Dr. Karen Muñoz-Christian

Chair, World Languages & Cultures Department

Professor of Spanish
Spanish Minor Advisor

Cal Poly Distinguished Teaching Award, 2015-2016

Areas of specialization

  • Literatures & cultures of the Spanish Caribbean
  • Latinx literatures and cultures; Afro-Latinx literature
  • Race / Diaspora & migration / Memory studies / Trauma studies
  • Service learning

Contact Information



  • PhD Spanish, University of California, Irvine (1994)
  • MA Spanish, Wichita State University (1985)
  • BS Food Science, Iowa State University (1981)

Selected Publications

  • “Repairing the Broken Strands of Afro-Latina History in Mayra Santos-Febres’ Fiction.” AfroLatinas and LatiNegras: Culture, Identity, and Struggle from an Intersectional Perspective (2022)
  • “’Who and what are you?’: Tracing the Middle Passage in Afro-Latinx Writing.” Label Me Latina/o (Summer 2020)
  • “Trauma in the Caribbean: Postmemory and the Persistence of History in Latinx Literature.” Studies in American Culture (Spring 2020)
  •  “Weaving a Larger Web: Cuban American Writing in the Latin@ Narrative.” Latino Studies (Autumn 2017)
  • “Beyond Essence: Performing Gender and Sexuality in Ena Lucía Portela’s Cien botellas en una pared.” International Journal of Cuban Studies (Summer 2013)
  • Show and Tell: Identity as Performance in U.S. Latina/o Fiction (UNM Press, 1997)


Selected Presentations

  • “Time Travel, Engrams, and Epigenetic Memory in Mayra Santos-Febres’ Fe en disfraz.” Latinx Visions: Speculative Worlds in Latinx Art, Literature, and Performance, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, March 9-11, 2023.



  • “A Wake/Awake: Tracing the Middle Passage in Afro-Latinx Writing.” Memory Studies Association 5th Annual Conference, Warsaw, Poland (virtual), July 5-9, 2021.



  • “’Broken Vessels and Ancient Light:’ Traumatic Postmemory and Latinx Crypto-Judaism in Days of Awe and Liturgies.” Transamerican Reticulations: Towards a Latinx Theory of Hemispheric Literatures. Fourth Biennial Latina/o Literary Theory and Criticism Conference, John Jay College-City University of New York, April 25-27, 2019.


  • “When Science and Imagination Meet: Inherited Trauma in Latinx Fiction.” Latinx Studies Now: DC 2018+. Third Biennial Conference of the Latina/o Studies Association, Washington, DC, July 11-15, 2018.

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