Faculty & Staff Members

Updated: September 30th, 2008

Emilio Bejel

Professor, Spanish Department ebejel

Professor Bejel’s many publications include both literary: The Write Way Home: A Cuban-American Story/(“personal narrative,” 2003), Casas deshabitadas (poetry, 1989), El libro regalado (poetry, 1994); and academic titles: Escribir en Cuba: Entrevistas con escritores cubanos, 1979-1989 (1991), José Lezama Lima, poeta de la imagen (1994), and Gay Cuban Nation (2001). His research interests include Spanish American literature (Lezama Lima, Carpentier, Borges, Sarduy, Arenas), literary theory, ideology and poetics, gender transgression and globalization. His current research is on the iconography of José Martí.

Carlos Canales

Psychologist, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) drcanales

Mr. Canales is a psychologist working with students from diverse backgrounds at UC-Davis by providing individual, group, and marital psychotherapy. He also serves as the liaison to Chicano/Latino studies and participates in various committees involving Latino networks. Mr. Canales serves many Latino(a) students with multiple problems and is interesting in broadening his understanding of cultural issues related to his community, both historically and contemporaneously. He is also interested in keeping up with the academic world in regards to Latin America studies and the cultural changes that occur.

Jennifer Marie Chacón

Acting Professor, School of Law jmchacon

Professor Cacón received her A.B. with Distinction in International Relations from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Upon graduating, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sydney R. Thomas on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Before joining the UC Davis faculty, she was an attorney with the international law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. Professor Chacón’s research and teaching interests include criminal law, criminal procedure, immigration law and constitutional law. Much of her research has focused upon the increasing criminalization of migration. Her work has covered issues such as human trafficking and the impact of increased internal immigration enforcement on criminal procedural norms.

Angie Chabram-Dernersesian

Professor, Chicana/o Studies Program adchabramdernersesian

Professor Chabram-Dernersesian’s research and teaching focus is on the emergent area of Chicana/o feminist cultural studies. She is also interested in promoting transnational cultural studies networks that provide new tools for critical literacy and the practice of a hemispheric, critical global multiculturalism. She is the editor of The Chicana/o Cultural Studies Reader, The Chicana/o Cultural Studies Forum, and the co-editor of Speaking from the Body: Latinas on Health and Culture. She currently teaches in the Chicana/o Studies program and is affiliated to the Cultural Studies Graduate Group and the Women and Gender Studies Program.

Marisol de la Cadena

Associate Professor, Anthropology Department mdelac

Professor de la Cadena is author of Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1919-1991, a work situated at the crossroads of history and anthropology. Her research interests include critical race theory, anthropology of the state, cultures of history and memory, Latin American intellectual formations, and world anthropologies. Her current work, a hybrid project between ethnography and testimonio, is a collaborative investigation on Andean forms of memory, politics, and history with several Quechua intellectuals and politicians of the Peruvian Andes. She has been active in forming a World Anthropologies Network, a process to make visible forms of academic and non-academic anthropologies as they are produced in the peripheries of central modern knowledge.

Sergio de la Mora

Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies Program sedelamora

Professor de la Mora’s research interests include Latin American and Chicano/Latino film, video, and literature, queer studies, and cultural studies, focusing primarily on gendered cultural identities and representation.He is currently working on several book chapters and two book projects. The book projects are: a manuscript about Mexico’s foremost female ranchera performer, Lucha Reyes: La mujer bravía, in the context of the transnational flow of culture between Mexico City and Los Angeles and the emergence of queer subcultures; the second book project is an edited anthology titled, Remembering the Mission: A Cultural History of San Francisco’s Latino Neighborhood.

Robert Irwin

Professor, Spanish Department rmirwin

As coeditor of Diccionario de estudios culturales latinoamericanos (forthcoming Siglo XXI/Instituto Mora), Professor Irwin has been engaging intensely in thinking out the practical, theoretical and institutional implications of the “cultural turn” in Latin American studies in the humanities and social sciences as well as the “postnational” turn (product of globalization, migrations, etc.) in area studies that has transformed traditional Latin American studies into the more broadly “transamerican” field of inquiry that this proposal names Latin@american studies. His PhD in Comparative Literature (NYU, 1999) prepared him for a career in which he studies the the cultures of the Americas, with their center always in Mexico. His major research projects to date have focused on gender and sexuality (the monograph, Mexican Masculinities and the anthology, The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 1901, both published in 2003 – as well as the anthology Hispanisms and Homosexualities of 1998), the borderlands (Bandits, Captives, Heroines and Saints: Cultural Icons of Mexico’s Northwest Frontier, published in 2007), and most recently, Mexico’s cultural industries (including “golden age” cinema and comics). Professor Irwin’s research has been published in major journals of Mexican, Latin American, Chicano and American studies including Mexican Literature, Revista Iberoamericana, Aztlán and American Quarterly.

Michael Lazzara

Assistant Professor, Spanish Department mjlazzara

Professor Lazzara is a specialist in contemporary Latin American literature and culture, with a special interest in the Southern cone and issues concerning dictatorship, democratic transition, trauma, memory, exile and migration. He is author of Chile in Transition: The Poetics and Politics of Memory (2006) and Los años de silencio: conversaciones con narradores chilenos que escribieron bajo dictadura (2002), Luz Arce: Después del infierno (2008), “Prismas de la memoria: narracion y trauma en la transicion chilena” (2007), and translator of Ana María del Río’s novel Óxido de Carmen (Carmen’s Rust). He is currently working on a coedited volume on the image of urban ruins in Latin American cultural production; an extensive case study and interview with Luz Arce Sandoval, a former socialist militant during Chile’s Popular Unity government who later became a collaborator with Pinochet’s secret police organizations; and a study of competing visions (in multiple genres) of Salvador Allende and Popular Unity at different historical junctures.

Desirée A. Martín

Assistant Professor, English Department dmartin

Professor Martín specializes in Latino/a studies, U.S.-Mexico border studies, and Inter-American studies. She has essays forthcoming in MELUS and in the collections Crisscrossing the Borders of Western Literary Studies (eds.Reginald Dyck and Cheli Reutter), and Diccionario de Estudios Culturales Latinoamericanos (eds. Robert McKee Irwin and Mónica Szurmuk). Currently, she is completing a book manuscript titled Bordered Saints: Possessing Border and Nation in Chicana/o and Mexican Culture. Her next project focuses on multilingualism, translation, and the limits of identity in Chicano/a and Latino/a studies.

Alma Martinez

Student Affairs Coordinator, Chicana/o Studies Program almartinez

Luz Mena

Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies lmmena

Professor Mena is currently working on race, gender, space and colonial/post-colonial relations in Latin America, especially Cuba. She is interested in considering the following questions through situated cultural dynamics: how certain political subjectivities among Latin@american women are formed, how gendered power dynamics are reworked –reproduced and/or disrupted–outside of the region, how the debate of universality/particularities helps us or/and hinders in conceiving viable political projects by Latin@americans within a global economy. In particular, Professor Mena interested in a dialogue that illuminates how certain Latin American migrations flows between Cuba, Mexico, Central America and the US, and concomitant transnational production and consumption practices involving these Latin@americans continuously re-configure spatial divides, political allegiances, and ways of perceiving and desiring.

Robert Patrick Newcomb

Assistant Professor, Luso-Brazilian Studies rpnewcomb

Professor Newcomb’s research focuses on comparative Luso-Hispanic studies, Luso-Brazilian literature and culture, and essayistic and critical writing. His major research project, “Counterposing Nossa and Nuestra América,” considers the ways in which Brazilian and Spanish American essayists (Nabuco, Rodó, Reyes, Buarque) have examined and challenged Brazil’s relationship to the idea of Latin America, and argues for the importance of sustained critical engagement between the fields of Luso-Brazilian and Hispanic/Latin American studies. He engages with concerns germane to cultural studies primarily via his research’s questioning of categories such as “Latin/Spanish America,” and “Iberia/Spain,” as well as his concern with how Latin American elite intellectuals have utilized essayistic and critical discourse to impose disciplinary coherence on the mutually entangled canons of Brazilian and Spanish American literature. He has published articles in the journals Iberoamericana: América Latina-España-Portugal, Luso-Brazilian Review, and Romance Notes, and recently translated Alfredo Bosi’s Colony, Cult and Culture (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2008). Articles in production concern Rodó and Buarque, and the theme of “malign power” in Bosi and Jacob Burckhardt.

Bettina Ng’weno

Associate Professor, African and African American Studies Program bngweno

Trained in cultural anthropology, Professor Ng’weno’s work focuses on how certain kinds of property are crucial to modern states, and looks at the importance of territory to the Colombian state and its relationship to violence, through an investigation of Afro-Colombian territorial claims. She has worked both in Africa and Latin America, and has contributed her expertise to the World Bank, writing on their participation in the collective territories titling process for Afro-Colombians. Her current work focuses on Afro-Colombian territorial claims in the Andes and their status as ethnic groups under the rubric of the new 1991 Colombian Constitution. As such, she investigates the relationships among a number of processes including the definition of property and authority, the categorization of subjects of the state, the creation of political spaces, and the institutionalization of legal rulings and laws. Professor Ng’weno has written on ethnic politics in the department of Cauca since the new constitution, the status of Afro-Colombian collective territories, and the internal displacement of Afro-Colombians. She has also written on identity, social continuity and meaning among the Muslim matrilineal Digo of coastal Kenya as they negotiate the inheritance of land under plural legal systems that recognize different heirs. Professor Ng’weno is a member of the Black Diaspora Consortium Project Team, a collaborative effort of scholars and activists committed to actively working for social justice for (by, and with) African and African descended populations.


Ben Orlove

Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy bsorlove

While Professor Orlove’s current research project focuses on Africa, he has worked much of his career on Latin America, especially Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Mexico. His book Lines in the Water: Nature and Culture at Lake Titicaca synthesizes his ongoing research in the Andes. His work has expanded from political economy and cultural ecology to include topics of ideology, identity and representation. His most recent research focuses on climate, particularly on the human dimensions of inter-annual climate variability (e.g. el Niño), including such topics as traditional forms of forecasting among peasant and indigenous people, the use of forecasts in modern societies, and the influence of globalization on current responses to climate variability. Among his other books: Weather, Culture, Climate (coeditor, 2003), The Allure of Foreign Imported Goods in Post-Colonial Latin America (editor, 1997), and The Social Economy of Consumption (coeditor, 1989). He is also editor of the journal Cultural Anthropology and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont’Doherty Earth Observatory/International Research Institute for Climate Prediction at Columbia University.

Ana Peluffo

Associate Professor, Spanish Department aopeluffo

Professor Peluffo is a specialist in Latin American literatures and cultures with an emphasis on the 19th and early 20th centuries. She works on issues of gender and ethnicity, literature and nation, poetry and the visual arts in the regions of the Andes and the Southern Cone. Author of Lágrimas andinas: sentimentalismo, género y virtud republicana en Clarindo Matto de Turner (2005), she is currently working on a project on the politics of sentimentality in Latin America, and a coedited project on 19th century masculinities in Latin American literature.

Christina Siracusa

Program Coordinator, Hemispheric Institute on the Americas casiracusa

Ms. Siracusa is the Program Coordinator for the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas and The Center for History, Society and Culture at UC Davis. She has been a lecturer in Political Science at UCD and has published several papers. Among her titles are “State Migrant Exporting Schemes and their Implications for the Rise of Illicit Migration: A Comparison of Spain and the Philippines.” in the Journal of International Migration and Integration, “Seeing the State like a Migrant: Why So Many Non-criminals Break Immigration Laws” in Illicit Flows: States, Borders, and the Criminal Life of Things, edited by Willem van Schendel and Itty Abraham, co-authored with Professor David Kyle.