Yolanda Padilla

Yolanda Padilla photo

Assistant Professor

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


In my courses I strive to present students with conceptual frameworks and perspectives that enable them to examine relationships among power, inequality, and culture in the Americas, most often through the lens of race and ethnicity. Many of my classes have a historical component that we mobilize in part to understand how power structures of the past often 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 question the common assumptions that define approaches to intractable issues, and to examine critically the histories and politics behind power structures that have come to seem neutral and natural. Moreover, I promote an inclusive classroom, one that not only acknowledges but that actively takes advantage of the multiple centers of knowledge that constitute the most productive learning environments. At different times and to different extents, we are all learners and teachers in the classroom, and we produce knowledge together in real time. My goal is that once the class is over, we 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

BISAES 305 - Power, Dissent, and American Culture
BISAES 367 - Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
BIS 300 - Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 393 - The US-Mexico Borderlands: Culture, History, Theory
BIS 499 Capstone Portfolio
B CORE - 115A Los Angeles: Land of Dreams, Land of Nightmares
BCULST 589 - Transnationalism and the US-Mexico Borderlands

Research / Scholarship

I work at the intersection of American, Latin American, and Latina/o studies, with an emphasis on transnational approaches to these fields. My research is animated by an interest in the ways that minority communities in the United States have understood the local specificities of their experiences in relation to global designs and world-historical events. I am currently working on a book manuscript that grapples with such questions by studying Mexican American engagements with the Mexican Revolution. Entitled Revolutionary Subjects: The Mexican Revolution and the Transnational Emergence of Mexican American Literature and Culture, 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 in the U.S. 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 Quarterly, CR: 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

Three Books Covers by Yolanda Padilla

“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).

“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.

Bridges, Borders and Breaks: History, Narrative, and Nation in Twenty-First-Century Chicana/o Literary Criticism. Edited with William Orchard. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016.

“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.

The Plays of Josefina Niggli: Recovered Landmarks of Latino Literature. Edited with William Orchard. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.

"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.