Emory University has made a huge interdisciplinary investment into its College of Arts and Sciences with the addition of three senior faculty members versed in Latinx studies. The cluster hire of Rocío Zambrana, Bernard L. Fraga, and Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, in large part, was a manifestation of interest and demand from the students and staff at the university (which in itself is an inspiring demonstration of how much power we wield with our voices.)
In addition to expanding the school’s course offerings, the three new professors will be poised to become mentors for the Latinx student body. “I’m always interested in developing our next generation of scholars and thinkers,” Guidotti-Hernández said in a press release. “I was a first-generation college student, and I believe it is important to pay it forward.” Guidotti-Hernández will be joining the English department next June and will develop a two-part survey on 20th and 21st century Latinx literature. As the founding chair of the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, she’ll be bringing to Emory her expertise in borderlands history and transnational feminism.
Fraga, a professor of political science, will be offering classes that are immediately pertinent to the 2020 elections. His recent book The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America explored the disparity that exists in voting among significant demographics. He has emphasized the importance of voter engagement in closing this gap and sought to diminish the impression that the Latinx community simply has no interest in participating in the electoral process. “We spend a lot of time disparaging individuals who don’t turn out to vote,” he pointed out at a book talk at Tufts University earlier this year. At Emory, he plans to work closely with the African-American studies department to further pursue his work in disparities in voter turnout.
Zambrana will be joining the philosophy department as an associate professor. Her classes will focus on decoloniality — especially in the context of Puerto Rico — as well as Latin American and Caribbean feminism. Beyond her curriculum, she is looking forward to working closely with students. “I very much welcome students who are eager for information that can be examined in different ways, because they can transform how we read any text,” she said in a statement. “It’s a very important and exciting time to question our assumptions and shake our ideas down to their core, because that discovery is by necessity how we move knowledge further.”