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). Messy Queer Familias: Negotiating Desire, Pleasure, and Melacholia in Vida. Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture, 7(1), 69–81.
  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (2022). Unspoken desires: Transgressing representation in Mosquita y Mari (Guerrero 2012). Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas, 19(1), 3–18.
  • Zecena Cartagena, R. E. (n.d.). Memories of Desire: Reading Backwards Movement in Rigoberto González’s Butterfly Boy. Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism.
  • 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

Selected Service Activities

Reviewer / Referee
Feminist Formations
May 2022-June 2022
Reviewer / Referee
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly
April 2022-May 2022