The Stone Center for Latin American Studies is excited to introduce visiting scholar Olivia Cosentino—2022 Zemurray-Stone Post-Doctoral Fellow. Cosentino grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and attended Washington University in St. Louis where she majored in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She then spent five years at Ohio State doing her PhD. When she's not in New Orleans, she is in Durham, North Carolina with her partner and her Bernedoodle, Ziti.
Get to know Cosentino with this Q&A, introducing her background, research interests, and plans for her Tulane experience.
What are your research interests?
I am a scholar of Mexican film and cultural studies. My current research project, Starscapes: Youth, Modernity, and Media in Mexico, describes how youth media icons Angélica María, Meche Carreño, Lucerito, and Gloria Trevi are bellwethers of Mexican cultural modernization, crystallizing hegemonic ideologies of gender, race, sexuality, and youth from 1950-1996. This work utilizes my paradigm of the “starscape,” which positions stars and their cultural production within the larger horizon of media, cultural industries, histories of modernization, and the State’s changing conceptualization of youth in the latter portion of the 20th century.
What you will be doing while at Tulane?
At Tulane, I’ll be working with the Stone Center on the Centennial project, creating an accessible, sustainable archive of documents and an online digital exposition. I’ll also be putting together best practices for institutional interviews to move us forward on our faculty interview project.
What about Tulane and Latin American Studies inspired you to apply to the Zemurray-Stone postdoctoral fellowship program?
Tulane is a hub for Latin American studies – the resources, the library, the faculty, students, and staff, the sheer amount of events centered on Latin America, the Stone Center itself… it is unparalleled! I was inspired to apply to this postdoc because I wanted to participate in this vibrant intellectual community.
What have learned about Tulane that has been unexpected?
Something unexpected for me was the level of Tulane’s commitment to the New Orleans community. I was surprised to learn about the service requirement for students and incredibly impressed by the service-oriented nature of the university. I saw this firsthand at Outreach 2021; it was beautiful to see the sheer number of students coming together on a Saturday to serve the community post-Ida.
What is one topic/text you love to teach and why?
A film that I love to use in the classroom is Ixcanul (Bustamante, Guatemala-France, 2015) because it always resonates with students and its slowness forces them to stop and contemplate what they’re seeing. I enjoy teaching Ixcanul because it is both aesthetically interesting and thematically powerful. It opens important conversations about indigenous people today, the politics of indigenous languages in Guatemala, and the marginalized position that women occupy.
What do you want to accomplish during your post-doctoral appointment at Tulane?
During my post-doctoral appointment at Tulane, I would like to finish my manuscript, Starscapes, and find the right university press to publish my work. I plan to continue moving forward on other publications, to present at conferences like the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and to develop more skills in digital humanities projects and event planning.
What have you enjoyed so far about New Orleans?
New Orleans is such a unique place with deep traditions, an amazing food scene, and so many events related to the Latin American community; the Samba nights and Cimafunk at the Broadside have been amazing! I feel very lucky to be living in a city with so much history and so many passionate people sharing their talents.