Judith Sierra-Rivera

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Judith Sierra-Rivera

Judith Sierra-Rivera

Assistant Professor of Spanish & Latina/o Studies



  1. PhD, Hispanic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2012
  2. MA, Comparative Literature, University of Puerto Rico, 2005
  3. BA, Latin American Studies, University of Puerto Rico, 1996


Judith Sierra-Rivera specializes in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino history of ideas and intellectual history. Her research and teaching interests analyze these areas through the categories of social space, gender, sexuality, and affects.

Sierra-Rivera is currently working on a book titled Affective Intellectuals: Spaces of Catastrophe and Emotive Discourses in the Americas. This book studies what she calls the “affective locus of enunciation” in intellectual discourses. Considering crónicas, essays, autobiographies, radio performances, and blogs from Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the United States, this book defines a different kind of public intellectual by analyzing five different authors (Carlos Monsiváis, Pedro Lemebel, Josean Ramos, Sandra Álvarez Ramírez, and Francisco Goldman) who address material and symbolic catastrophes in the post-1985 neoliberal state mode of production. Her analysis illustrates how these authors engage with everyday life and popular memories through a diversity of media. In so doing, their productions speak to an affective “we,” that is, a community sharing thoughts and feelings.

 Her interest in intellectual dialogues and political resistances in the Americas has led her to the development of two other book-length projects. The first one, tentatively entitled Militarism and Vulnerable Masculinities in the Caribbean and Its Diasporas, focuses on the militarization of the Caribbean through a reading of colonialism and dictatorships in Puerto Rican, Dominican, Haitian, and Cuban literary texts, films, songs, and other cultural productions. Specifically, this reading looks into how the articulation of resistance to militarism is performed through a “vulnerable masculinity,” that is, a gender performance that works also against patriarchy and capitalism by taking refuge in physical and mental disability and illness as well as in “ugly feelings,” such as shame and fear. The second one, tentatively entitled From Traitors to Terrorists: Anti-Imperialism in the American Frontiers, centers its attention on the peripheries of the U.S. Empire (the Caribbean, the Pacific archipelagos, Alaska, and the Mexican Border). The archive consists of geographies, subjects, discourses, and actions that have been considered as traitors, subversives, and terrorists at different periods of time between the 19th and 21st centuries. The main objective of this project is to propose a genealogy of borderland anti-imperialism.

 In collaboration with Sarah J. Townsend, she coordinates the Hemispheric Americas Lecture Series at Penn State, an annual event that brings to campus guest speakers and organizes a graduate conference. Some of Sierra-Rivera’s most recent graduate seminars are: Space and Body Politics in the Americas Intellectual Writings and War, Memory, and Displacement in the Americas. At the undergraduate level, she has offered Contemporary Youth Cultures in Latin America and Introduction to Latina/o Studies, among others.

For further information, please visit: https://pennstate.academia.edu/JudithSierraRivera

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