Department of American and Canadian Studies
   
   
  

Current students 

Applicants

 

 

Stephanie Lewthwaite

Associate Professor in American History, Faculty of Arts

Contact

Biography

My current research involves a book-length project entitled The Politics of Place and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art. The project explores the work of contemporary Latino artists in documenting geographies of historical trauma and violence across diverse media-painting, photography, mixed-media, installation, and site-specific performance art--since the 1970s.

I am also working on a book project about the contemporary Chicana photographer Delilah Montoya, which explores Montoya's experimentation with different photographic genres.

My first monograph Race, Place, and Reform in Mexican Los Angeles: A Transnational Perspective, 1890-1940 (University of Arizona Press, 2009) examined the impact of reform policy on Mexican immigrant and second-generation Mexican American communities in Greater Los Angeles. The book highlights the shifting boundaries of race and citizenship in the Progressive and New Deal eras. In particular, it assesses the significance of reform for shaping processes of acculturation and racialisation. It also explores the impact of reform in generating new patterns of cross-border and second-generation activism.

My second monograph, A Contested Art: Modernism and Mestizaje in New Mexico (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015; winner of the 2016 British Association for American Studies Annual Book Prize), examines transformations in early twentieth-century Hispano art. Responding to the pressures of modernity, patronage, and new aesthetic dictates brought by Anglo American arrivals, Hispano artists experimented with colonial art forms and modernist trends in painting, photography, and sculpture. As they drew on native and non-native sources of inspiration, Hispanos generated alternative lines of modernist innovation and creativity. These lines expressed their cultural and ethnic affiliations with local Native peoples and with Mexico, and a vision of New Mexico as a place shaped by the modernity, cultural conflict and exchange.

I would be happy to support students working in these general areas: race, ethnicity and immigration; the history and culture of Latinos in the United States, and especially contemporary Latino visual culture. My research has relevance for students working on borderlands history and culture and for those taking a transnational and hemispheric approach to American Studies.

Teaching Summary

Taught modules

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States: A survey of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia and Latin America from the nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on the making of immigrant communities, cultures and identities.

Latino Cultures: An interdisciplinary survey of Latino cultural expression from the colonial period to the present, focusing on the genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture: art, architecture, music, testimony, fiction, performance, and religious expression; tourism, heritage, museum and media industries; elite, popular, and everyday cultural expressions.

The Latino Cultures module stems directly from my research on Hispano artists in New Mexico, 1930-1960, and my ongoing intellectual engagement with Latino cultural politics. I believe that good research feeds good teaching and vice versa. My current research expertise has generated new opportunities in teaching, in particular by changing the methods I use in the seminar context. In turn, teaching students using new source materials drawn from this project has undoubtedly helped me test, refine and widen my research expertise.

I also am a regular participant in centrally-run widening participation events such as workshops and master classes for Sutton Trust, Get on 4 Uni and KickStart. I am also involved in co-organising taster days for local primary schools. In my role as Arts Faculty Widening Participation Officer, I consider the dissemination of staff research expertise and teaching practice an integral aspect of our role as academics and fundamental to the University's engagement with the wider community.

Research Summary

My current research involves a book-length project entitled The Politics of Place and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art. The project explores the work of contemporary Latino artists in documenting… read more

Current Research

My current research involves a book-length project entitled The Politics of Place and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art. The project explores the work of contemporary Latino artists in documenting geographies of historical trauma and violence across diverse media-painting, photography, mixed-media, installation, and site-specific performance art. Latino artists have been just as important as Latino writers and cultural critics for narrating problematic and repressed histories through their engagement with place-based memory work, either by representing place artistically, writing and theorising about place, or building community art projects and memorials as cultural activists. Analysing the practice and writings of artists of Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cuban descent working and living in the United States since the 1970s, the project engages with the work of well-known and emerging figures.

I am also currently working on a book project about the contemporary Chicana photographer Delilah Montoya, which explores Montoya's experimentation with different photographic genres.

Past Research

My past research includes two monographs. The first, entitled Race, Place, and Reform in Mexican Los Angeles: A Transnational Perspective, 1890-1940 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009), examined the impact of reform policy and ideology on Mexican immigrant and second-generation Mexican American communities in the rural, urban and suburban territories of Greater Los Angeles. The book highlights the shifting boundaries of race and citizenship in the Progressive and New Deal eras, assessing the significance of reform in shaping acculturation, racialisation and new patterns of cross-border and second-generation activism.

The second book, A Contested Art: Modernism and Mestizaje in New Mexico (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2015; winner of the 2016 Annual British Association for American Studies Book Prize) examined the encounter between Spanish-speaking Hispanos and Anglo-American writers and artists in the early twentieth century. Anglos who came in search of new personal and aesthetic freedoms found inspiration for their modernist ventures in Hispano art forms. When they elevated a particular model of Spanish colonial art in preservationist circles and the marketplace, practising Hispano artists found themselves working under a new set of patronage relationships and aesthetic expectations that tied their art to a static vision of the Spanish colonial past. A Contested Art examines Hispano responses to these aesthetic dictates, suggesting that cultural encounter and appropriation produced conflict and loss, but also new transformations in Hispano art. Hispano artists experimented with colonial art forms and modernist trends in painting, photography, and sculpture. As they drew on native and non-native sources of inspiration, Hispano artists generated alternative lines of modernist innovation and mestizo creativity. These lines expressed their cultural and ethnic affiliations with local Native peoples and with Mexico, and a vision of New Mexico as a place shaped by the fissures of modernity and the dynamics of cultural conflict and exchange.

Future Research

Contemporary Chicana and Chicano photography and Latino visual culture more broadly.

Department of American and Canadian Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us