Susanisima

  • Education
  • Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards
  • Research /Teaching Assistant Experience
  • Conferences
  • Professional Experience (selected)

Susana Vargas Cervantes

About

Susana Vargas Cervantes mines the connections between gender, sexuality, class and skin tonalities to reconceptualize pigmentocracy. Deftly navigating between cultures and methodologies that bridge Latin America and Anglo North America, her work relates media and visual culture to theories of performative gender and sex, transnational feminisms, critical race and postcolonial theories and queer and trans theories.

A writer, researcher, activist and curator based in Mexico City and Montréal, Vargas Cervantes holds a Ph.D in Art History and Communication Studies from McGill University, where she wrote Alarma! Mujercitos performing gender in the pigmentocratic sociocultural system of Mexico. That discipline-spanning dissertation, centred on a 1970s true crime magazine and its depictions of “effeminate men,” can be seen in part in the Mujercitos photo book by Barcelona’s Editorial RM, for which she has lectured internationally, as well as in Transgender Studies Quarterly from Duke University Press, a book chapter in La Memoria y el deseo. Estudios gay y queer en México, in peer-reviewed journal Trans* Cultural Production, and in book Aprehendiendo al delincuente: sociedad y medios en Norteamérica, which she co-edited.

Her forthcoming book Killing genders: El/La Mataviejitas, dives deep into the cultural implications of Mexico’s first female serial killer and lucha libre wrestler, analyzing a shift in news media and police discourses around constructions on who counts as a victim and how a criminal is constructed. Her next project theorizes the “pigmentocratic social system” in Mexico, examining skin colour as a marker of class and privilege via an interdisciplinary historical analysis that includes Mexican popular culture and criminology discourses.

Her SSHRC postdoctorate with visual culture scholar Cuauhtémoc Medina at the Institute of Aesthetic Research at the Autonomous Public National University of Mexico followed her doctoral work, alongside lectures in North America, Europe and Mexico. In 2015, she coordinated Mesas de Diálogo: Subjetivación sur-norte, a project at Museo Jumex that created a space of dialogue between North American Anglo theorists and their Latin American counterparts, bringing Judith Butler, Leticia Sabsay, Ma. Amelia Viteri, Ameilia Jones, Eli Vázquez and Dean Spade together in Mexico City for the first time.

As an invited curator of the Jumex Collection, Vargas Cervantes posed the question “Can a work of art be queer?” for the exhibition In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni (2015). Her fellowship project at London’s Tate Modern in 2016 merged archival research for the exhibition “Protest and Propaganda” with co-curating photography exhibition “Stan Inna Firma Inglan” documenting 1960s and 1970s racial tensions in Black communities in London.

⎯⎯

MUJERCITOS

Mujercitos in the red note in Mexico during the 70s

Education

-Currently completing a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral grant at the Institute of Aesthetic Research at The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

– Doctor of Philosophy, Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal, 2008-2013.
Thesis: Alarma! Mujercitos performing gender in the pigmentocratic sociocultural system of Mexico.

– Master’s of Arts, Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal, 2006- 2008. Thesis: Killing Genders in Mexico City: El/La Mataviejitas
Dean’s Honour List.

– Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal, 2001-2002. Graduated with distinction.

Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards

– Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Postdoctoral Scholarships, 2013-2015. – Arts Dissertation Completion Award, 2012. declined

– Media@McGill Graduate Grant, McGill University, 2012.

– Media@McGill Dissertation Completion Grant, 2011

– Arts Graduate Research Travel Award, McGill University, 2011.

– Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement Research Award, 2011.

– Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Joseph- Armand Bombardier- Canada Graduate Scholarships- Doctoral, 2008-2011.

– Fonds Quebecois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, Quebec, Canada. declined.

– Entrance Fellowship, Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, 2008. declined

– Arts Insight Award, 2008.

– Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Internal Research Award, 2007.

– Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada Graduate Scholarships- Master, 2006-2007.

– Office Quebec –Ameriques pour la Jeunesse . Travel Grant, 2006.

– Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) McGill and Concordia and Concordia Student Union, January 2003, For the research project “The Impact of Globalization on Mexican women Health”

– QPIRG and Art Matters at Concordia University, and QPIRG and Center for Research and Teaching on Women at McGill University, March 2002, jointly funded. For the project: “Feminist Festival of Health, Art and Politics”

Research /Teaching Assistant Experience

Lecturer
The queer body in contemporary art
Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas
UNAM
January- May 2014

Research Assistant
“The Urban Night”
Lead by Prof. William Straw McGill University
2013

Teaching Assistant
Coms 210 Intro to Communication Studies Professor: Jonathan Stern
September 2012- December 2012

Lecturer
Anthropology and Semiotics
Centro Diseño Televisión
Mexico City
January 2012 – May 2012

Research Assistant
Bisexual refugee claimant research project
Funded by FQRSC (le Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture)
November 2008- August 2010
Lead by Viviane Namaste, Sean Rehaag and Tamara Vukov

Research Assistant, Art History and Communication Studies,
McGill University
June 2007- August 2012
Supervisor : Will Straw

Teaching Assistant
English 393 Canadian Cinema
January 2008-May 2008
Professor: Alanna Thain

Grader
COMS 310 Media and Feminist Studies December 2007
Professor: Carrie A. Rentschler

Research Assistant
Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University
January 2007- May 2007
Supervisor: Jenny Burman

Conferences

“Alarma!: Son hombres y venden sus caricias como si fueran mujeres”, presentado en Coloquio Nota Roja: Lo Anormal y lo Criminal en la Historia de México, El Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City, August 8, 2014.

“Mujercitos: construcciones sexo-genéricas en la nota roja mexicana en los años setenta” , presented at the symposium  “Periodismo y género en la América Latina de los años cuarenta a los setenta” del XVII Congreso Internacional de AHILA, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, del 9 al 13 de September  2014.

““Qué lío! No se sabe si es mujer u hombre!,” presented at: “Rethinking Race and Sexuality: Feminist Conversations, Contestations, and Coalitions”, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montreal, April 17-19, 2012.

“What a pickle we can’t tell if he is a men or a woman,” presentado en el International Forum for Emerging Scholars: “Synchronicity, Contacts and Divergences in Latin American and U.S. Latino Art. 19th Century to the Present,” University of Texas at Austin, October 25-27, 2012.

“ Alarma!: Ya nadie quiere ser hombre? Más mujercitos!,” presentado en la mesa de trabajo : “La revista Alarma! en sus 50 años de vida: miradas, impacto y utilidad histórica”, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, October 30, 2012

“Que lío no se sabe si es mujer u hombre” (What a pickle we cant tell if he is a men or a women), presented at the conference: American Ethnological Society , Cuny University, New York City, April 19- 21, 2012.

“El que ríe al ultimo ríe mejor: Mujercitos en el Alarma de los años 70s en Mexico,” presented at the conference: Intimidad y Espacio Público, Casa Lamm, Mexico City, February 2011. (also co- organizer)

“He Who Laughs Lasts Laughs Best: Mujercitos en la Nota Roja en Mexico,” presented at the Media and Urban Life research group. Montreal, October 2010.

“Emigrantes bisexuales de México a Canadá,” presented and at the conference: Northern Exposures: recent trends on Canadian Emigration, CISAN, UNAM, Mexico City, April 06, 2010. (also co- organizer)

“El que ríe al ultimo ríe mejor: Mujercitos en el Alarma de los años 70s en Mexico,” presented at the conference: Sociedad: Medios y Crímen en Norte América, CISAN, UNAM, Mexico City, February 19, 2010. ( also co- organizer)

“Beyond autoethnography through a bleeding heart,” presented at the Graduate Speaker Series, Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, November 27, 2008.

“Crime and the City Complex in Mexico City,” presented at the conference: The Intermedial City, Centre de recherché pour l’intermediality and Media @McGill, Montreal, Canada, October 10, 2008.

“The look of a serial killer: El/La Mataviejitas,” presented at the conference: Continuities and Innovations: Popular Print Cultures—Past and Present, Local and Global, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, August 28, 2008.

“Lucha Libre y Criminalidad: La Mataviejitas,” presented at the conference: Identities in Transition, Enkindu Institute, Mexico City, July 6, 2008.

“Retablos como sitio de negociación de Identidad,” presented at the conference: Identities in Transition, Enkindu Institute, Mexico City, July 6, 2008.

“The look of a serial killer: El/La Mataviejitas,” presented at the conference: Crime, Media and Culture: a symposium at McGill University” Montreal, May 19, 2007.

“Remittances as transnational communications,” co-presented with Dr. Jenny Burman at AMEC Conference: “Territory and Society in North America”, Mexico City, February 14, 2007.

“The Impact of Globalisation on Mexican Women’s Health: constituting the menstruating body,” presented at:

The National Meeting of Women Journalists for Culture and Tourism, Oaxaca, Mexico, January 14-16, 2003

The National Coordination of Women from Civil Organisations “for a Feminist Millennium,” Michoacan, Mexico, February 12, 2003

The National Organisation of Feminist Lawyers, Michoacan, Mexico, February 13, 2003 The Organisation for Gender and Empowerment, Queretaro, Mexico, February 18, 2003

Professional Experience (selected)

Conference organizer for the roundtable between Judith Butler and Leticia Sabsay. Performativity, Precariety and Sexual Citizenship.
March 2015
Mexico City
Mesas de dialogo: subjetivación-sur norte

Conference organizer
October- April 2010 CISAN, UNAM
Northern Exposures: recent trends on migration to Canada

Conference co-organizer
October- February 2010 CISAN, UNAM
Crímen: sociedad y medios en Norte America

Research Associate
Keynote Speaker Organizer
September 2007 – May 2008

McGill institute for the Study of Canada
Main organizer for keynote speaker, Carlos Monsiváis

Main organizer for a series of events, including a concert, talks and workshops entitled:
Torta, Tortillera, Dyke: queerness in Buenos Aires, Mexico and Montreal featuring Kumbia Queers and Lesbians on Ecstasy.
July 2008
McGill-Concordia- Gallerie La Centrale- Cagibi- Studio XX