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South (University of California Press 2016), explores how new Latino migration into Mississippi’s poultry industry has impacted communities and prospects for worker organizing.  It is based on six years of activist research engagement with poultry workers and their supporters. Follow-on research created Intergroup Resources, an online resource center that shares materials, tools, and lessons learned from across the U.S to strengthen intergroup relations across difference. Dr. Stuesse’s more recent work investigates the intensification of immigrant policing with an emphasis on racialized effects and community responses, and the experiences of undocumented young people in higher education.  She has conducted research in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and in the newer borderlands of the U.S. South, as well as in Mexico and Guatemala. She has published in the journals American Anthropologist, Antipode, City & Society, Latino Studies, Southern Spaces, and Human Organization, among others. Prior to UNC, she held academic appointments at UCLA; The Ohio State University; and the University of South Florida, where she helped to establish the university’s first UndocuAlly Program.




Adam Versényi, Professor and Chair
Department of Dramatic Arts

Dr. Versényi  teaches courses in Latin American and U.S. Latino/a Theatre and Performance, and helps direct the Teatro Latino/a Series.



Ariana E. Vigil, Associate Professor
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Dr. Vigil is an associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She is the author of War Echoes: Gender and Militarization in U.S. Latina/o Cultural Production (Rutgers University Press, 2014). She conducts teaching and research in contemporary Latina/o cultural production, focusing on issues of gender and sexuality, militarization, and transnationalism. Her work has appeared in meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, Latino Studies, and Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea. She is currently working a project that places Latina/o literature in conversation with media and communication studies.

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