As Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University I teach courses in the departments of English, Spanish & Portuguese, and Film Studies on and Latinx* & Latin American cultural phenomena, including literature, film, TV, music, sports, video games, and comic books.
Beating at the heart of my work is the singular drive to understand deeply how we create and actively consume all variety of planetary cultural phenomena. I’ve found useful insights from the cognitive sciences as well as history, cultural studies, and critical race, gender, and sexuality theory. I’m particularly interested in exploring and analyzing an important slice of this bounty of culture. Much of my work focuses on excavating and examining pop cultural phenomena by and about Latinxers of the Américas.
Today, there’s plenty of LatinX pop culture generated in the global circuits of production and consumption. Flick on the TV and you’ll see just how deeply the mainstream now includes Latinxers: ABC’s Modern Family with its newly configured Latinx familia, the CW’s telenovela-styled, self-reflexive Jane the Virgin, along with cop shows like NBC’s Shades of Blue that naturalize the presence of the Latina protagonist, and there’s NBC’s smart, woke workplace sitcom Superstore. Behind the scenes, we have Latinxers like Selena Gomez producing shows like 13 Reasons Why, America Ferrera with Superstore, and Eva Longoria as coproducer of Devious Maids. Radio waves emit Latino sound like Romeo Santos and Drake’s bachata and Justin Beiber sings in Spanish (for better or worse) as he joins Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s reggaeton/cumbia rhyhmed, “Despacito.”Marvel comics recently launched the LGBTQ Latina superhero, America Chavez, headliner to her own run of comic books. And, the latest in the Fast franchise, Fate and the Furious puts to rest anyone’s idea that Van Diesel as Dominic Torreto was of Italian extraction by solidly anchoring him in his Cubanidad.
This is but a quick sampling of the how Latinx culture exists within the mainstream. But of course, there’s plenty more. Indeed, much of the innovation is happening from Latinx creators at the grassroots level. I think readily of the kind of work done by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez not only with the creating of a cinema outside of Hollywood, but also his clearing space for innovative, Latinx-based content TV with his El Rey Network. And, of course, there’s the hugely vital Latinx comic book scene. I think of the work of women pioneer creators such as Roberta Gregory (half Latina) and Laura Molina as well as new gens such as Crystal Gonzalez, Liz Mayorga, and Grasiela Rodriguez, Serenity Serseción, Jules Rivera, Cristy C. Roads, Stephanie Villareal Murray, Amber Padilla, Breena Nuñez Peralta, Vicko, Kat Fajardo, Jenny González-Blitz, Candy Briones, Theresa Rojas, Kelly Fernandez, Myra Lara, and Lila Quintero Weaver, among others. And, I also think readily of the male pioneer creators like Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Richard Dominguez, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Saldaña, Jaime Crespo, Lalo Alcaraz, Mark Campos, Hector Cantu, and Rafael Navarro, as well as new gens like Héctor Rodriguez, Daniel Parada, Raúl González, among many others.
Latinx pop culture is shaping the sense of people everywhere. Of course, not all of it is created equal. Where we see the most interesting, richly textured and complex Latinx pop culture is that created by Latinxers.
Professor LatinX offers a hub for the dissemination of knowledge and insight into all the ways that Latinx culture infuses and transforms the world we live in.
* A quick word on the term: LatinX. In the wake of the Brown and Black Lives Matter movements a new generation of Latino/as have chosen the identifier: Latinx. This important ground-up generated identifier discards old-school gender categories that Latino and Latina carry. Latinx actively embraces LGBTQ subjects and experiences. It also affirms our connection through language, culture, and history to our brothers and sisters across the Américas. It is in this spirit that I use the term LatinX.
I am author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of over 30 scholarly books. I am also the author of the book of fiction/graphic fiction, Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands.
As Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University I teach courses in the departments of English, Spanish & Portuguese, and Film Studies on and Latinx & Latin American cultural phenomena, including literature, film, TV, music, sports, video games, and comic books.
I am founder and director of the White House Bright Spot for Higher Education Award winning Latino High School outreach program, LASER. I am also founder of the Humanities & Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute. In my teaching and publishing I seek to advance, promote, and encourage the narrative and graphic arts, especially those by and about Latinos.
I have been honored with the 2016 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education Award. In 2017, I was awarded Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and inducted into the Academy of Teaching. This same year I was inducted into the Society of Cartoon Arts.
I bring this expertise and experience to my high energy talks, keynotes, and workshops on topics such as
- Latinx pop culture; film, TV, music, sports, video games, and comic books.
- Science of Storytelling
- Why the humanities matter
- Creating successful diversity and inclusion outreach programs
- Latinx curriculum development
- Publishing scholarship and fiction/nonfiction
- Fiction writing