Melissa González


Ph.D., M.A., B.A. Columbia University


My teaching interests include pre-1950 and contemporary U.S. Latina/o literature and culture, Latin American and Spanish film, performance art, transnational LGBTQ culture, non-normative genders, the history of representations of hetero- and homosexuality, literary theory, and cultural criticism. Hispanic Studies is my home department, and I am also Core Faculty in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Latin American Studies.
At Davidson, I have taught courses such as U.S. Latino Culture (SPA 344), Introduction to Latin American Studies (LAS 101), and the senior seminar Latino American Sexualities (SPA 403). My teaching has deeply informed my thinking about academic theories of power and subject formation, and my research into the workings of race, gender, and ethnicity has informed my pedagogy.
My current research focuses on the sexual politics of globalization in the contemporary American hemisphere and studies how the new acceptability of some transgressive sexualities creates alternative frontiers of exclusion. For example, the inclusion of predominantly white or criollo, upper-middle class, and fashionable gay men within the imagined communities of the large metropolises of South and North America is represented as an advancement of human rights but excludes and silences those queer subjects less assimilated into a bourgeois lifestyle, including some trans and gender non-normative people, ethnic minorities, immigrants, and the poor. At present, I am working on an article on what I call "queer ambivalence" about gay marriage in Argentina, where it has been legal at the national level since 2010.
I have presented papers at academic conferences on topics such as negotiating indigenous and lesbian identities in work of Mujeres Creando, the transnational queer sensibility of Pedro Lemebel, the representation of straightness in Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, trauma in the work of Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and the "novela de la selva" genre and Alejo Carpentier's Los pasos perdidos. My publications include: "Orthodox Transgressions: The Ideology of Cross-Species, Cross-Class, and Inter-Racial Queerness in Lucía Puenzo's novel El niño pez (The Fish Child)" (co-authored with Ángeles Donoso-Macaya and forthcoming in American Quarterly) and "The 'Fatal Allurement' of Local Color: María Cristina Mena's Mexico in American Magazine and The Century Magazine" in Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage.


SPA 270 Textual Analysis
SPA 344 Latino Culture in the U.S.
GSS 201 Feminist and Queer Theories