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Laura G. Gutiérrez

CWGS Core Teaching FacultyPh.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Associate Professor
Laura G. Gutiérrez



Laura G. Gutiérrez is Associate Professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. Her primary research and teaching areas of interest are: Latin American, Mexican and Latina/o embodied practices, gender and sexuality, and questions of nation, modernity and the transnational. Gutiérrez is the author of Performing Mexicanidad: Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage (U Texas P, 2010), which won The Ninth Annual MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies.

Gutiérrez has published essays and book chapters in the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Culture StudiesTransformationsSpectatorStudies in Latin American Popular CultureLatin American Literary ReviewFeminist Media StudiesGlobal Mexican Cultural ProductionsVelvet Barrios: Popular Culture & Chicana/o Sexualities.

Currently, in addition to completing several essays on Latina/o performance and cabaret performance in the Americas, Gutiérrez’s research and writing includes two book-length projects. The first is a book on the primary figures of rumbera cinema, tentatively entitled Rumberas in Motion (Pictures): Transnational Movements in the Archive of Mexican 'Classic' Cinema. The book examines dance and other corporeal movements to think through the ways in which embodied performances in popular cultural forms (B movies to be precise) are producing ideas about gender, sexuality, and blackness. The second book in progress is a history of political cabaret culture in Mexico City. It specifically focuses on the ways in which political cabaret as a live artistic expression has existed and continues to exist alongside (and in some cases despite) the different moments of Mexican political history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Gutiérrez received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has had teaching appointments at the University of Iowa and the University of Arizona. Gutiérrez’s research and writing has been supported by a César Chávez Postdoctoral Fellowship from the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona and a Rockefeller Residency Fellowship in the Humanities, “Sex, Race & Globalization Project” at the University of Arizona. Gutiérrez is on the Board of Advisors of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas and on the Editorial Boards of Feminist Formations and Estudios de Género (El Colegio de México). She holds affiliate appointments in the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. She is also a faculty associate of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and has served on its Executive Committee (2015-2017).


WGS 301 • Latina Perf: Celia-Selena

46150 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 212
CD VP (also listed as MAS 315)

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WGS 301 • Latina Perf:celia-Selena-Wb

46000 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM
Internet; Synchronous
CD VP (also listed as MAS 315)

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WGS 340 • Trnsnatl Latnx Pop Cultr-Wb

46085 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM
Internet; Synchronous

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MAS 392 • Perf, Fems & Body In Ams

40120 • Spring 2020
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM CMA 3.108

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WGS 301 • Latina Perfor: Celia-Selena

44969 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116
CD (also listed as MAS 319)

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WGS 340 • Transnatl Latinx Pop Culture

46069 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 114
CD (also listed as AFR 372E, LAS 328, MAS 374)


This course uses a set of interdisciplinary methods (mainly from ethnic studies, Latina/o studies, cultural studies, and performance studies) to help us understand the kind of 'work' culture is doing in a larger framework, historical, economical, and societal. The class uses these theoretical and methodological lenses to examine Transnational Latina/o popular culture from the 20th and early 21st centuries in order to consider the ways in which popular culture has been an important aspect of nation-building strategies on different scales, from nation-states to Latina/o communities in the US. We pay particular attention to expressive culture from the beginning of the 20th century, focusing on social dance forms like samba, tango, and danzón. Additionally, sports spectacles are analyzed to understand the performance of masculinity, the interconnected between politics and ‘entertainment’ (soccer) and the theatricality of the spectacle (lucha libre—Mexican masked wrestling). The course material moves through the 20th century and into the 21st century and across geo-political divides to put forward the idea that Latina/o popular culture is transnational (at the same time as translocal); cultural works that will be examined in order to grasp a full understanding of his notion run the gamut from the formation of salsa to the reggeatón phenomenon and telenovela (Latin American soap operas) industry to music television. In a more general way, the ultimate goal of the class is to get the student to think about the ways in which popular cultural forms are part of a 20th and 21st century sensibility that is both part of “the practice of everyday life” and nation-building projects. But the student will be asked to think about how different publics consume popular culture (at times transforming it and/or changing its meaning) and, likewise, it is important to consider what happens when popular culture—thanks to the (transnational) cultural industries—travel across geo-political and linguistic borders. The operating question throughout the semester is then, is what is transnational about Latina/o popular culture and why does it matter?

TEXTS (selections):

*Imagination Beyond Nation: Latin American Popular Culture, edited by Eva P. Bueno and Terry Caesar

*Musical ImagiNation: U.S.-Colombian Identity and the Latin Music Boom by María Elena Cepeda

*Latino/a Popular Culture, edited by Michelle Habell-Pallán and Mary Romero

*Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America, edited by William Rowe and Vivian Schelling

*Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico since 1940, edited by Gilbert Joseph, Anne Rubenstein, and Eric Zolov

*From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture, edited by Myra Mendible

*Oye Como Va! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music by Deborah Pacini Hernández

*Musica Norteña: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation between Nations by Cathy Ragland


Attendance and Participation: 15%

One in-class short presentation: 10%

Three short essays during the semester: 30%

Final research paper: 45%


WGS 393 • Perf, Fems & Body In Ams

46229 • Fall 2018
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GWB 1.138
(also listed as LAS 381, MAS 392)

This seminar places at the core of its concerns the critical categories, methods, and philosophical modes of inquiry coming from feminist theory and performance theory as it intersects with cultural and artistic discourses on the racialized and sexualized body in the context of the Americas. All the while, we will also take into consideration historical junctures that have produced bodies that are deemed either excessively desired or disposable. Put differently, this seminar asks students to think critically about the multiple ways in which the racialized and sexualized body exists in the context of US Latina/o and Latin American societies and cultures. How can we think about the ways in which the Latina and Latin American body is often exoticized, at times pointing to one particular body part/section? How can we think about adornment and dress as part of the meaning-making for those bodies in society and culture? Why are gendered and racialized bodies so maligned and brutalized at the same time that they are upheld in society as protectors and/or saintly? How do dissenting artists and cultural makers respond to these imaginings? These are some of the questions the seminar will grapple with.


And, as one of the primary goals of the course is for the students to develop their own toolbox to analyze gendered and racialized embodied practices, the class will work on the bridging of different disciplinary methods and theories to achieve this. In addition to theoretical texts, the class material is multidisciplinary and is culled from the Latin American and the US Latina/o context in order to interrogate regional and national specificities regarding the production of the sexualized and racialized body in the Americas.

MAS F326 • Nafta/Neolib/Narco Culture-Mex

81990 • Summer 2017
CD (also listed as MAS F392)

Examines the historic rise of neoliberal reform and narco culture as a tie to the North American Free Trade Agreement brokered between the United States, Canada, and Mexico in 1994. Mexican American Studies 326 and MAS 374 (Topic: NAFTA/Neoliberalism/Narco Cul) may not both be counted.

Hour(s) to be arranged. Restricted to students participating in the summer program in Mexico City, Mexico; contact the department for permission to register for this class.

Class meets May 26-July 6. Faculty-led Abroad Program taught in Mexico City, Mexico. Students must consult with Study Abroad Program Coordinator as travel and orientation dates may be in addition to these dates.

MAS F374 • Nafta/Neolib/Narco Culture-Mex

82320 • Summer 2016

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MAS 177 • Mellon Mays Program Seminar

35340 • Spring 2016
Meets W 2:00PM-3:00PM GWB 1.138

The MMUF Student Research Success for Academic Careers summer workshop will focus MMUF researchers on their summer projects. The course will feature units on methodology, understanding and constructing bibliographies, annotation, literature reviews, and writing skills, including emphasis on sharing writing with cohort peers.

LAS 328 • Transntnl Mex & Embodied Prac

40587 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WIN B.202
(also listed as T D 357T)

Latin American Studies 328 and LAS 370S may not both be counted unless the topics vary

LAS 322 • Latino/A Popular Culture

40822 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WIN 2.112
(also listed as MAS 374)

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