Prof. Manuel R. Cuellar

Professor Manuel Cuellar
Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature
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Manuel R. Cuellar focuses on Mexican literary and cultural studies with an emphasis on race, gender, and sexuality. He holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley. His research engages questions of performance, especially as they concern dance, indigeneity, and negritud in Mexico, combining ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and studies of contemporary and classical Nahuatl, Mexico’s most widely spoken and written Indigenous language. Another area of related interest, reflected explicitly in his teaching, is US Latina/o/x Studies with a focus on community-engaged learning. For over 20 years, Dr. Cuellar has been a practitioner of Mexican folklórico dance, as an instructor and performer, and he is currently part of D.C.’s Corazón Folklórico Dance Company. Dr. Cuellar’s strong background in Mexican traditional dance has led him to explore dance’s role in Mexican national identity, indigeneity, and queerness. His current book project, Choreographing Mexico: Festive Performances and Dancing Histories of a Nation, studies how written, photographic, cinematographic, and choreographic renderings of a festive Mexico highlight the role that dance has played in processes of citizen formation and national belonging, from the late Porfirian regime to the immediate post-revolutionary era (1910-1940).

Dr. Cuellar is an Affiliated Faculty of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, and the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.


Current Research

Research and Teaching Fields:

20th & 21st Century Mexican and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
Performance and Dance Studies
Queer, Gender & Feminist Studies
Latina/o/x Studies
Nahuatl Language and Culture
Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
Afro-descendants in Mexico



Book Manuscript:

  • Choreographing Mexico: Festive Performances and Dancing Histories of a Nation (In production with University of Texas Press)


  • “Prácticas discursivas y espaciales en El vampiro de la colonia Roma de Luis Zapata,” A Contracorriente  (forthcoming)
  • “La escenificación de lo mexicano y la interpelación de un público nacional: la Noche Mexicana de 1921” in Mexican Transnational Cinema and Literature. Eds. Maricruz Castro Ricalde, Mauricio Díaz Calderón, and James Ramey. Peter Lang. (2017)
  • “Fiesta Performance as Epistemology,” Performance Research, 20 (2015): 123-135.  Co-author: Angela Marino.


  • “La bio-política en contra de sí. Víctimas y contra-víctimas en el México contemporáneo” by Estelle Tarica. Heridas abiertas. Biopolítica y representación en América Latina. Eds. Ignacio Sánchez Prado and Mabel Moraña. Iberoamericana & Vervuert. (2014)


Classes Taught

  • SPAN 1095. The Spanish-Speaking World: Spain, Latin America, and the United States
  • SPAN 4480: Studies in Latinx Cultural Production
  • SPAN 4450: Mexican Literature and Culture
  • SPAN 3570: Women Writers of Spain and Latin America
  • SPAN 3550: Queer Latin America
  • SPAN 3410: Latin American Short Fiction
  • SPAN 3100: General Readings in Spanish and Latin American Literature
  • SPAN 3100 W: Texts and Contexts of the Spanish-Speaking World
  • WGSS 3170: Queer Latin America
  • WGSS 3170: Women Writers of Spain and Latin America