Faculty Profile for Dr. Ruben Ernesto Zecena Cartagena

profile photo for Dr. Ruben Ernesto Zecena Cartagena
Dr. Ruben Ernesto Zecena Cartagena
Assistant Professor — English
phone: (512) 245-7697

Biography Section

Biography and Education

Dr. Ruben Zecena is an assistant professor of English. He holds a PhD in Gender & Women's Studies from the University of Arizona, with a minor in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. He is an interdisciplinary scholar whose teaching and research focus on Latinx literature and culture, queer migration studies, border studies, film studies, affect theory, women of color feminism, and queer of color critique. His work, scholarship, and teaching are animated by his experiences as a formerly undocumented queer migrant from El Salvador.

Research Interests

Dr. Zecena is working on his first monograph, tentatively titled Impossible Possibilities: The Unruly Imaginaries of Queer and Trans Migrants, which explores the cultural productions of queer and trans migrants as important avenues for imagining the world differently. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly; Diálogo, an Interdisciplinary Studies Journal; Constellations: A Cultural Rhetorics Publishing Space; Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas; among other journals.

Selected Scholarly/Creative Work

  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (2022). Border Desires: Mapping Queer Worlds in the Work of Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Diálogo, an Interdisciplinary Studies Journal, 24(1), 35–46.
  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (2019). Migrating Like a Queen: Visuality and Performance in the Trans Gay Caravan. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 47(3 & 4), 99–118. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1353/wsq.2019.0063
  • Ramírez, A., & Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (2019). “The Dirt Under My Mom’s Fingernails": Queer Retellings and Migrant Sensualities. Constellations: A Cultural Rhetorics Publishing Space, (2), 1–23. Retrieved from https://constell8cr.com/issue-2/the-dirt-under-my-moms-fingernails-queer-retellings-and-migrant-sensualities/
  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (2022, May 11). Queer Diasporic Sensibilities: Unicorns, Glitter, and Loss in Maya Chinchilla’s Chapina Poética. Latinx Talk. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Libraries. Retrieved from https://latinxtalk.org/2022/05/11/queer-diasporic-sensibilities-unicorns-glitter-and-loss-in-maya-chinchillas-chapina-poetica/
  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E., & Boyd, A. (2021). Young Adult Literature as Companion to Sex, Gender, and Consent in the Canon: Pairing Gabi,  a Girl in Pieces and The Scarlet Letter. In Young Adult and Canonical Literature Pairing and Teaching, Volume 1 (pp. 51–68). Lanham: MD, United States: Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved from https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475857160/Young-Adult-and-Canonical-Literature-Pairing-and-Teaching-Volume-1