Yolanda Padilla

Associate Professor

Yolanda Padilla

Co-Director, First Year and Pre-Major Program
B.A. English, University of California, Davis
Ph.D. English, University of Chicago

Office: UW1-355
Email: ypadilla@uw.edu
Mailing Box: 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


As a first-generation Latina college graduate (indeed, I am a first-generation high school graduate as well), I am deeply committed to outreach, inclusion, and mentoring, and this is evident at every level of my teaching practice, from the way I design assignments to my cultivation of inclusive classroom dynamics. In all of my courses I present students with conceptual frameworks and perspectives that enable them to examine relationships among power, inequity, and culture in the Americas, most often through the lens of race and ethnicity. My classes have a strong historical component that we mobilize in part to understand how power structures of the past continue to shape relationships and practices in the present. I also emphasize instances of agency among minority and subaltern groups, and work to introduce methods to students that will allow them to discern and analyze such instances for themselves. Ultimately, my classes ask students to examine critically the histories and politics behind power structures that have come to seem neutral and natural. My goal is that once the class is over, students are able to apply what we have learned together as we engage issues in the world and in our communities outside of the classroom.

Recent Courses Taught

BCORE 104/107 Place and Displacement in the Americas: Human Rights, Culture, and Ethnicity (co-taught with Professor Julie Shayne)
B CORE 115A Los Angeles: Land of Dreams, Land of Nightmares (co-taught with Professor Michael Goldberg)
BIS 258 Introduction to Latinx Studies
BIS 362 The US-Mexico Borderlands: Culture, History, Theory
BISAES 305 Power, Dissent, and American Culture
BISAES 367 Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
BIS 499 Capstone Portfolio
BCULST 589 Transnationalism and the US-Mexico Borderlands
BIS 490 Race, Racializaton, and Latinx Literature

Research / Scholarship

I am an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of Latinx, American, and Latin American studies, with an emphasis on transnational approaches to these fields. My scholarship is animated by two commitments. First, I aim to recover and foreground the voices and forms of knowledge produced by colonized and dispossessed peoples. Second, I am dedicated to examining the transnational and historically informed presence and contributions of Latinx people to the making of the U.S. nation. To these ends, my work foregrounds the continuous life of Mexican Americans within and around the United States, especially through an analysis of their literary and cultural expressions, a focus on Spanish-language print culture materials, and by seeking out archives that illuminate Mexican American struggles over inequalities. I also examine Mexico’s continuing role as a protagonist in the making of Mexican American political subjectivities. By this I mean that I consider Mexican Americans’ continuing commitment to Mexican politics and culture even as their lives were embedded in the U.S. imperial order as a consequence of the U.S.-Mexican war. Such work not only provides a historical grounding for contemporary Chicanx identities, it adds an attention to the long history of their roles as dynamic agents in multiple nations, and to the influence of other national projects in the U.S. national space.

I am currently working on a book manuscript that grapples with such issues by studying Mexican American engagements with the Mexican Revolution. Titled “Revolutionary Subjects: The Mexican Revolution in Mexican American Cultural Politics, 1910-1959,” the book argues that Mexicans in the United States responded to the political and social exigencies arising from the Revolution in ways that were influenced by their conditions as members of an embattled and emerging ethnic group. These engagements resulted in a geopolitically-grounded border knowledge that imagined Mexican American relationships to and critiques of the United States in ways that were mediated by their engagements with Mexican politics and culture. This project allows for a continued examination of how Mexican Americans have been excluded from the United States, but adds a focus on how they have operated as dynamic parts of multiple nations and of transnational phenomena. I have published essays related to this work in Women’s Studies QuarterlyCR: The New Centennial Review, and in the volume Open Borders to a Revolution: Culture, Politics, and Migration (eds. Jaime Marroquín Arredondo, Adela Pineda Franco, and Magdalena Mieri).

Moreover, my research emphasizes the collective effort of recovering and examining little-known source materials that are vital to continued innovation of thought. Most of the literary works I examine in my book manuscript were originally written in the early twentieth century and have been recovered recently. I have engaged most directly in the process of recovery through my work on Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S. Southwest—an archive I draw from extensively in my scholarship. My work on early twentieth-century newspaper and literary writings by Mexicans in the United States led to my appointment as a contributing editor for the Heath Anthology of American Literature in 2011. I am also on the national advisory board for the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project directed by Nicolás Kanellos and based at the University of Houston.

Selected Publications

Edited Books

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Contemporary Latinx Indigeneities.” Latinx Literature in Transition: Latinx Literature and Critical Futurities, 1992-2020. Ed. William Orchard. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • “Introduction: The Practice of Latina Feminist Recovery Work.” Co-authored with Montse Feu. Latina Histories and Cultures: Feminist Readings and Recoveries of Archival Knowledge. Ed. Montse Feu and Yolanda Padilla. Houston: Arte Público Press, forthcoming.
  • “Mapping Chicanx Indigeneities in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Sabrina and Corina: Stories.” Teaching Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century US Short Fiction. Ed. Jeehyun Lim and John Young. New York: Modern Language Association, forthcoming.
  • “Latinx Culture and the Essay.” The Cambridge History of the American Essay. Ed. Jason Childs and Christy Wampole, forthcoming.
  • “Revolution’s Afterlives: The Mexican Revolution in Chicanx and Borderland Literature and Culture.” Approaches to Teaching the Mexican Revolution. Ed. Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado. New York: Modern Language Association, forthcoming.
  • Approaches to Teaching Early Twentieth-Century Mexican American Literature in Undergraduate Classrooms.” Writing / Righting History: Twenty-Five Years of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage. Ed. Clara Lomas and Antonia Castañeda. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2019: 97-108.
  • “Borderlands Letrados: La Crónica, the Mexican Revolution, and Transnational Critique on the US-Mexico Border.” English Language Notes (ELN). Special Issue: “Latinx Lives in Hemispheric Context.” 56.2 (Spring-Summer 2018). https://doi.org/10.1215/00138282-6960801
  • “Literary Revolutions in the Borderlands: Transnational Dimensions of the Mexican Revolution and its Diaspora in the United States.” The Cambridge History of Latina/o Literature. Ed. John M. González and Laura Lomas, 2018: 334-352.
  •  “The ‘Other’ Novel of the Mexican Revolution.” Bridges, Borders and Breaks: History, Narrative, and Nation in Twenty-First-Century Chicana/o Literary Criticism. Ed. William Orchard and Yolanda Padilla. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016: 63-79.
  • Chicana/o Narratives, Then and Now.” Co-authored introduction to Bridges, Borders and Breaks: History, Narrative, and Nation in Twenty-First-Century Chicana/o Literary Criticism. Ed. William Orchard and Yolanda Padilla. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016: 1-24.
  • Literary Engagements with the Mexican Revolution” and “Jovita González.” Edited with a preface and instructor’s guide. The Heath Anthology of American Literature: The Modern Period, 1910-1945. Vol. E, Seventh Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter, general ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2014.
  • Mexican Americans and the Novel of the Mexican Revolution.” Open Borders to a Revolution: Culture, Politics, and Migration. Ed. Jaime Marroquín Arredondo, Adela Pineda, and Magdalena Mieri. Washington, D.C.:  Smithsonian Institute Scholarly Press, 2013: 133-152.
  • “The Latino Novel.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel and Novel Theory. Ed. Peter Logan. Oxford: Blackwell, 2011.
  • The Transnational National: Race, the Border, and the Immigrant Nationalism of Josefina Niggli’s Mexican Village,” CR: The New Centennial Review 9, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 45-72.
  • Felix Beyond the Closet: Sexuality, Masculinity, and Relations of Power in Arturo Islas’s The Rain God,” Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies 34, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 11-34.
  • Lost in Adaptation: Chicana History, the Cold War, and the Case of Josephina Niggli,” authored with William Orchard. Women’s Studies Quarterly 33, nos. 3-4 (December 2005), special double issue on Gender and Culture in the 1950s, ed. Deborah L. Nelson:  90-113.