Kirsten Silva Gruesz

DivisionHumanities Division,
Social Sciences Division
DepartmentLiterature Department,
Oakes College
AffiliationsLatin American & Latino Studies,
Critical Race and Ethnic Studies,
Research Center for the Americas
Phone831-459-2225 (Office),
831-459-1924 (Message)
OfficeHumanities 1 636
Office HoursWinter 2018: Wed 10-12 & by appt
Campus Mail StopHumanities Academic Services
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Kirsten Silva Gruesz

Research Interests

For a representative sample, please see the "Publications" column.

My current book projects: Cotton Mather's Spanish Lessons, under contract at Harvard University Press.

A Marriage Like Many Others: scholarly edition of what may be the first Latino novel, serially published in New Orleans in 1849 by E.J. Gomez.

And lots of other irons in the fire.

Biography, Education and Training

BA Swarthmore; PhD Yale. I am interested in the changing conditions of literary production and reception: who gets to say what's good, or what's worth remembering? What languages and linguistic registers have social power, and who gets access to them? These are the questions I ask about English- and Spanish-language materials from across the Americas, from the seventeenth century to the present. The mid-nineteenth century, on the one hand, and the post-NAFTA era, on the other, are the key periods for my research. I also write about and teach contemporary works by U.S. Latinas and Latinos, whose experiences are deeply rooted in the entangled histories of colonization and racism that link the U.S. to Mexico and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, with particular force. I am active in research clusters and initiatives both on campus and elsewhere: for example, in 2017 I am co-directing a Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in America at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts titled "Other Languages, Other Americas." In these and other professional contexts, I spread the gospel of comparative and multilingual approaches to "American" literature and history.

Honors, Awards and Grants

National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2016

Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2005-06

Selected Publications


Ambassadors of Culture: The Transamerican Origins of Latino Writing. Princeton University Press, Translation/Transnation series, 2002. Honorable Mention, John Hope Franklin Prize for Best Book in American Studies, American Studies Association, 2002.


“Transamerican New Orleans: From the Spanish Period to Post-Katrina,” forthcoming in the Cambridge History of Latino/a Literature, eds. John Morán González and Laura Lomas, scheduled for publication spring 2017.

“Unsettlers and Speculators,” PMLA 131:3 (May 2016), 743-751.

“The Errant Latino: Irisarri, Central Americanness, and Migration’s Intention,” The Latino Nineteenth Century, eds. Rodrigo Lazo and Jesse Alemán (NYU Press, 2016), 20-48.

“Alien Speech, Incorporated: On the Cultural History of Spanish in the U.S.” American Literary History 25:1 (spring 2013), 18-32.

“Authors, Readers, and the Mediations of Print Culture.” The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature, eds. Suzanne Bost and Frances Aparicio (Routledge, 2012), 485-494.

“What Was Latino Literature?” PMLA 127:2 (March 2012), 335-341.

“Mexican/American: The Making of Borderlands Print Culture,” US Popular Print Culture, 1860-1920, ed. Christine Bold (Oxford UP, History of Popular Print Culture series, 2011), 457-476.

“Tracking the First Latino Novel: Un matrimonio como hay muchos (1849) and Transnational Print Culture,” in Transnationalism and American Serial Fiction, ed. Patricia Okker (Routledge, 2011), 36-63.

“Worlding America: The Hemispheric Text-Network” in Robert Levine and Caroline S. Levander, eds., The Blackwell Companion to American Literary Studies (Blackwell, 2011), 228-247. Co-authored with Susan Gillman.

 “1521: Mexico in America,” “1836: Richard Henry Dana, Jr.,”  in A New Literary History of America, gen. eds. Greil Marcus, Werner Sollors, Lindsay Waters, Harvard University Press (2009), 6-11. I served on the Editorial Board for this volume.

“Maria Gowen Brooks, In and Out of the Poe Circle,” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 54 (fall 2008), 75-109.

“Walt Whitman, Latino Poet,” in Walt Whitman: Where the Future Becomes Present, eds. David Haven Blake and Michael Robertson (University of Iowa Press - Iowa Whitman Series, 2008), 151-176.

 “The Cafetal of María del Occidente and the Anglo-American Race for Cuba,” in The Traffic in Poems: Anglo-American Poetry in the Nineteenth-Century Literary Marketplace, ed. Meredith McGill (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008), 37-62.

“The Once and Future Latino: Notes toward a Literary History todavía por llegar,” in Contemporary Latino/a Literary Criticism, eds. Lyn DiIoria Sandín and Richard Pérez (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 115-142.

 “The Mercurial Space of ‘Central’ America: New Orleans, Honduras, and the Writing of the Banana Republic,” in Hemispheric American Studies, eds. Caroline Levander and Robert S. Levine (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 140-165.

 “America,” in Keywords of American Cultural Studies, eds. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler (New York University Press, 2007; revised for second edition, 2014), 16-22.

“The Gulf of Mexico System and the ‘Latinness’ of New Orleans,” American Literary History 18:4 (Fall 2006), 468-495.

“Other Languages, Other Americas,” in The Blackwell Companion to American Fiction, 1780-1865, ed. Shirley Samuels. New York: Blackwell Press, 2004.

“Translation: A Key(word) into the Language of America(nists),” American Literary History 16:1 (Winter 2004), 85-92.

 “Utopía Latina: The Ordinary Seaman in Extraordinary Times.” Modern Fiction Studies 49:1 (Spring 2003), 54-83.

Teaching Interests

Same as expertise/research interests.

Courses Taught

LIT 80N, Latino Expressions in the US
LIT 165, Chicano/Mexicano Geographies
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction
LIT 145, Colonial American Literatures
LIT 190, Senior Seminar: Moby Dick and Its Avatars
Nineteenth-Century American Poetry / Whitman
Latin/o American Fiction
LIT 102, Translation Theory