- Summer Institute for World Literature, Harvard University (2016)
- M.A. Comparative Literature, UCLA (2013)
- B.A. Spanish Literature, UC Berkeley (2009)
- B.A. Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley (2009)
In my dissertation, “The Circulation of Sounds and Music in Twentieth-Century Central American Literature,” I offer a comparative literary and musicological intervention on Central American literature to problematize Cold War geo-political and nationalist understandings of this region.
In the 20th century, literary critics of Central American literature have celebrated the role of music and sound found in novels, essays, and poetry as part of a national project. With Nicaraguan and Guatemalan writers such as Rubén Darío, Miguel Ángel Asturias, and Sergio Ramírez, critics have problematically interpreted their use of music either through Western systems of music or through the anthropological lens as indigenous folklore or oral cultures. Consequently, music or sound was interpreted as a non-signifying world, which served to celebrate national unity, cultural heritage, and folklore projects. At the same time, this reception perpetuated an uncritical view of the meaning of music and sound and its impact on the nation, cultural production, and geo-political channels between Central America, the U.S., and Western Europe. Music and sound was idealized and separated from its material contingencies.
In my dissertation, I deconstruct the critics’ readings of these works by analyzing their reception in literary and cultural circles in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Moreover, I reassess the literary works of Darío, Asturias, and Ramírez for a nuanced reading of music and sound that breaks through this national framework. I examine how music and sound shape these writer, but just as significantly, I examine how they impact composers, musicians, and singers in Central America. This focus will help me to critically examine how Cold War critics have shaped nationalist and folklorist ideologies. Moreover, I offer a comparative musicological and literary intervention, in which I assess the agency of the listener, intellectual and musical authorship, and the cultural formation of musical genres as intersecting with literary movements during this time.
My work draws on and contributes to theoretical developments in sound studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, and media studies. I draw from Jonathan Sterne’s work, which offers conceptual frameworks between cultural studies and the history of communication technology in examining cultural and political histories of sound. I also draw from Ana María Ochoa Gautier and Edwin C. Hill, who focus on “listening to” the discourses of race and gender that arise from performances, organology, folk music, film, and poetry in the Black Atlantic and Colombia. Consequently, I conduct a new reading practice centered in sound and in listening.
Field of Interest20th Century Latin American Literature and popular music; Central American cultural studies; music and literature; sound and media studies, affect, 19th century opera, translation studies
LanguagesSpanish (near-native fluency), German (advanced), French (intermediate)
I am a UCLA teaching fellow for undergraduate lower-division courses on literary and cultural analysis, writing & composition, visual and performance arts analysis and practice, and Spanish language acquisition. I include a pedagogical emphasis in diversity, equity, and inclusion into my teaching curriculum. My goal is to foster a safe environment for students to exercise intellectual integrity, to be in contact with culturally enriching content, and to respectfully engage with students’ diverse voices, while also developing their own critical voice.
- Winter 2017: UCLA Collegium for University Teaching Fellow – Comparative Literature 98T World Literature and Composition “Reading Sound and Sense through World Literature and Music.” Course website: readingsound.wordpress.com
- January 2016 – June 2017: Teaching Fellow, UCLA Department of Spanish & Portuguese – Spanish 1, 2, 3 beginning-intermediate language acquisition courses
- Winter 2015: Teaching Associate, UCLA Department of Musicology – Comparative Lit/Musicology 100 “Opera and Literary Studies”
- Summer 2014 & 2015: Teaching Associate, UCLA Academic Advancement Program Freshman Summer Program – Comparative Literature 4D “Postcolonialism & World Literature and Composition.”
- September 2012 – June 2013: Teaching Assistant, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature – “World Literature and Composition”
Fellowships, Conferences, Academic Administration & Advocacy
Fellowships & Awards:
- Fall 2016: UCLA Collegium for University Teaching Fellows 2016-2017, UCLA Office of Instructional Development
- August 2016: Summer Grant for Archival Research in Nicaragua, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
- December 2015: Divisional Award for Harvard’s Institute for World Literature in 2016, UCLA Division of Humanities and Department of Comparative Literature
- 2011-12 & 2014-15: Eugene V. Cota-Robles First and Fourth-Year Fellowship, University of California Office of the President, UCLA Graduate Division, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
- Summer 2014: Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award: Musico-Literary Studies in 20th Century Germany and Latin America, UCLA Graduate Division
- 2013-14: Graduate Research Mentorship Award, German Language Studies and Comparative Studies in Musicology and Latin American Fiction, UCLA Graduate Division
- Summer 2013: Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award “Fictionalizing and Musicalizing Central American War, Migration, and the U.S. Diaspora”. UCLA Graduate Division.
- Summer 2012: Grant for German Language Studies, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
Conferences & Professional Affiliation:
I participate in local, national, and international conferences to advance the fields of comparative literature, musicology, ethnomusicology, and Latin American cultural studies. I am currently co-organizing an accepted seminar for the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference in July 2017. The panel, “Sounding the Hemisphere: Configurations of Music, Literature, and Power Relations in the Americas” offers innovative methods to study Latin American cultures in literary, musical, sound, and media contexts. This panel inspired thirteen international scholars to participate, hailing from Nicaragua, Brazil, California, Minnesota, Connecticut, Alabama, and Florida.
I am also devoted to my community of Central American heritage by engaging in local cultural events. In January 2016, I spoke as a panelist at the “Sixth Annual Tribute to Rubén Darío,” hosted by a San Francisco-based Nicaraguan cultural organization. Over 100 Central Americans and Mexican-Americans attended, many of whom appreciated my work. I will speak at the January 2017 annual event as well.
- July 2017: “Sounding the Hemisphere: Configurations of Music, Literature, and Power Relations in the Americas” Seminar Panel. American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
- May 2016: “The Migrating Soundscape in Rubén Darío’s Poetics” – “Migrations” Third Annual Conference, UC Santa Barbara Graduate Center for Literary Studies.
- April 2016: “The Ephemerality Dilemma: The Soundscape in Rubén Darío’s Poetics” – “Ourobouros Effect” Graduate Student Conference, UC Berkeley Department of Comparative Literature
- Feb 2016: “Performing Mad Gender: Ballet, Ballroom Dancing, and Opera” – “Mad Love” UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
- May 2014: “Traditional Music and the Concert Hall” – Music from the Inca Trails and South America Symposium, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature and Department of Musicology
- May 2013: “Negotiating the Narrator within the Teacher: Dialoguing in Discussion.” Seventh Annual Comparative Pedagogies Symposium, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
- Oct. 2012: “Urban Consciousness under Folkloric Veneer in Guillén’s and Revueltas’ ‘Sensemayá’”. “Urban/Jungles” Graduate Student Conference, Stanford University Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
- April 2012: “Nightwood by Djuna Barnes: Exposing the Myth Behind Gender”. “Piecing Together Cultural Identity: Negotiation, Creation, and Myth” Graduate Student Conference, University of New Mexico Cultural Studies Department
Academic Administration & Advocacy:
From 2015-16, I worked on the Humanists@Work Graduate Student Advisory committee, a research initiative at the University of California Humanities Research Institute on professional development for humanities graduate students in the form of blogs and UC-wide graduate student workshops. Our research and advocacy work touched on areas such as academic employment and labor issues, student debt, relationships with academic mentors, and career options within and beyond academia. For the Spring 2016 Graduate Student Workshop in Los Angeles, I co-organized and spoke on “Candid Conversations,” a multi-media, experimental dialogue between Faculty and Graduate Students about career preparation and the future of graduate education. I also wrote a blog about the difficult financial barriers women face.
Since September 2015, I have worked at the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center where I provide individual counseling and scholarship application writing services to undergraduate students. I mentor students in the scholarship search and application process, as well as partake in the program development and administration of UCLA and off-campus scholarships.