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Ylce Irizarry headshot

Associate Professor
English and Comparative Literature

My research areas include all things Latinx, including Chicanx and Latinx and cultural production, Hispanic transnational literatures, Caribbean historical fiction, Visual Rhetorics, and Testimonio. Generally, I am interested in what and why: what representations of Latin@ experience look like and why authors have made the specific generic, linguistic, and visual choices that ultimately appear in their work. My most significant publication is my book, Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction: The New Memory of Latinidad (U of Illinois Press, 2016); it received awards from the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (2018) and the Modern Language Association (2017). All of the texts are from the contemporary period and the chapters are organized by pairing books written by authors from two of these four major Hispanic descended groups: Cubans, Dominicans, Mexican, and Puerto Ricans American. My current book project, Cartographies of Erasure: Latinx Speculative Narrative since 1992 argues Latinx cultural production creates a decolonial cartography of erased bodies since 1492: BIPOC peoples, other-than-human animals, and topographic (air, and, water). The book centers the stories — told, retold, and imagined — of the erased.  In shorter scholarship, my articles and book chapters appear in venues including Chiricú JournalCENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and Symbolism: An International Journal of Critical Aesthetics. Book chapters appear in these edited volumes: Latinidad at the Crossroads: Insights into Latinx Identity in the 21st Century and Latinx Environmentalisms: Justice, Place, & the Decolonial.

My research has garnered me some great opportunities. I was awarded a McKnight Faculty Development Research Fellowship (2010-2011) and a 2011 Humanities Institute Summer Grant to complete my first book. I have presented in these countries: Spain (2018, 2016, 2012), Curaçao (2011), Puerto Rico (2009), and The Netherlands (2008, 2003). My teaching routinely includes courses in US Latinx Literatures, including Introduction to Latinx Studies, Latinx Speculative Fiction, and the Latinx Historical Novel.  In all my courses, I work with students to read texts (books, poems, films, plays) at multiple levels: linguistic, generic, cultural, typographical. We pay attention to the material conditions through which the text is produced, its intended audience, and how we, as readers, engage with it.

Outside research and teaching, diversity service is a personal commitment I meet as often as possible. I guest lecture on Latinx culture and identity, participate in mentoring opportunities such as the Sisters of the Academy Research Bootcamp, and deliver workshops on diversity, higher education, and professional development for underrepresented students. I have served on the Executive Council of the Latina/o Studies Association for six years and am honored to have received the Diamond Award for Community Engagement from the Sisters of Delta Tau Lambda, Inc. and a Status of Latinos (SOL) Faculty Award for Community Engagement at the University of South Florida.