I am an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the English and Language Department at Bluffton University. I completed my PhD in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. My research and teaching focus on issues relating to power and the body, and are situated in the frameworks of gender, disability and religious studies in Mexico and Latin America.
My book, The National Body in Mexican Literature, focuses on issues of the state and the body in Mexican narrative fiction from the 20th century. It analyzes the representation of sick, disabled, and miraculously healed bodies in works by José Revueltas, Juan Rulfo, Rosario Castellanos, and Vicente Leñero. The book shows how the representation of the body in narrative reflects both the oppression by the State and the Church and how, when the allusions to a collective are considered, the body becomes a site for building resistance to that oppression by providing a site for alternative collectives to emerge. You can read research related to this project on my academia page.
My current research project, Liminal Sovereignty: Mennonites and Mormons in Popular Culture, deals with the representation of Mennonites and Mormons in Mexican and borderlands film, photography, television and webcomics. It situates this representation in 19th century immigration policies and the Mexican revolution and then surveys the arrival of Mennonites and the post-Revolutionary return of Mormons to Mexico, shown in immigration photography. It then turns to their relationship with the law and their supposed criminality, and concludes by examining their “death.” In one case, representations of deaths that result from a cartel kidnapping a boy in a polygamous Mormon group and another about representations of Mennonite death in photography and film. “Liminal Sovereignty” suggests that these representations form part of an aesthetic tendency that aligns with both groups’ exceptionality, and legal exceptions, in Mexico. This aesthetic tendency reflects the views of the predominant culture, and so, as I argue in the book, only by understanding these views can we create better relationships between minorities and broader society. It has been supported by the Plett Foundation and the C Henry Smith Peace Lectureship. Current support comes from the Newberry Library‘s short-term fellowship program and Bluffton University’s Karl B. Schultz award. I will be spending the Spring semester as the Kreider Fellow at the Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College to complete this work.