Mónica F. Torres
Associate Professor and Department Head
New Mexico State University
Department of English
P.O. Box 30001, MSC 3E
Las Cruces, NM 88003
- Ph.D. American Studies (emphasis in Cultural Studies), University of New Mexico, 2002
- M.A. English (emphasis in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing), New Mexico State University,1984
- B.A. English, New Mexico State University, 1982
I returned to graduate study in 1995 after a decade-long career as a community college administrator. I earned my Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, joined the English Department at New Mexico State University as an assistant professor in the fall of 2002, and was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2008. I served as Director of Graduate Studies for the department from 2005 to 2008 and am currently serving as Department Head.
Research and Teaching Interests
Questions of learning and knowing have interested me for a long time. As a cultural studies scholar, I think about the social and institutional structures in which learning is embedded. In what ways do cultural values and assumptions influence the production of knowledge? In what ways do institutional policies and procedures shape curricula or pedagogies? What are some of the relationships between the knowledge systems in which we are embedded and the daily, material lives we live? As a teacher, I want to create environments in which students can productively wrestle with the conditions of learning, can mediate between external information and networks and internal frameworks and processes. These are the questions that guide my work.
More specifically, I study the practices and processes by which knowledge of culture/cultural identity is shaped in/through/by institutional discourse. I am particularly interested in the cultural constructions of identity as represented in documentary films, museum exhibits, educational textbooks, scientific discourse, and other discursive formations that purport to say something meaningful about culture.
I am also interested in the ways in which identity functions in institutions of higher education, particularly in the Southwestern United States. Research suggests that there are social and cognitive advantages for students who live and work, play and study, in diverse environments. In what ways do institutions support students to benefit from the diversity on their campuses and in their communities?
Courses Commonly Taught
- English 301: Theory and Criticism: Rhetoric and Culture
- English 303: Theory and Criticism: Film, Media, and Culture
- English 555: Rhetoric of Science
- English 567/667: Documentary Film Theory and Criticism
- English 568/668: Rhetoric and Cultural Studies
- English 603: Rhetorical Criticism
Selected Publications/ Work in Progress
"Resisting the Violence of Values: Lourdes Portillo's Señorita Extraviada as Performative Utterance." Born of Resistance: Cara a Cara Encounter with Chicano/a Visual Culture. Eds. Victor Sorrell and Scott Baugh (forthcoming).
"Interactional Diversity in Border Colleges: Perceptions of Undergraduate Students." Co-authored with Eduardo Casilla Arellano and Kathryn Valentine. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 8.3 (2009): 282-297.
"A Double Deconstruction: Identity and Authority in Lourdes Portillo's The Devil Never Sleeps." Revista casa de las Américas 252 (2008): 56-70.
"Exercising/Exorcising Treachery: Robust Subjectivity in Lourdes Portillo's The Devil Never Sleeps." The Velvet Light Trap 57(Winter 2006): 76-85.
"'Doing Mestizaje': When Epistemology Becomes Ethics." Entremundos: Creative and Critical Perspectives on Gloria Andalzúa. Ed. Ana Louise Keating. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 195-203
"Mapping a Landscape: The 2004 Survey of MA Programs in Rhetoric and Composition. Co-authored with Stuart C. Brown, Theresa Enos, and Erik Juergensmeyer. Rhetoric Review 24.1 (2005): 5-12.