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Headshot of Dr. China Medel

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

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.


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