María is a PhD Candidate in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies at the University of Chicago. She holds a Licenciatura (5-year bachelor’s degree) in Film and Media Studies from the Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), where she obtained the “Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera,” and an M.A. in Bilingual Teaching from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain). She spent the academic year of 2008-2009 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she did coursework in the Department of Art and Art History. She also spent the summer of 2015 at El Colegio de México, pursuing a diploma in contemporary debates in gender studies (90 hours of coursework). Her research and teaching interests include 20th- and 21st-century Latin American Literature, Cuban Literature and Culture, Luso-Brazilian Studies, Urban Studies, Visual Culture, and Gender Studies.
Her dissertation, entitled “Post-Soviet Imaginings of Havana: Representations of the Cuban Capital after 1990,” explores the multifaceted ways in which the city of Havana has been imagined through literature, film, photography, visual arts, architecture and urban thinking, particularly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She engages questions surrounding nostalgia, utopia, urban ruins, archives and memory, and political desires that often structure architectural imaginings of the Cuban capital, as she reads documentary films such as Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club (1999) and Florian Borchmeyer’s Habana, arte nuevo de hacer ruinas (2006), novels such as Leonardo Padura’s La neblina del ayer (2005), or scale models and urban plans by Miami-based architect Nicolás Quintana.
María also served as a program assistant for the Study Abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the winter quarters of 2014 and 2015. She has also co-coordinated the Workshop on Latin America and the Caribbean (2014-2015), and co-organized two graduate student conferences (in 2012 and 2014). For the 2016-2017 academic year, María has received a Mellon Humanities Dissertation Completion Fellowship.