Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Ana M. López

Director - Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, Professor - Communication, Associate Provost - Office for Faculty Affairs

Contact Info

Department Affiliation
Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute


My research is focused on Latin American/Latino film and media and is transnational in scope. Since my early publications on the New Latin American Cinema movement (a political pan-continental film movement that defied easy categorizations), I have sought to maximize my position as an outsider (that is, as a scholar of Latin America who lives and thinks outside of the region). This has allowed me to explore transcontinental movements and connections that are not readily visible or available to those within Latin America, where film scholarship has tended to be circumscribed by national concerns. Thus, my work extends beyond the specific scope of one country or period of specialization.

My early essays and edited collections that include books and special issues of journals set out new agendas for the field of English-language Latin American film scholarship. As one of a handful of Latin American film scholars in the late 1980s and early 90s trained in film studies, I inserted the Latin American into the mainstream of the field, engaging with pertinent theoretical debates, and challenging many of the standard interpretations and periodizations, while simultaneously acknowledging and debating with Spanish-language Latin American film scholarship. Thus, after working on the New Latin American Cinema, for example, I moved to explore questions of gender and filmic representation in the classical cinema period (1930s-50s), especially in the melodrama, and later in the telenovela, as well as questions of historicity and historiography. My essay “Tears and Desire: Women and Melodrama in the ‘Old’ Mexican Cinema,” initiated the recuperation and serious analysis of the maligned “classical” Latin American cinema and its melodramatic excesses as well as the intervention of feminist film theory into the debates. Similarly, “Setting up the Stage: A Decade of Latin American Film Scholarship” was the first assessment of English language scholarship on Latin American film. Subsequently, I have explored Latin American/transnational stardom (Dolores del Rio), documentary filmmaking, transnational cinematic practices, exilic and Latino cinema, and spatiality and musicality in pieces that have appeared in journals and edited collections. Several of these have been reprinted. A particular important publication was “Early Cinema and Modernity in Latin America,” (Cinema Journal, awarded an honorable mention for the Kovacs essay award in 2001), the first sustained analysis of early Latin American cinema to be published in English and the first to address early cinema as a continental rather than a national phenomenon in any language.

My work has been translated and has circulated in Latin America and Europe, but the publication of a collection of my translated essays, Hollywood, Nuestra América y los Latinos, by Ediciones Unión (Havana, Cuba) and was officially presented in June 2012 at the UNEAC (Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas Cubanos) at a formal event presided by noted film and cultural critic Reynaldo González.

Most recently I collaborated with Marvin D’Lugo and Laura Podalsky to produce the massive Routledge Companion to Latin American Cinema. This was a multi-year undertaking with more than 30 authors that tried to present a snapshot, an x-ray, of the most salient issues in contemporary Latin American Cinema studies. We corralled an array of international contributors that lent the volume enormous depth and significance.

As editor of Spanish and Latin American Cinema Studies (Intellect journal) since 2015, I also feel that I am playing a significant role in establishing and constantly reformulating the canon of Latin American (and Spanish) film studies.

I currently have a couple of new scholarly projects in various stages of development. All have roots in previous work but point in new directions.

1. The Radiophonic Imaginary in Latin American Transitional Cinema and Intermedial Relations

That radio and early sound cinema throughout the world were inextricably intertwined industrially has been amply documented. Yet, beyond some recent efforts to situate the predominance of musical performance in sound cinema in Latin America as a vehicle for nostalgic aural identification associated with the schisms of modernity and urbanization, little attention has been devoted to how radiophonic practices impacted the narrative practices of early sound cinema. My research explores the diegetic presence and imprint of “radio”—as a presentational and performative practice—on early sound cinema in Latin America. It also explores the narrative work of radio as a diegetic element in early sound cinema (primarily in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil). The radiophonic—either as physical presence, as narrative device, or as invoked in representational practices—served to develop new forms of narrative continuity for the emerging sound cinemas of the continent. Synergistically, radio and the early sound cinema, developed a transmedial narrative platform that hinged on affect (sentimentality, banality and melodrama) and performance as its key registers.

I have already presented work on this area at a number of national and international meetings and have published bits and pieces of the research in collections. I am working on both a synthetic piece for a journal article and a book length project.

2. Historiography and Screen Cultures in Cuba

In collaboration with the Cuban Cinematheque, Cuban film scholar Juan Antonio García Borrero, and Belgian film scholars Däniel Biltereyst (University of Ghent) and Philippe Meers (University of Antwerp), I am doing the groundwork to set up the mechanisms to replicate in Havana and Santiago, Cuba a historiographic, cartographic and oral history project carried out by the Belgian researchers in Flanders, and replicated by Texas A&M researchers in Monterrey, Mexico. The project entails gathering and mapping empirical data about the location of movie theaters in Havana and the socio-demographics of different neighborhoods (data that already exists), gathering exhibition data for as many theaters as possible (some of which already exists), and documenting the cinematic experiences of audiences through in depth interviewing/oral histories.

  • B.A., Queens College, Accounting, 1978
  • M.A., University of Iowa, Communication and Theater Arts, 1982
  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, Communication Studies, 1986
Academic Experience
  • Professor, Tulane University
  • Associate Professor, Tulane University
  • Assistant Professor, Tulane University
  • Visiting Professor, University of Southern California, 1995

Research & Teaching Specializations: Latin America, Mass Communication, Latin American Film, Cultural Studies, Popular Culture

Related Experience
  • Associate Provost, Office of Academic Affairs, Tulane University, 2001-
  • Director, Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, Tulane University, 2000-
  • Co-editor, South, an electronic Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 1996-
  • Co-Director, Cultural Studies Program, Tulane University, 1992-1999
  • Director, Film Studies Program, Tulane University, 1988-
  • Fulbright Fellowship, 1989
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • French
Overseas Experience
  • Cuba
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
Selected Publications
  • 2017. The Routledge Companion to Latin American Cinema, co-edited with Marvin D‘€™Lugo and Laura Podalasky, New York: Routledge.
  • 2015. “Cartographies of Mexican Cinema in the 21st Century,” Rebeca: Revista Brasileira de Estudios de Cinema e Audiovisual. 7-1. (
  • 2015. “Cine temprano y modernidad en América Latina,” Vivomatografías, no. 1:
  • 2014. “In Focus: Latin American Film Research in the Twenty-First Century,” co-edited with Dolores Tierney, special section of Cinema Journal vol. 54, no. 1, 112-142.
  • 2014. “A Poetics of the Trace.” In New Documentaries in Latin America. Vinicius Navarro and Juan Carlos Rodríguez, eds. London: Palgrave.
  • 2012 Hollywood, Nuestra América y los Latinos. Havana: Ediciones Unión.
  • 2011 “Geographical Imaginaries,” Studies in Hispanic Cinemas. 7-1: 3-8
  • 2010. “La Hacienda y el Cabaret: Musical Spaces of the Classical Mexican Cinema.” In The International Film Musical. Corey Creekmuer and Linda Mokdad, eds. University of Edinburgh Press.
  • 2009. “Before the Industry: Orol, Bohr and Peon.” In Latsploitation: Exploitation Cinema and Latin America. Victoria Ruetalo and Dolores Tierney, eds. London: Routledge.
  • 2007. “Cuba: A Porous National Cinema.” In The Cinema of Small Nations. Duncan Petrie and Mette Hijorst, eds. University of Edinburgh Press. 179 – 197.
  • 2000. Latin American Cultural Studies. Editor, with Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez. London: Routledge.
  • 2000. “Early Cinema and Modernity in Latin America.” Cinema Journal. 40: 48-78.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: SPAN 4210: Latin American Cinema

Number of Dissertations or Theses Supervised in the Past 5 Years: 9

Full CV or Website
Curriculum Vitae





All Events

Upcoming Events

Lunch with LAGO featuring Ruben Luciano

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Join the Latin Americanist Graduate Organization (LAGO) on Friday, 1/24 at 12pm for the latest installment of our bi-weekly lunch series. Ruben Luciano is a Ph.D. student in the Tulane University History department, specializing in modern Latin American (specifically, Dominican) history, the military under dictatorship, intersectionality, and gender. He also has two Master’s degrees in the Social Sciences and Health Communication. He’ll be speaking on his thesis project, entitled “Queering the Trujillato: Reinterpretations of Loyalty, Criminality, and Homosociality in the Dominican Military from 1930-61.” Afterwards, we’ll open the floor for a Q & A, allowing for further conversation about Ruben’s work, more practical questions about the dissertation research and writing experience, and navigating the grants application process as a Ph.D. student.

The Labyrinth will be serving mini paninis, bagels, savory spreads and dips, desserts (including tres leches cake) and fresh juices. Please come hungry!

Haitian Artists Showcase at Tulane

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HAITIANOLA and the Stone Center present artists from the Jacmel Arts Center in Jacmel, Haiti. This event will feature live dance as well as a discussion on Haitian art and its connection to New Orleans culture.

FLAS Summer Fellowship Application Deadline: February 14th, 2020

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. FLAS fellowships administered by the Stone Center are available to undergraduate and graduate students for the intensive study over the summer of Kaqchikel Maya, Portuguese, or another less-commonly taught Latin American language. Graduate students wishing to engage in intensive study of such a language are encouraged to apply for one of these fellowships. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply; and only intensive summer language programs that meet the FLAS guidelines will be considered. A listing of some of the approved programs is prepared by CLASP and available on-line. Program information and application packets for Tulane sponsored summer language programs can be found here.

The following FAQs offer further information on the application process and program guidelines for undergraduates and graduates respectively:

Summer FLAS FAQ for Undergraduates
Summer FLAS FAQ for Graduate Students

The Stone Center staff held an on-line information session on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. You can access the video and PowerPoint presentation here: FLAS SUMMER APPLICATION MATERIALS for 2020 All materials are PDF files, forms are in fillable PDF format.

All application materials, including the faculty recommendation form, proposal narrative, and financial need statement or FAFSA EFC, should be submitted electronically by email according to the application guidelines. Please review these guidelines carefully.

For questions regarding the FLAS Fellowship, please contact Dr. Jimmy Huck by email at OR Valerie McGinley at

Graduate Student Writing Group

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The Graduate Student Writing Group convenes on Fridays from 1:30 – 3:30 PM. These structured writing sessions are open to Latin Americanist graduate students in all departments. Students, who arrive with a project and a goal, work in communal silence during two 45 minute blocks separated by a 10-minute coffee break. All meetings will be held in the Latin American Library Seminar Room. Co-sponsored by the Stone Center and the Latin American Library.

Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A K-12 Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

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Cost: $3580

Now, in its fifth year, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University are proud to announce the return of our annual two-week summer educator institute exploring the geography, culture and history of Cuba. For an educator, Cuba is rich with lessons to bring into the classroom. This program highlights the important historical and cultural connections between the United States and Cuba. Participants will explore key sites and meet local experts and artists who will provide unique insight for educators who teach such subjects as U.S./Latin American Relations, World Geography, World History, and Spanish among others. Come and visit the site of the historic Bay of Pigs, explore Milton Hershey’s sugar plantation and the Cuban national literacy campaign.

Fill out the online APPLICATION here, due March 15, 2020.

Additional materials needed:
  • Two letters of recommendation (please make sure to have at least one recommendation letter from a colleague at your school) Please email your recommenders the PDF above. They submit via email the complete recommendation letter.
  • Copy of Passport
  • $200 program deposit


  • Lodging at Casa Vera (double occupancy)
  • At least 1 meal a day (at Casa Vera and on excursions)
  • Transportation to/from airport to residence (if you arrive on time)
  • Medical insurance: Each participant will be covered for the entire program length by a travel health insurance policy.
  • Group tours and excursions, with associated transportation


  • Airfare to/from the U.S.: approx. $300-$600
  • Visa: $50-$100 depending on airline
  • Checked luggage ($25) + Overweight baggage: This constitutes anything in excess of maximum allowed luggage weight (50lbs), both going and returning from Cuba.
  • Communication: Internet and long distance/international calls
  • Additional meals (1 a day, snacks)
  • Taxi/ground transportation: Participants are responsible for expenses incurred getting around town during free time.
  • Admission to museums, events, etc.: Participants will be responsible for these expenses unless they are part of itinerary.
  • All materials and personal expenditures
  • Loss/Theft Travel Insurance: Please note only travel medical insurance is included in program. If you would like additional coverage (including insurance for loss of baggage, emergency cash transfers, etc.), it is recommended that you purchase additional insurance.


Please email or call 504.865.5164 for additional details.

Preview the Itinerary here