Columbia College Chicago

Humanities, History, and Social Sciences

Carmelo Esterrich

Associate Chair

Associate Professor

624 S Michigan, Rm 1000
Phone: (312) 369-7525


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. He is currently the Associate Chair of HHSS and the coordinator of the Latino and Latin American Studies minor. 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, and is one of the founding mothers and fathers of the Cultural Studies program at Columbia.

Dr. Esterrich teaches courses in Interdisciplinary 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,” "Semiotics and Cultural Change," “Introduction to Latin American Studies" and “Latin American Women in the Arts.” He has also taught a course on Latin American Cinema in the Department of Cinema Arts and Sciences.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. In addition, he has written on the dismantling of the image of the Mexican mother in the controversial films of Arturo Ripstein and Paz Alicia Garciadiego. In literature, he has published on Puerto Rican and "Nuyorican" literatures, and on two important 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 written on the fascinating dialogue of rock, punk, and traditional Latin American music in two Latin American rock bands. That article, "Rock with Punk with Pop with Folklore: Transformations and Renewal in Aterciopelados and Café Tacuba," was recently reprinted in Stephen Duncombe's book White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race.Dr. Esterrich has finished a manuscript for a book on the arts produced, distributed, sponsored, and consumed in Puerto Rico during the 1950s. The project, entitled Concrete and Countryside, looks at the complex (and many times contradictory) representations of rural and urban spaces, subjects and practices in the context of the rapid modernization of the island during the midcentury. The book manuscript is on the final stages of review with the University of Pittsburgh Press. He has written two articles related to the topic of his book, one published in the Centro Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies about rurality in the nineteen fifties, and one in the book Song and Social Change in Latin America about the super popular band Coritjo y su combo.Aside from his research, Dr. Esterrich has been actively involved with the Chicago Latino Film Festival and has been part of the selecting committee several times. For decades, he 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.


B.A., Film Pennsylvania State University 1987
M.A., Spanish Pennsylvania State University 1989
Ph.D., Spanish University of Wisconsin-Madison 1994

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