This story originally appeared in Tulane Today.
One of Tulane’s longtime faculty members, a colleague, teacher and friend to many, Ana M. López, has passed away.
López arrived at Tulane in 1986 as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. She rose to the position of full professor in the department and continued to teach and conduct scholarly research there, recently serving as the chair of the department. López also had an active leadership role in Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies, where she became director of the Cuban Studies Institute in 2000, establishing major new program initiatives and expanding its scope to encompass the Caribbean basin.
In addition, she served as associate provost for Faculty Affairs. In the latter role, she worked directly with the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, overseeing faculty personnel decisions and reviews, including promotion and tenure, and a major revision to the faculty handbook, as well as initiatives such as the Center for Public Service and Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching. She also monitored relations with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as well as international programming and initiatives.
López was a recognized global leader in research on Latin American and Latino film and cultural studies. She was co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Latin American Cinema (2017) and the editor-in-chief of the journal Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas. She authored the collection of essays Hollywood, Nuestra América y los Latinos (Ediciones Unión, Havana, 2012) and co-edited three collections of essays on Latin American cinema. She published more than three dozen essays and book chapters, addressing a wide range of topics including melodrama and performance in the Golden Age Cinemas of Latin America, early silent cinema and modernity and documentary telenovelas, Cuban American media and the interconnectedness of various media. SUNY Press recently released the book Ana M. López: Essays, which declared López “one of the foremost film and media scholars in the world.” In her scholarship, López explored and brought new theoretical perspectives to previously overlooked aspects of media studies. She inspired the work of numerous collaborators, colleagues and students who followed her into these new areas of study.
López served in senior academic and administrative roles at Tulane throughout some of the university’s most challenging periods including Hurricane Katrina, the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida. She received her BA from Queens College of the City of New York, where she majored in accounting. She earned both her MA in communications and theater arts (film studies) and her PhD in communication studies from the University of Iowa. In the fall of 1989, she served as the Fulbright Cinema Professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Instituto de Artes e Comunicação Social in Brazil. In the spring of 1995, she served as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California, Critical Studies, School of Cinema/TV.
López was a trusted colleague, a remarkable administrator, a loyal friend, an invaluable mentor and a devoted Tulanian. In the fall, the university plans to hold an on-campus memorial service celebrating López’s life, friendship and the international impact of her scholarship.