MALAS student Jane Perez chats with incoming professor of Latin American literature Ariadna Tenorio
August 8, 2023
As the 2023-2024 academic year begins, we welcome three new professors to our Center-based faculty! Dr. Ariadna Tenorio is Assistant Professor of Latin American Literature and will teach “Issues and Perspectives in Latin American Studies” in the fall semester.
Dr. Tenorio recently sat down for an interview with MALAS 2024 student Jane Perez. Read more from Jane and Dr. Tenorio’s conversation below!
Jane Perez: What drew you to your particular field in academia?
Ariadna Tenorio: My particular field of academia is Afro-Mexico Studies. And I’m interested in this because I know my ancestors were Afro-Mexicans but I wasn’t sure of that nor did I have the sufficient data. It has always been important to know where I am from, and to know precisely who my ancestors are. Thus, my research focuses on that, the study of Afro-Mexican literature, but it is also related to the search of my ancestors, such as Miguel, an ancestor of mine who arrived in the year 1672 as a slave to Puerto de la Cruz.
JP: What do you hope to accomplish in terms of writing your research here at UF?
AT: I am very excited about the archives that the University of Florida has regarding the Caribbean, and how it relates specifically with my theme of interest, Afro-descendants. So my interest is to begin to somehow interconnect what I already have about Afro-Mexico with Caribbean countries to see how the Afro-Latinos lived and what they have in common, what problems they share, and above all, what interests they currently share among themselves.
JP: What are you most excited for in this new position here at UF?
AT: The students. The students are what I’m most excited about. Visiting campus, you see the opportunity to meet some of the students, and their interests really grabbed my attention. They’re very distinct interests – for example the interests of the students I’ve met and interacted with who are concerned with everything they have been viewing in “the real world,” and who are worried about how to apply the foundations they are learning, not only to their personal experiences but also problems in countries of Latin America. I am very excited to be able to talk with them.
JP: What will your courses entail in the fall? And what are your teaching styles and goals?
AT: I’m teaching Issues and Perspectives in Latin America, and I’m centering the class on the construction of race in Latin America. Because many times, we have this idea about how to learn the construction of race in the USA, because obviously American academia has done a lot of work on the subject, no? But the way that was constructed is not the same in Latin America, and above all, there is a very important difference depending on who colonized Latin America––if they were Spanish colonies, French colonies, English colonies––in that way the construction of race comes with a distinct perspective. So we are going to see how race was constructed in Latin America from the colonial era to understand the present-day issues in Latin America, how race lives, how the general population lives, and how this influences the cultural products in the region.
Thank you Jane and Dr. Tenorio for the interview! Learn more about Dr. Tenorio here.