Carmelo Esterrich, PhD, is Associate Professor of Spanish, Humanities, and Cultural Studies in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago.
Dr. Esterrich is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and earned his PhD in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, focusing on Latin American literatures and cultures. He also holds a BA in Film Studies from Pennsylvania State University and an MA in Spanish, also from Penn State. He has been at Columbia College Chicago since 1998, he’s one of the founding members of the Cultural Studies program at Columbia, and he’s part of the core faculty of the Cultural Studies major.
Dr. Esterrich teaches courses in the Humanities, Cultural Studies, and all levels of Spanish language. He regularly teaches “Introduction to Cultural Studies,” “Puerto Rican Culture: Negotiation and Resistance,” “Cultural Theories,” “Post-Colonial Studies,” “Revolution and Art: Latin America” and “Latin American Women in the Arts.” He has also taught “Latin American Cinema” in the Department of Film and Video, and “Eastern European Folk Dances” at Columbia’s Dance Center.
His research focuses on the cultural and artistic production in Latin America—especially film, literature, and music. In cinema, he has written on Mexican film comedian Cantinflas and on the re-imagining of the “anthropological” conquest of America in the films of Chilean director Raúl Ruiz. More recently, Dr. Esterrich worked on the dismantling of the Mexican mother in the films of Arturo Ripstein and Paz Alicia Garciadiego. In literature, he has published on two Cuban writers: Reinaldo Arenas (and his notions of literary and sexual exile) and Severo Sarduy (and the notion of a transvestite as a metaphor for writing). He has also studied the dialogue of rock, punk, and traditional Latin American music in two Latin American rock bands: Café Tacuba and Aterciopelados.
Dr. Esterrich is currently finishing the manuscript for a book on the arts produced, distributed, sponsored, and consumed in Puerto Rico during the 1950s. The project, entitled Unsustainable Edens, looks at the complex (and many times contradictory) representations of the rural and urban landscapes of the Island—the plantations and the slums, the mountains and the factory, the peasants and the new urbanites—and delves into the national/cultural negotiations between film, literature, and music.
Aside from his research, Dr. Esterrich has been a dancer of Eastern European folk dancing, especially Balkan dances, in several companies around the country. In 1997, with the support and effort of the Ohio Council for the Arts, he toured with the dance ensemble Zivili throughout Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia to perform in many of the displacements camps created for the people of the former Yugoslavia. In 2005, he danced with The Dance COLEctive, a Chicago modern dance company, in a project on the Brontë sisters.
Dr. Esterrich and his husband, Joseph W.A. Myers, live in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Contact Dr. Esterrich:
Dr. Carmelo Esterrich
Columbia College Chicago
Department of HHSS
600 S. Michigan Ave.