Program Director and Affiliated Faculty*

Co-Directors

Cathryn Merla-Watson, Ph.D.

Cathryn Merla-Watson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: TBA
Email: cathryn.merlawatson@utrgv.edu
Profile

Cathryn Merla-Watson's research and teaching interests include Latinx literary and cultural studies; Latinx speculative aesthetics; gender and critical sexuality studies; Latina feminisms; women and queer of color theories; and feminist geography. She has published in journals such as Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies and Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the U.S. (MELUS) and chapters in anthologies, including Research Justice, edited by Andrew Jolivette, and The Un/Making of Latino Citizenship: Culture, Politics, and Aesthetics. She recently co-edited with B.V. Olguín Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture, the first collected works to coalesce scholarship dedicated to codifying and theorizing Latin@ speculative aesthetics.

Friederike Brühöfener, Ph.D.

Friederike Brühöfener, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 346A
Email:  friederike.bruehoefener@utrgv.edu
Profile

Dr. Brühöfener is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at UTRGV. Her research focuses on post-1945 German new military, gender, and cultural history, as well as the history of sexuality and social movements. Most recently, she co-edited, with Drs. Karen Hagemann and Donna Harsch, the volume Gendering Post-1945 German History: Entanglements (Berghahn Books, 2019). At UTRGV, Dr. Brühöfener teaches classes in European and German women's, gender, cultural, social, and political history.

Affiliated Faculty - Creative Writing Program

Dr. Jose A. Rodriguez

Dr. Jose A. Rodriguez
Associate Professor

Office: ELABS 272
Email: jose.rodriguez@utrgv.edu 
Profile

José Antonio Rodríguez, assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program, is the author of the memoir House Built on Ashes and the poetry collections The Shallow End of Sleep and Backlit Hour. His work has appeared in various journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, POETRY, and The Texas Observer. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from Binghamton University and is a member of the national writing collectives CantoMundo and Macondo Writers’ Workshop.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Criminal Justice

Lucas Enrique Espinoza, Ph.D.

Lucas Enrique Espinoza, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABN 332
Email: lucas.espinoza01@utrgv.edu
Profile

Lucas Enrique Espinoza's areas of expertise are in Social Organization/Disorganization, Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies, Mexican American Studies/Chican@ Studies/Border Studies, & Social Science Research Methodology. His research posits Critical Race with culture and identity; Latin@ disparities, and social justice rights/issues. His activism in and outside of the classroom are framed in a Feminist/Social Justice/Critical Race methodology and centered in service learning issues around domestic/intimate partner violence.

Rosalva Resendiz, Ph.D.

Rosalva Resendiz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABN 311
Email: rosalva.resendiz@utrgv.edu
Profile

Rosalva Resendiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. Her work engages Critical Chicana Feminism with a focus on “intersectionality” and identity politics, considering colonialism, decolonialism and postcolonialism. Her activism and research intersects Border Studies/Chicana Feminism/Social Justice/Critical Criminology. She is researching and has published on Corridos and Soldaderas as well as indigenous resistance and injustice on the border.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of History

Mayra Avila, Ph.D.

Mayra Avila, Ph.D.
Lecturer

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 345
Email: mayra.avila@utrgv.edu
Profile

Dr. Mayra Avila research focuses on women and labor in Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. Dr. Avila utilizes oral histories in her work to provide a personal account of the female experience. Her manuscript El Luto de la Pena Negra: Women, Men and Labor During the Bracero Program, 1943-1964 is currently under review.

Megan Birk, Ph.D.

Megan Birk, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 347C
Email: megan.birk@utrgv.edu
Profile

Megan Birk's research and teaching interests focus on American history, especially rural and agricultural history, the Progressive Era, children's history, social welfare history. In 2015, she published her monograph Fostering on the Farm: Placing Out Dependent Children in the Rural Midwest, 1865-1920 with the University of Illinois Press. At UTRGV, she regularly teaches classes on "Family and Childhood in the US" as well as on American food history.

Brent Campney, Ph.D.

Brent Campney, Ph.D.
Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 347A
Email: brent.campney@utrgv.edu
Profile

Brent Campney is a historian whose scholarship focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. Midwest. His books, This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927 (2015) and Hostile Heartland: Racism, Repression, and Resistance (2019) investigate racial, class, gender, and sexual relations in the American Midwest between the 1830s and the 1940s. Hostile Heartland also develops a new methodology for investigating resistance among black families in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Linda English, Ph.D.

Linda English, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 347B
Email: linda.english@utrgv.edu
Profile

Linda English is an Associate Professor of U.S., American West, and Texas history. Her research and publications focus primarily on race, class, and gender during the late nineteenth century, specifically Texas and Indian Territory. In 2013, the University of Oklahoma Press published her book, By All Accounts: General Stores and Community Life in Texas and Indian Territory. Her current research examines the “Runaway Scrape” and other aspects of the Texas Revolution through the lens of gender.

John Goins, Ph.D.

John Goins, Ph.D.
Lecturer

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 347
Email: john.goins@utrgv.edu
Profile

John Goins' teaching and research interests include: Cold War popular culture, the history of social movement organizations, America in the 1960's and 1970's, minority studies, LGBT history and Queer Theory, as well as studies in gender and sexuality. He is currently working on turning his dissertation into a book manuscript, entitled “Confronting Itself: The AIDS Crisis and the LGBT Community in Houston.”

Amy Hay, Ph.D.

Amy Hay, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 343B
Email: amy.hay@utrgv.edu
Profile

Amy Hay's areas of research and teaching specialization include 20th-century American history, American women’s and gender history, and medical and environmental history. She has published on the Love Canal in the Journal of Women’s History and Environmental History. Her current book manuscript uses Agent Orange as a lens to investigate the use of herbicides as a means of international and domestic Cold War environmental containment. Dr. Hay also serves as the GWSP's social media expert.

Nilanjana Paul, Ph.D.

Nilanjana Paul, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Brownsville, MO M1.130A
Email: nilanjana.paul@utrgv.edu
Profile

Nilanjana Paul is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Her research focuses on colonialism, education, and gender in India. She is working on revising her manuscript, which studies the spread of education among Muslims and women in Colonial Bengal in the twentieth century. She has the experience of working with UN women and currently teaching the course Women in History, which examines women's position in the Global South.

Jamie Starling, Ph.D.

Jamie Starling, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: ELABS 356
Email: jamie.starling@utrgv.edu
Profile

Jamie Starling is a historian of the Spanish colonial period and the nineteenth-century U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He recently published two articles that center on women in the borderlands during the early years of Mexican Independence in The Latin Americanist and the Journal of the Southwest. He teaches courses on Borderlands, Mexican American, United States, and Texas history and is active in community history in the Rio Grande Valley.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies

Marisa Palacios Knox, Ph.D.

Marisa Palacios Knox, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 263
Email: marisa.knox@utrgv.edu
Profile

Marisa Palacios Knox's research focuses on nineteenth-century British literature, exploring interests in gender, the history of reading, and imperialism. Her monograph, Victorian Women and Wayward Reading: Crises of Identification, has just been published by Cambridge University Press. Her articles have also appeared inVictorian Poetry, Literature Compass, and Nineteenth-Century Literature.

Marci McMahon, Ph.D.

Marci McMahon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 237
Email: marci.mcmahon@utrgv.edu

Profile

Marci R. McMahon's research and teaching interests focus on U.S. Latinx literature, cultural studies, theater and performance, and gender and sexuality studies. Her publications appear in the journals Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies; Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS; Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies; and the Journal of Equity & Excellence in Education. Her current book project Listening to Latinidad: Sonic Cultural Citizenship in US Latinx Theater and Performance argues that contemporary Latinx theater amplifies race, gender, and sexuality as operating through affective performative dimensions, where citizenship is renegotiated and resisted through sonic performance.

Caroline Miles, Ph.D.

Caroline Miles, Ph.D.
Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 269
Email: caroline.miles@utrgv.edu
Profile

Caroline Miles is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies. Her work focuses on women's literature and gender studies as well as American and Southern literature, especially William Faulkner. In addition to conducting active research, Caroline Miles is a dedicated teacher. In 2012, she received the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award (UT System).

Diana Noreen Rivera , Ph.D.

Diana Noreen Rivera , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Brownsville, BSABH 2.114
Email: noreen.rivera@utrgv.edu
Profile

Diana Noreen Rivera is an Assistant Professor. She received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in English. Her research is in 19th and 20th century literatures and cultures of the U.S. Southwest, early Mexican-American literature and Chicana/o contemporary literature. Her work examines the intersections of race, gender, economics, transnationalism, and cartography. She has published essays and articles in Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, and Chicana/Latina Studies. Her current projects investigate the socio-poetics of place and community in natural disaster corridos and the Cold War-era writings of Américo Paredes.

Linda Belau

Linda Belau
Professor

Office: ELABS 203
Phone: (956) 665-3421
Email: linda.belau@utrgv.edu
Profile

Dr. Linda Belau is a Professor  in the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature (Program in Philosophy, Literature and Criticism), MA in Philosophy, and MA in English from Binghamton University. Dr. Belau is a recipient of both the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the University Excellence in Online Teaching Award. Dr. Belau recently published a book, Horror Television in the Age of Consumption: Binging on Fear, with Routledge (2018), as well as the following film-related articles: “Wounds of the Past: Andrei Tarkovsky and the Melancholic Imagination” in The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky (2019), and “Film as Autobiographical Act: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Oedipus” in Memory Reimagined in World Cinema (2018).

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Philosophy

Mariana Alessandri, Ph.D.

Mariana Alessandri, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 342
Email: mariana.alessandri@utrgv.edu
Profile

Mariana Alessandri is an assistant professor of philosophy, Mexican-American Studies faculty affiliate, and Gender and Women’s studies faculty affiliate. She teaches existentialism, religious studies, and is especially interested in the RGV born, Pan-American-University-graduated, queer, self-titled “Feministvisionaryspiritualactivist poet-philosopher fiction writer” Gloria Anzaldua, as well as other women-of-color feminists.

Cynthia Paccacerqua, Ph.D.

Cynthia Paccacerqua, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 357
Email: cynthia.paccacerqua@utrgv.edu
Profile

Cynthia Paccacerqua's areas of expertise include Kant’s Theoretical Philosophy, Feminist Epistemology, Chicana/Latina/Women of Color Feminist Philosophy, Latin American Philosophy, as well asModern and 20th C Continental Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, and Latino-a/Latin American Studies. Most recently, she co-authored (with Stephanie Alvarez) “De conciencia mestiza a conocimiento. La evolución teorética fronteriza chicana de Gloria Anzaldúa" in Noticias del diluvio: Textos latinoamericanos de las últimas décadas.

Cory Wimberly, Ph.D.

Cory Wimberly, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABS 363
Email: cory.wimberly@utrgv.edu
Profile

Cory Wimberly's work focuses on social and political philosophy, as well as media relations and propaganda. He recently published an article “The Job of Creating Desire: Propaganda as an Apparatus of Government and Subjectification" in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. At UTRGV, he teaches a variety of interesting topics including Feminist theories, Chicana Feminism, Continental Philosophy, and Critical Thinking.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Political Science

Carla Angulo-Pasel, Ph.D.

Carla Angulo-Pasel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABN 222
Email: carla.angulopasel@utrgv.edu
Phone: (956) 665-8097
Profile

Dr. Carla Angulo-Pasel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. She holds a Ph.D. in Global Governance from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. Her research critically examines the intersections of border security, human rights, and gender. Specifically, she focuses on how borders, in their many manifestations, impact the journeys of women who try to migrate to the United States through Mexico, and critically assesses how the national security discourse surrounding irregular migration is used to justify human rights abuses of migrant women.

Dr. William W. Sokoloff

Dr. William W. Sokoloff
Associate Professor

Office: ELABN 204A
Email: william.sokoloff@utrgv.edu 
Profile

William W. Sokoloff is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In his book Confrontational Citizenship: Reflections on Hatred, Rage, Revolution and Revolt (SUNY Press) he defends confrontational modes of citizenship (e.g., protest) because they increase the accountability of a regime to the people, increase the legitimacy of regimes, lead to improvements in a political order, and serve as a valuable means to vent frustration. His second book project is titled Political Science Pedagogy: A Critical, Radical, and Utopian Perspective and is currently under contract with Palgrave. This project brings together innovative work on radical pedagogy, critical race theory, and feminism and grinds this work up against some of the more traditional perspectives on political science pedagogy in order to open new vistas for thought and action.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Psychological Science

Ruby Charak, Ph.D.

Ruby Charak, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: ELABN 361
Email: ruby.charak@utrgv.edu
Profile

Dr. Ruby Charak (Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology, VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and Director of the Adversities in Childhood and Trauma Studies Lab (ACT Lab; http://www.utrgv.edu/actlab/) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg since 2016. Before this she served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a NICHD/NIH grant on sexual revictimization in young women. She has taught courses on clinical and developmental psychology in India and in the United States. Her research interests pertain to childhood adversities, including, child abuse and neglect, family violence, sexual victimization in young adults, and posttraumatic stress disorder, and often uses structural equation modeling as a statistical tool in her research work. She has worked on sample-populations from the US, the Netherlands, Denmark, Northern Ireland, India, and Burundi (Africa). She currently serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Traumatic Stress, Child Abuse and Neglect, Child Abuse Review, and European Journal of Psychotraumatology.

Qing Zeng, Ph.D.

Qing Zeng, Ph.D.
Lecturer

Office: Edinburg, SBSC 369
Email: qing.zeng@utrgv.edu

Qing Zeng’s teaching and research interests include Developmental Psychology: Infancy-to-Adolescence/Lifespan, Cultural Psychology and Psychology of Gender; cultural identity development in children of immigrant families, and socialization and gender role formation. She published and presented on topics of parenting and gender identity development, attitudes to reproductive rights & psychological effects of abortion, and ambivalent sexism and sexual harassment recognition.

Affiliated Faculty - Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Amie Bostic, Ph.D.

Amie Bostic, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Brownsville, Main 1.436
Email: amie.bostic@utrgv.edu
Profile

Amie Bostic is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. Her research has a cross-national focus on the role of the state, namely the welfare state, in perpetuating and alleviating inequalities including gender inequality. Specific points of interest include single mother poverty, the gender division of labor in the household, women's labor force participation, and public opinion. She teaches the Sociology of Gender.

Servando Z. Hinojosa, Ph.D.

Servando Z. Hinojosa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Office: Edinburg, SBSC 351
Email: servando.hinojosa@utrgv.edu
Profile

Servando Hinojosa is an Associate Professor of Anthropology. His research focuses on Maya Culture, Mesoamerica, and folk medicine. He recently published  In this Body: Kaqchikel Maya and the Grounding of Spirit with the University of New Mexico Press in 2015. He teaches classes on cultural anthropology and Mexican American folk medicine.

Rosalynn A. Vega, Ph.D.

Rosalynn A. Vega, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELABN 330
Email: rosalynn.vega@utrgv.edu
Profile

Rosalynn A. Vega (PhD, UC Berkeley & San Francisco, 2016) is an Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her research and teaching interests include: commodification of culture, racialization, medical tourism, citizenship, and reproduction. Her recent publications include the study No Alternative: Childbirth, Citizenship, and Indigenous Culture in Mexico, which was published by the University of Texas Press in 2018.

Affiliated Faculty - Mexican American Studies Program

Cinthya M. Saavedra, Ph.D.

Cinthya M. Saavedra, Ph.D.
Professor

Office: Edinburg, ELAB N 301 and CMAS EDUC 2.216B
Email: cinthya.saavedra@utrgv.edu
Profile

Cinthya M. Saavedra is Associate Professor and Academic Program Director of Mexican American Studies. She received her PhD from Texas A&M University in Curriculum and Instruction. Her work has centered and advanced Chicana/Latina feminist epistemology and methodologies in educational research. Her scholarship addresses immigrant, transnational and bilingual education and experiences as well as the methodologies of testimonio, pláticas and critical reflexivity. She has co-edited two special issues on Chicana/Latina pedagogies and methodologies in the Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies. Her scholarship can be found in Review of Research in Education, Equity & Excellence in Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Language Arts, and TESOL Quarterly.

Affiliated Faculty - School of Medicine

Dr. Eugenia Curet

Dr. Eugenia Curet
Assistant Dean of Student for Support, Counseling and Wellness Services

Office: HCEBL 3112
Email: eugenia.curet@utrgv.edu

Dr. Eugenia Curet is the Assistant Dean of Student for Support, Counseling and Wellness Services for the medical students at the UTRGV School of Medicine. She holds a Master Degree in Social Work with specialization in psychiatric social work from the New York University Graduate School of Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing in Public Health & Substance Abuse from The Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Curet has been a presenter at numerous national and international conferences on topics ranging from mental health, suicide prevention, HIV, substance abuse and co-morbidity of Hepatitis C and substance abuse as well as the provision of culturally sensitive delivery of treatment services. Dr. Curet has been the recipient of two SAMHSA Suicide Prevention grants (2011 and 2017) and was awarded the 2013 Leadership on University Campuses and in the Community Award by the Texas Suicide Prevention Council, (April 1, 2013). An important area of interest for Dr. Curet is the integration of physical and mental health wellness services that embrace the individual’s body, mind and spiritual needs.

Affiliated Faculty - School of Music

Andrés R. Amado

Andrés R. Amado
Assistant Professor

Office:EPACB 1.117
Email: andres.amado@utrgv.edu
Profile

Dr. Andrés R. Amado is an Assistant Professor in the School of Music. He holds a Ph.D. in music from the University of Texas at Austin. At UTRGV, he teaches courses in music history, world music cultures, research methods, and ethnomusicology. His research focuses on the music of Latin America, particularly Guatemala, and U.S.-Latinx, exploring intersections of race and ethnicity, musical nationalism, cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, as well as gender and sexuality. He has published book chapters, articles, encyclopedic entries as author, co-author, and translator in Spanish and English, and has presented research at numerous conferences of musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, and Latin American studies. His recent publications include “Benedicto Sáenz’ Libera Me and the Silence of Guatemalan Nineteenth-Century Choral Music” (2018).