Within the academy, and the field of communication in particular, Chicanxs and Latinxs, as well as research and teaching about and by them, are significantly underrepresented. Therefore, I have worked to establish a research agenda that both privileges largely ignored Chicanx and Latinx experiences and simultaneously challenges traditional ideas about communication theory and knowledge production. Thus, my goal has been to rethink and retheorize how we study historically marginalized groups, examining the specific example of Chicanxs and Latinxs. My work is interdisciplinary, meaning the most exciting and stimulating insights coming out of my work emerge as a result of the investigation of important social, theoretical, and analytical questions posed at the interstices of fields. Thus, my scholarship has been guided by theories and methods from Chicanx-Latinx Studies, Performance Studies, Queer Theory, and Rhetorical Theory, and Criticism. In advancing this goal my research program has largely been focused in four areas:

  1. The examination and theorization of representations and performances of Chicanx-Latinx identities in everyday life and popular culture.
  2. Mapping and theorizing points of affiliation and possibility between Chicanxs and other groups that fall under the term Latinx, within a context that both constrains and offers possible spaces for connection and cultural expression.
  3. More recently my work has taken another turn as I have started to theorize the experiences of women of color in the academy. In doing this research I draw upon my lived experiences as a Chicana academic. In addition to Chicana and Black feminist theories, I am interested in how scholarship on monstrosity and race might further push us to question the assumptions made about women of color in the academy.
  4. What is the relationship between monstrosity, race, and performance? What do both figurative and literal images or representations of monstrosity tell us about understanding of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, class, and ability in the United States?

Paradigms and Methods:

My scholarship is driven by a fusion of methodological choices all informed by specific theoretical commitments. In my research, theory and method are intrinsically related, as critical theories inform my methodological choices. I choose methodological perspectives that are relevant to a given study; those methodological approaches are also grounded in the politics of empowering historically marginalized communities. In my research I draw upon three methodologies: Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, Critical or Performance Ethnography, and Personal Narrative or Performative Writing. My multi-methodological approach to scholarship has been shaped by and has shaped three primary methodological and theoretical approaches. First, critical rhetoric scholarship informs my investigation of the way power works, shapes our realities, and informs how we think about identities and communities. In particular, through critical rhetoric, I have sought to understand relations of power within historically marginalized communities and the texts members of those communities produce on their own terms and in their historical context. Along with Dr. Michelle Holling I have begun to theorize the properties of Latina/o Vernacular Discourse. The second approach that has been foundational to my scholarship is critical and performance ethnography. Through this approach, I examine texts and performances produced by historically marginalized communities. Thus, I have sometimes thought about less public and more everyday rhetorical forms, such as performance, ritual, and personal narrative. Through critical and performance ethnography, in my scholarship I therefore emphasize the importance of dialogue and the activist responsibilities of the researcher. The final approach I take in my scholarship privileges intersectionality, a perspective associated with the writings of feminist scholars of color. This approach allows me to use a critical, reflexive approach to identity and subjectivity, while simultaneously focusing on particular social and group identity experiences.

Recent Presentations:

In addition to regularly presenting my work at the National Communication Association Convention and Western States Communication Association conference, here are some other recent research presentations:

  • Colloquium Speaker, “Monstrosity, Horror, and Cultural Anxieties in the Age of Trump.” Fine Arts and Communication Studies, University of South Carolina, Upstate. Spartanburg, SC, Spring 2020.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Using Anzaldúan Approaches to Performative Writing to Disrupt Racial Intolerance.” Inaugural Speaker for the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Colloquia, Grand Rapids Community College. Grand Rapids, MI, October 9, 2019.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Monstrous Erasure: Quare Femme (In)visibility in Get Out.” Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Wooster College, April 2018.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Monstrous Erasure: Quare Femme (In)visibility in Get Out.” Women’s Studies and LGBTQ Affairs, University of Florida, March 2018
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Monstrous Erasure: Quare Femme (In)visibility in Get Out.” Bruce Gronbeck Memorial Lecture, Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa, February 2018
  • Colloquium Speaker,“Monstrous Possibilities: Feminist Potentialities of Contemporary Horror.” School of Communication Studies, James Madison University, October 2016.
  • Presenter, “The Burden of Liveness and Disciplinary Constraints of Expected Performances.” Critical Performance Dialogues, DePaul University, July 2016.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Latinx Performative Possibilities: Decolonial Monsters in the Gloria Anzaldúa Archives.” Department of Communication Studies, University of South Florida, April 2016.
  • Presenter, second author with Shadee Abdi, “Monstrous Feminist?: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” Race and Media Conference, Albuquerque, NM, September 2015.
  • Presenter, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” 2015 Women’s History Gala, Community College of Aurora, March 2015.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “The Politics of Otherness in the Academy.” Department of Communication and Journalism, University of New Mexico, January 2014.
  • Presenter, “Neoliberalism, Heteronormative Challenges, and Queerness in the Academy: Disciplining Queer Women of Color Who Choose to Be Childless.” Global Queerness: Sexuality, Citizenship, and Human Rights in the 21st Century. Wooster College, Ohio, October 2012.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Latina/o Vernacular Discourse: Theorizing Connections Across Rhetoric, Performance, and Cultural Studies.” Department of Communication Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, October 28, 2011.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “The Shifting Contours of Latina/o Performativities Pre- and Post-9/11.” Department of Communication, University of Texas, El Paso, TX, April 22, 2010.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “The Shifting Contours of Latina/o Performativities Pre- and Post-9/11.” Humanities Institute Series. University of Denver, March 11, 2010.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “The Shifting Contours of Latina/o Performativities Pre- and Post-9/11.” Department of Speech Communication, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, February 26th, 2010.
  • Colloquium Speaker, “Buscando Para Nuestros Hijos: Utilizing La Llorona for the Cultural Critique of Latino U.S. Citizenship.” School of Communication, Women’s Studies, and Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University, March 31, 2008.
  • Keynote Speaker, “Identifying and Overcoming Challenges Facing Women of Color in Academia.” 2nd Annual Women’s Circle Luncheon, University of Denver, November 3, 2006.
  •  Respondent, “Identity, Knowledge, and Social Justice” The Future of Minority Studies Research Project and Women’s Studies, Syracuse University, 2006.
  • Invited Roundtable Participant, “Ethnic Imagery in American Advertising.” Advertising Educational Foundation/Advertising and Society Review, New York City, NY, March 2005.
  • Program Planner with Kenneth Johnson and Kyung-Ha Lee. “Teaching Diversity in the Classroom: Models for Engaging Students Through Case Studies.” Minnowbrook Conference, Syracuse University, May 2004.
  • Colloquium Speaker, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric. Syracuse University, October 2004.