Wanda Alarcón

Assistant Professor

I am an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in Chicana literature, music, and decolonial feminist thought.  I received my Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from UC Berkeley and was a Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin.  My research investigates ways of listening to a field of multiple resistant sounds that signal the enduring presence of Mexican and Latinx communities in the U.S. that shape the contested soundscape of América.  In particular, I focus on Chicana soundscapes and decolonial feminist listening practices. 

My current book project titled “Chicana Sonics and the Decolonial Politics of Listening” examines the writings of four contemporary Chicana authors whose collective works amplify how we hear gender and jotería through the concept of the soundscape.  I am interested in the way such diverse forms of writing as poetry, stories, memoir, song, and drama remember and highlight East Los Angeles and the 1980s as important sites for seeing and hearing new Chicana representations and sonic worlds. 

In many ways, the work I do now retains the spirit of the Chicana lesbian poetry zine JOTA I created in 2002.  This early project was sparked by my desire to see and read more Chicana stories, collaborate with friends, and cultivate a lively literary community in my hometown of Los Angeles. I bring this experience into my teaching and often ask students to make their own creativity and collaboration part of their learning. As a first generation Chicana scholar, I am committed to mentoring first generation working class students of color to demystify academic writing and cultivate their own voices.

Note for Prospective Students

Dr. Alarcón encourages students with interest in the following areas to apply to the GWS Ph.D. program and to contact her with questions: Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x literary and cultural studies, Chicana and Latina feminisms, decolonial feminisms, ethnic studies, jotería studies, sound studies and popular music.

Selected Publications

Alarcón, Wanda. “Reading and Remembering Butch-Femme Worlds.”  Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 2020, Vol. 14, Issue 2.

Alarcón, Wanda.  “Butchlalis de Panochtitlan.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. Oxford University Press. Article published February 2020. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.345.

Alarcón, Wanda. “‘Oh how so East L.A.’: The Sound of 80s Flashbacks in Chicana Literature.”  SoundingOut!: The Sound Studies Blog. 10 September 2017.  Web. https://soundstudiesblog.com/2017/09/10/oh-how-so-east-l-a-the-sound-of-...

Alarcón, W., Cruz, C., Guardia Jackson, L., Prieto, L., Rodriguez-Arroyo, S.  “Compartiendo Nuestras Historias:  Five Testimonios of Schooling and Survival.” Critical Readings On Latinos and Education:  Tools, Themes, and Solutions. Ed. Enrique G. Murillo Jr.  Routledge, 2019.