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About Elena Aviles

Dr. Avilés joined the faculty at PSU in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures (2014) and M.A. in Spanish (2008) at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Her research brings new insights to the study of contemporary U.S. Latina/o and Chicana/o cultural production with over a decade of experience in higher education focusing on issues related to the humanities. She has had the opportunity to develop programs and academic initiatives focusing on issues related to U.S. Spanish and Spanish as a heritage language. Her teaching and research are informed by the fields of feminist, gender, and ethnic studies as well as by the literary and visual arts. Her teaching interests cover various topics related to Chicano/Latino literature and Chicana feminist politics across art and literature as they relate to new work in urban humanities. She uses the humanities as praxis to engage students in transnational/global exchanges and with the histories and cultures of US women of color. She is currently elaborating upon the artistic and literary work by Chicanas drawing from feminism, ethnography, and critical heritage studies to theorize how women construct a verbal and visual signifier of power in the figure of La Malinche.


Present Assistant Professor, Portland State University Chicano/Latino Studies

Curriculum Vitae

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Professional Service and Affiliations

2017 - Present Webjefa/Webmaster, Mujeres Activas en Letras y Ciencias Sociales (MALCS)/Active Women in Letters and Social Change
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Honors and Awards

  • 19th Annual John Eliot Allen Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Portland State University, 2015-2016
  • Academic Excellence Award, Faculty and Staff of Color Awards, Cultural Resource Centers, Portland State University, 2015-2016.
  • The Cultural Resource Centers, Student Leadership Team Honors Award, Portland State University, 2014-2015
  • Faculty Recognition Award, PSU M.E.Ch.A. Student Organization, Portland State University, 2014-2015.
  • Spanish and Portuguese Department Teaching Assistantship Award, University of New Mexico, 2006-2013
  • Chicano, Hispanic, Mexicano Studies Teaching Assistantship Award, University of New Mexico, 2009-2013
  • El Centro de la Raza Excellence/Outstanding Student, Nomination, University of New Mexico, 2009.
  • Deese-Roberts Teaching Assistant of the Year Award, Nomination, University of New Mexico OSET Center for Teaching and Learning, 2009.
  • Outstanding Departmental Teaching Assistant, Spanish as a Heritage Language, University of New Mexico, 2008.
  • Departmental Honors Award in Counseling Program, College of Education, California State University Los Angeles, 2006.


2014 PhD, University of New Mexico ‐ Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures
2010 MA, University of New Mexico ‐ Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures
2006 MS, California State University, Los Angeles ‐ Counseling: School Counseling Leadership
2003 BA, University of California, Los Angeles ‐ Department of Spanish
2003 BA, University of California, Los Angeles ‐ Chicana and Chicano Studies

Book Chapters (3)

Articles (2)

Book Reviews (2)

Dissertation (1)