Christofer Rodelo

Christofer Rodelo, UCI assistant professor of Chicano/Latino studies, has been awarded a 2024 ACLS Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. The honor, which includes $60,000 in support, annually recognizes early career scholars poised to make original and significant contributions to knowledge in any field of the humanities or interpretive social sciences. Rodelo is among 60 exceptional scholars selected for this year’s fellowship cohort.

A literary and performance historian, Rodelo’s work explores the cultural history of Latinx popular performance from the 1840s to the early 1900s. Funding from the award will support work this coming academic year on his book manuscript, Spectacles of Relation: Race, Performance, and the Latinx Nineteenth Century. His project argues that nineteenth-century performance culture, and in particular, spectacle, was essential to establishing Latinidad as a racialized category of difference during an increased period of American imperial expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean. It situates canonical figures of the Latinx nineteenth century and lesser-known subjects in a genealogy of “spectacles of relation:” displays of Latinx bodies in theater, literature, and popular entertainment that mediated how Latinxs sat in relation to existing racial hierarchies in the United States. Through an analysis of newspapers, photographs, plays, novels, memoirs, and popular ephemera, the project reconstitutes and traces these “spectacles of relation” along two vectors: how Latinxs were rendered as racially distinct in the imagination of Anglo-Americans, and how Latinxs understood themselves as minoritized subjects in relation to other people of color. By doing so, it insists on the significance of historical performance in shaping contemporary Latinx cultural politics.

Rodelo joined the UCI faculty in fall 2022. He holds a bachelor’s in American studies, and ethnicity, race, & migration from Yale College, and a master’s in English and Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University.

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