Profile: Elena Lahr-Vivaz

Assistant Professor

Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies



Elena Lahr-Vivaz is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, where she specializes in Latin American literature and film. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and taught at this institution, as well as Swarthmore College, before taking up her post at Rutgers. She is the author of Mexican Melodrama: Film and Nation from the Golden Age to the New Wave (University of Arizona Press, 2016), and is now working on a second book project, tentatively titled Writing Islands: Space and Identity in the Transnational Cuban Archipelago. Mexican Melodrama was written with the support of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2012) and received Honorable Mention for the 2015 Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award. Dr. Lahr-Vivaz researches, writes, and teaches on Latin American literature and film, border cinema, and representations of race in the Americas. She is affiliated with the Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies, and is a member of the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis Working Group on Archipelagoes. She serves as the representative for assistant professors and graduate students for the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica.


  • Courses Taught

    Contemporary Latin American Novel

    Hispanic Film and Literature

    Introduction to Latin American Literature

    Latin American Literature in Translation

    Mexican Literature and Film

    Race in Latin American Literature

    Race in Latin American Film and Fiction

  • Education

    Ph.D., Hispanic Studies, University of Pennyslvania

    B.A., Spanish, College of William and Mary

  • Publications


    Mexican Melodrama: Film and Nation from the Golden Age to the New Wave. University of Arizona Press, 2016.

    Journal Articles

    “‘¿Qué cosa eres?’: Reading Refractive Melodrama in Humberto Solás’s Cecilia.” Chasqui, May 2017. (Forthcoming.)

    “Performing the Nation: Adaptations of México and Madre Patria in La mala educación.” South Atlantic Review, vol. 80, no. 3-4, 2016, pp. 161-75.

    “Passing for Solitude: Incest and Ideology in Lone Star.” Journal of American Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-15.

    “Timeless Rhetoric, Special Circumstances: Sex and Symbol in La nada cotidiana.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 34, no. 2, 2010, pp. 303-21.

    “Unconsummated Fictions and Virile Voiceovers: Desire and the Nation in Y tu mamá también.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 40, no. 1, 2006, pp. 79-101.


  • 973-353-5435
    Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies
    Conklin Hall - Rm. 406
    175 University Avenue
    Newark, NJ 07102