María Rosa Olivera-Williams

Professor of Spanish
Faculty Fellow of the Kellogg Institute, Fellow of the Nanovic Institute


Ph.D., Latin American and Peninsular Literatures (Presidential Award), The Ohio State University

M.A., Latin American and Peninsular Literatures, The Ohio State University

B.A.S., Spanish (Magna Cum Laude), University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Research and Teaching Interests

Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies, Representations of subjectivities and national identities of the Southern Cone, Popular Culture, Memory Studies, Trauma and Violence, Gender and Feminist Studies.


María Rosa Olivera-Williams is a professor of Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She received a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Modern and Contemporary Iberian and Latin American Literatures, for which she received the Presidential Award and Fellowship. Olivera-Williams teaches courses on modern and contemporary Latin American literature and culture; women’s literature and feminisms in Latin America; memory studies with a focus on militant movements, dictatorships, and transitions to democracy in the Southern Cone; and popular culture, music, dance and film.

Olivera-Williams is the author of El arte de crear lo femenino: ficción, género e historia del Cono Sur (Santiago, Chile: Cuarto Propio, 2012; 2013), a theoretical and applied study of women’s social movements and fiction narratives during the second half of the twentieth century in the Southern Cone countries of Latin America, focusing on the post-suffragist period and the military dictatorship and post-dictatorship period. This book has been hailed as a “ground-breaking study of feminine identity through an original and in-depth analysis of the work of seven foundational authors of the Southern Cone, as well as a major contribution to the study of twentieth century Argentine, Chilean, and Uruguayan literature, culture, and history.” She also published with Mabel Moraña the critically acclaimed and widely influential El salto de Minerva: Intelectuales, género y Estado en América Latina (Madrid: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2005), and the monograph, La poesía gauchesca de Hidalgo a Hernández: respuesta estética y condicionamiento social (Xalapa, Veracruz, México: Centro de Investigaciones Lingüístico-Literarias. Universidad Veracruzana, 1986), which, through the lens of reception theory, analyzes the creation of a gaucho language by the lettered poets of the Río de la Plata during the nineteenth century. Her book Humanidades al límite: posiciones desde/contra la universidad global, co-edited with Cristián Opazo (Santiago, Chile: Cuarto Propio) is forthcoming in 2021. She is the author of a large corpus of peer-reviewed articles, and has given numerous lectures in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. At present, she is completing two book projects: the monograph Tango: Imagining National Roots in the Maelstrom of Modernization in Argentina and Uruguay, for which she received a J. William Fulbright Research Award and is under contract with the University of Florida Press, and the volume co-edited with Rodrigo Caresani, Escenas de traducción en las literaturas de Améfrica Ladina for Contracorriente.


Olivera-Williams has received various grants and awards over the course of her career, among them from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and the American Philosophical Society. For her teaching, she has received the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2010) and twice the Kaneb Award in the College of Arts and Letters for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, University of Notre Dame (1999; 2005). Recently, she has been named Luksic Scholar (2019). Olivera-Williams is the Editor of book reviews of A Contracorriente and serves on the editorial boards of Decimonónica. Revista de producción cultural hispánica decimonónica and Letras Femeninas / Revista de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades.


Representative Publications

“Teaching Latin American Poetry as a Vulnerable Genre.” Teaching Latin American Contemporary Poetries. Eds. Jill S. Kuhnheim and Melanie Nicholson. New York: MLA, 2019, pp. 220-234.

El surgimiento de comunidades volátiles: Relatos salvajes de Damián Szifrón,” deSignis (Publicación de la Federación Latinoamericana de Semiótica). Cine y literatura. Interferencias e intersecciones. Eds. Sabine Schlickers y Jörg Türschmann, no. 27, 2018, pp. 95-104.

[link] “Un salto al pasado: cine y tango argentinos en la década del 30”. Estéticas transnacionales en el cine contemporáneo. Compiladora, Mónica Satarain. Buenos Aires: Editorial de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2018, pp. 207-232.

“Maldito cuerpo de mujer: violencia de género y violencia sexual dentro del terrorismo de Estado en Argentina y Chile.” Poner el cuerpo. Rescatar y visibilizar las marcas sexuales y de género de los archivos dictatoriales. Eds. Ksenija Bilbija, Ana Forcinito y Bernardita Llanos. Santiago, Chile: Cuarto Propio, 2017. pp. 61-83.

“Boom, Realismo Mágico—Boom and Boomito.” Cambridge History of Latin American Women’s Literature. Eds. Ileana Rodríguez and Mónica Szurmuk. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. 278-295.

Phone: 574-631-7268
Office: 322 Decio Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00-4:00 and by appointment

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