Latina/o Studies Faculty

Latina/o studies faculty and honors students

Latina/o Studies faculty serves as mentor for a student's honors thesis on
"Latino Nativity Status and Cancer Screening Behaviors within the U.S."


Rene Rocha, PhD
 Director, Latina/o Studies
345 SH;; 319-335-2528

Rene Rocha is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa and a leading scholar of immigration politics and policy. He has published in The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, American Politics Research, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, and Review of Policy Research. His research on immigration and welfare policy received the 2014 Phi Sigma Alpha award from the Western Political Science Association. His research on racial and ethnic inequality across the US, published in 2011, received the Lucius Barker Award from the Midwest Political Science Association.


Barbara Baquero, MPH, PhD (Community and Behavioral Health)
Barbara Baquero is an Assistant Professor at the College of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health and Deputy Director of the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center. Dr. Baquero's research focuses on reducing health inequalities on obesity and chronic diseases through the understanding of the social, cultural and structural correlates of health and the implications for intervention development, implementation and dissemination of interventions for Latinos and underserved communities, all through academic-community partnerships. 

Carolyn Colvin, PhD (Teaching and Learning)

Jorge Guerra, MFA (Latina/o Studies; Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Jorge Guerra received his B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing at California State University/ Long Beach. He is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was a Dean's Graduate Research Fellow.  His research includes the Guatemalan Coup D'état of 1954, US-Cold War involvement in Guatemala/Latin America, the disappearances of Guatemalans during the Guatemalan Civil War, and Central American immigration in the United States. He finished his short story collection and is currently working on a novel on the outset of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Claire F. Fox, PhD (English; Spanish and Portuguese)
Claire Fox is a co-founder of the Latina/o Studies minor, which developed from a series of Latino Midwest events that were held at the University of Iowa in 2012-13 and sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. She teaches courses on Latina/o literature and visual culture in the Departments of English and Spanish & Portuguese.  With Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Santiago Vaquera Vásquez, she is co-editor of The Latino Midwest Reader. Her current research addresses Latina/o American place-making, visual culture, and cultural policy.

Adriana Mendez, PhD (Spanish and Portuguese)

Ana Merino, PhD (Spanish and Portuguese)
Ana Merino is a writer and a cultural studies scholar. She directs the University of Iowa MFA in Spanish Creative Writing. One of her areas of studies focuses on the revolutionary importance of Latino comic artists on American culture.  She has published widely on the topic and her most recent articles include:  “The Impact of Latino Identities and the Humanizing of Multiculturalism in Love and Rockets,” in Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels (2015); and “Love and Rockets o la cumbre de la ficción seriada,” in Supercómic: Mutaciones de la novela gráfica contemporánea (2013).

Kristy Nabhan-Warren, PhD (Religious Studies)
Kristy Nabhan-Warren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Gender Women's Studies and Sexuality (GWSS). Her research and writing is within the area of American religions, U.S. Catholicism, and U.S. Latino religions. She is the author of The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism and The Cursillo Movement in America: Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality. She is currently working on two book projects. The first, Cornbelt Catholicism: Latinos, Anglos and Religion in the Heartland, is a deep ethnography of migration and the politics and process of parish inclusivity in Iowa parishes. The second,  Latin@s, Religion, and the Reconquista of America, is a synthesis of Latin@ religiosities and spiritualities post-1848. Professor Nabhan-Warren is also the Series Editor for the new series Ethnographies of Religion with The University of North Carolina Press. She will also be Editor of the University of Oxford Press Latino Christianities.

Kathleen Newman, PhD (Cinematic Arts/ Spanish and Portuguese)

Julia Oliver Rajan, PhD (Spanish and Portuguese)
Julia Oliver Rajan teaches Spanish for heritage speakers and a number of linguistic courses in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. She is from Puerto Rico and is currently working on a digital archive about the coffee zone’s dialect which is found on her native island. Other areas of interest include the incorporation of community engagement in the curriculum of Spanish heritage speakers’ courses and invisible learning. 

Tlaloc Rivas, MFA (Theatre Arts)

Ariana Ruiz, PhD (Spanish and Portuguese)
Ariana Ruiz is an Assistant Professor of Latino/a Literature and Culture in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her research interests include Latina/o cultural studies, travel literature,  critical race theory, cultural geography, and youth culture studies. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled, In Transit: Travel and Mobility in Latina Art and Literature, that examines Latinas' engagement with the promise of American travel and mobility in novels, art, and film.

Christine Shea, PhD (Spanish and Portuguese)
Christine Shea studies bilingual and second language acquisition, focusing on Spanish and English. She is interested in how individuals who speak both languages perceive and produce each one and how language use, experience and individual identity affect these processes. She is interested in early bilinguals, adult second language learners and also Spanish-English heritage speaker linguistic development. She teaches classes related to first and second language acquisition, Spanish phonetics/phonology as well as Spanish dialect differences.

Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, PhD (Communication Studies)
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano is a critical rhetorical historian who combines attentiveness to situated public discourses with a set of historical and contemporary concerns revolving around coloniality and decoloniality, within Latinx contexts and communities in the United States. Broadly, he is interested in the ways in which rhetorics and logics of coloniality emerge and are remade in the U.S. (e.g., through political debates and legal argumentation); on the flip side, he is also interested with the ways in which coloniality is challenged and dismantled through activist and scholarly practices of decoloniality. These broad interests in coloniality/decoloniality introduce concerns about the intersectionality of oppression along raced, gendered, classed, and other axes. He recently published a book called The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation (Temple University Press, 2015), which treats the radical Young Lords Organization as a touchstone of decolonial rhetoric and politics. He teaches “Introduction to Latinx Communication and Culture” and other classes on race/ethnicity and racism. 

Emily Wentzell, PhD (Anthropology)
Emily Wentzell is an anthropologist who combines approaches from medical anthropology, gender studies and science and technology studies to explore the gendered social consequences of aging, illness, sexual health problems and related medical treatments. Broadly, she is interested in the relationships between gender (especially masculinities), new medical technologies/areas of medicalization, and people’s sex lives and senses of self.  Her research focuses on Mexico, where gender norms and links between ethnicity, biology and sexuality are widely discussed and hotly contested, as well as sexuality and medicine in Latin@ and Anglo populations in the US.