Elena Lahr-Vivaz

Elena Lahr-Vivaz


el431 [at] newark.rutgers.edu



Office Location

406 Conklin Hall

175 University Avenue

Newark, NJ 07102

Office Hours

Friday, 1-2 p.m.

Elena Lahr-Vivaz is Associate 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 Writing Islands: Space and Identity in the Transnational Cuban Archipelago (University of Florida Press, 2022) and  Mexican Melodrama: Film and Nation from the Golden Age to the New Wave (University of Arizona Press, 2016). Mexican Melodrama was written with the support of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and received Honorable Mention for the 2015 Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award; the title is available in Spanish as El melodrama mexicano: Cine y nación desde la Época de Oro hasta la Nueva Ola (Rialta Ediciones, 2019).  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 serves as faculty advisor for the Rutgers-Newark chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. Dr. Lahr-Vivaz serves as a Board Member for the Society of Senior Ford Fellows.​

Courses Taught

Critical Approaches to Films from Spain

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


Ph.D., Hispanic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

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



Writing Islands: Space and Identity in the Transnational Cuban Archipelago. University of Florida Press, 2022.

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

El melodrama mexicano. Cine y nación desde la Época de Oro hasta la Nueva Ola. Rialta Ediciones, 2019. (Spanish translation of Mexican Melodrama.)

Articles and Book Chapters

"After the Azotea." Latin American Literature Today, May 2021.

"Alfonso Cuarón y las fábulas de la identidad nacional: un análisis de 'Y tu mamá también.'" (Excerpt of El melodrama mexicano.) Rialta Magazine, May 28, 2019.

"Birds of a Feather: Reina María Rodríguez and the World Republic of Letters." La futuridad del naufragio: Orígenes, estelas y derives, edited by César Salgado and Ben Heller, Almenara Press, 2019, pp. 273-98.

"Remapping the Borderlands in Quién diablos es Juliette?" Border Cinema, edited by Rebecca Sheehan and Monica Hanna, Rutgers University Press, 2019, pp. 112-28.

“‘¿Qué cosa eres?’: Reading Refractive Melodrama in Humberto Solás’s Cecilia.” Chasqui, vol. 46, no. 1, 2017, pp. 153-66.

“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.


"Awakening" and "Four." Poems by Ramón Hondal. Translations by Elena Lahr-Vivaz. Bellingham Review, issue 83, 2021.