American Studies
American Studies

Iván Chaar López

Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Assistant Professor
Iván Chaar López


  • Office: BUR 402
  • Office Hours: Fall 2021 Office Hours: Thursdays 3:00pm to 5:00pm or by appointment (


Digital Studies, Ethnic Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Science & Technology Studies; art & visual culture, borderlands, capital, history of technology (especially electronics and computing), imperial formations, Latina/o lifeworlds and knowledge production, media archaeology, racial formation.


Professor Chaar López' research and teaching examine the politics and aesthetics of digital technologies. He is especially interested in the place of Latina/o/xs as targets, users, and developers of digital lifeworlds. He is currently working on a book, under contract with Duke University Press, about the intersecting histories of electronic technology, unmanned aerial systems, and boundary making along the U.S.-Mexico border. 
At the University of Texas, Chaar López teaches courses on Digital Studies, Science & Technology Studies (STS), and Latina/o Studies.
Chaar López has written about the shift, since the mid-twentieth century, in border and immigration enforcement towards what he calls the cybernetic border. Among the first articulations of the cybernetic border was the "electronic fence" of the 1970s and it is the object of analysis in "Sensing Intruders: Race and the Automation of Border Control" published in American Quarterly. A forthcoming article, titled "Alien Data: Immigration and Regimes of Connectivity," tackles the emergence of an alien data body through a media archaeology of immigration documents like the Green Card. 
As a founding member of the Precarity Lab, Chaar López co-wrote the "Digital Precarity Manifesto" published in Social Text and Technoprecarious (Goldsmiths Press/MIT Press, Fall 2020). His work has also appeared in The Guardian and Bloomberg Businessweek. 
Chaar López has received a variety of awards and grants that include a Mellon Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship in Latina/o Studies and Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, the Digital Studies Fellowship from the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and the Humanities Collaboratory Grant for Precarity Lab, University of Michigan (Dr. Lisa Nakamura, Principal Investigator).
He pursued doctoral studies in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he worked with Drs. Lisa Nakamura and Alex Minna Stern. He holds a B.A. in History of the Americas from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.
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AMS 390 • Borderlands/Technology/Race

31520 • Spring 2022
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 436B
(also listed as HIS 392, MAS 392)

Graduate standing required. Permission from instructor required.

AMS 370 • Art/ Data In The Digital Age

31905 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 436A

Of central concern for this class are the ways contemporary cultures are shaped by and shaping digital technologies. Using scholarly and popular press materials as well as a range of artifacts (i.e., films, videos, social network sites, algorithms, wearables), the class interrogates the role of digital technologies in the social, political, and economic life of peoples in the U.S.

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies-Wb

31495 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM
Internet; Synchronous

This class introduces students to the field of American Studies. The guiding objective of the class is to use interdisciplinary lenses – such as music, dance, material culture, and urban studies – to develop a more complex understanding of American culture. In this class, we will investigate select aspects of American culture using various methodological approaches. The course outline follows a semi-linear pattern in history, but is hardly comprehensive. We will look broadly at the tensions between individual identity formation and the many social constructions that operate in American culture. The class is loosely tied around the connection, or disconnection, of individuals with mass culture (music, in particular, but also cars, corporations, television, and even fashion).

AMS 390 • Borderlnds/Technology/Race-Wb

31655 • Spring 2021
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM
Internet; Synchronous

This course examines what becomes legible when we explore the borderlands though the articulations of technology and race after 1945. Often times, historical actors have treated the borderlands as a site for the development of an experimental mode of governance that, with time, becomes dominant. Part of the course’s method is to explore borderlands through a comparative approach that tries to understand the proliferation of (racial) capitalist modes of production. Throughout the semester we will explore the role of the borderlands in, among other things, the development of nuclearity, special economic zones, electronics manufacturing, energy, urban spaces, waste, border enforcement, logistics, and the entrepreneurial self.

Curriculum Vitae

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