Diana Vélez

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Associate Professor Emeritus

Diana Vélez is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Iowa, specializing in contemporary Spanish American narrative, Carribean literature, Chicano literature & culture, translation studies, and women's studies.


Higher Education

Ph.D, Spanish American Literature, 1982, Columbia University
M.Phil, Spanish American Literature, 1978, Columbia University
MA, Spanish and Spanish American Literature, 1975, Columbia University
BA, Spanish Literature, 1973, City College of New York

Professional and Academic Positions

Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
                            1987-present, University of Iowa

Profesora, September-December 1991
                            Universidad del País Vasco, Spain

Assistant Professor, 1982-1987 University of Iowa

Visiting Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
                         University of Massachusetts-Boston, Summer 1987

Academic Specialist, Summer 1979, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lecturer, 1981-82, University of Iowa

Lecturer, 1976-1977, New Paltz -State University of New York

Instructor, 1975-1976, Hostos Community College
                               City University of New York

Tutor, 1970-1973, Shaughnessy Center, City College of New York and
                               City University of New York

Honors and Awards

NEH Summer Institute: University of California-Santa Cruz, 1989

Developmental Leave Awards: UI 2000, 1992, 1987

Post Doctoral Fellowship, Brown University, 1984-1985

Old Gold Fellowships: 1985, 1984, 1982

Travel Grant, University of Florida-Gainesville, 1984

International Travel Grant UI, 1984

Co-Investigator, Iowa Humanities Grant, 1984

Council on Teaching Course Development Grants: 1984, 1983

Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, 1973-1978

Del Río prize for Academic Excellence: Columbia University 1976

Graduated Cum Laude, City College of New York 1973


Commissioner, Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession
                    Modern Language Association, 1986-1989

Member, Modern Language Association, 1985-91

Member, National Women’s Studies Association 1981-1992

Member, Feministas Unidas, Modern Language Association, 1985-91

Member, Women’s Caucus for Modern Languages,
            Modern Language Association 1985-87

Regional Delegate: Central and Rocky Mountain Region,
            Modern Language Association, January 1983 - December 1985

Member, Latin American Studies Association, 1981, 1983-4, 1992, 2004

Member, Midwest Modern Language Association, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998


Courses taught:

35:103 Writing in Spanish

35:125 Readings in Spanish American Lit and Culture

35:131 Contemporary Spanish American Fiction
35:134 Spanish American Short Story

35:162 Spanish American Women Writers

35:164 Advanced Literary Analysis
35:179 Survey of 20th-Century Puerto Rican Literature

35:195 Senior Seminar- Luis Rafael Sánchez

35:236 Contemporary Spanish American Narrative

35:246 Women Writers of Spanish America

Students supervised:

Degree Objective




PhD (committee member & advisor)

Kathleen Costello


Degree granted

MA (committee member)

Jesus Jambrina


Degree granted


Marci DiVerde


Degree granted


Eduardo Guizar


Degree granted


Patricia Moreno


Degree granted


Patrick Gallagher



PhD (committee member)

Arcea Zapata de Aston


Degree granted

PhD (committee member) 

Luis Morato Lara


Degree granted

PhD (committee member)

Douglas Jensen


Degree granted


Sheree Henlon


Degree granted


Esperanza Helms


Degree granted

PhD (committee member)

Liliana Jurewiez


Degree granted


Steven Skattebo


Degree granted


Carol Wallace


Degree granted

PhD (committee member)

Lissette Rolon-Collazo


Degree granted

MA Martha Lozano 1995-1997 Degree granted
MA Alejandro Sandoval 1995-1997 Degree granted
PhD Ivan Paez 1994-1996 Degree granted
PhD Cecilia Bustamante 1992-1996 Degree granted
PhD (committee member) WaKi Zambrano 1994-1996 Degree granted
PhD (committee member) Deanna Johnson-Hoffman 1993-1995 Degree granted
PhD (committee member) Andrea Liu 1992-1994 Degree granted
PhD (committee member) Jaime Gomez 1991-1993 Degree granted
PhD (committee member) Nancy Beutel 1991-1993 Degree granted


20 per semester



Honors Students

Jennifer Kruse

Esther Ayala




Other contributions to Instructional Programs:

Attendee, ACTFL Oral Proficiency Workshop
         training in language assessment techniques, University of Iowa, 1989

Team Teacher, week-long workshop "Third World Cultures through Literature"
         funded by Iowa Humanities Board: University of Iowa 1986.

Team Teacher (overload) Latin American Studies
                    News Colloquium University of Iowa, 1983, 1984


National Endowment for the Humanities Grants Reader:
Summer 2001 Washington D.C.

Commissioner, Commission on Status of Women in the Profession, Modern Language Association 1986-89

Regional Delegate, Modern Language Association 1983-85

Founding member & contributing editor, Bilingual Review/
La Revista Bilingue, 1973-present.

Member, Curriculum Committee, Women's Studies,
University of Wisconsin, 1979-1981.

Editorial Board and/or Manuscript Reader:

History of Intellectual Culture, University of Calgary

Torre de Papel, Spanish and Portuguese, U. of Iowa

Centro Journal, Hunter College

Americas Review, Houston

Differences, Brown University

Third Woman, Purdue

Feminist Studies, University of Maryland

National Women's Studies Association Journal.

Bilingual Review-Arizona State University.

Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Director, Departmental Colloquium Series, 2004-5

Member, 5-Year Review Committee, Spring 2004

Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee, 1985-1992

Honors Advisor, 1986-89

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Faculty Assembly Alternate, 2004-5

Faculty Assembly Delegate, 2002-3

Faculty Assembly Delegate, 1990-93

Member, Faculty Welfare Committee, Spring 1990

Faculty Assembly Delegate, 1985-88

External Review Committee, member
African American World Studies Program Spring 1987-1988

Member, Women's Studies Program Steering Committee, 1985-1986

University of Iowa

Member, University-wide committee investigating possibility of Latino Studies major at the University of Iowa, 2003-4

Organization and publicity for Art Museum Sand Mandala, built by 12 Tibetan Buddhist Nuns from Katmandu, with funding from an an Arts & Humanities Initiative grant.  Second-most well-attended event in Museum’s history, according to Museum Director.

Advisory Board on Ford Foundation Race Relations and Cultural Diversity Project, University of Iowa, 1990-91

Chair, Latin American Studies Program, 1991

President, UI Humanities Society, 1989-1990

Chair, Women in International Development, 1987-88

Departmental Liaison, UI Affirmative Action Office, 1988-1990

Affirmative Action Liaison, Admissions Committee, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Fall 1985-Summer 1986 and Spring 1989

Member, Liberal Arts Dean Search Committee, September 1983-Spring 1984

Member, Latin American Studies Program Steering Committee, 1982-2000

Founding member of Steering Committee, ‘Women against Racism’ Conferences held at the University of Iowa: Spring 1981; Spring 1983; Spring 1989.

Translation assistant to Osha Davidson for on FBI: "The Bureau Goes to San Juan," The Nation, 7 November 1988. (Institutional Affiliation Noted)

Speaker, Human Relations Classes, School of Education, 1981-84.

Service on PhD, MFA, MA Committees in Anthropology, Women’s Studies, American Studies, History, English, Translation Workshop, Comparative Literature, Art School and School of Education, 1982-present.

Iowa City Area Community

Outreach Lectures on Buddhism: World Religion Classes, West High School; Talks on Buddhism at Episcopalian, Unitarian & Methodist Churches-Iowa City: 1998-present.

Speaker, Human Relations in Education, Grant Wood Educational Agency, Fall 1981-Spring 1983.

State of Iowa

Iowa Humanities Board evaluator, League of United Latin American Citizens Conference “Tomorrow’s Latinos Today” in Davenport, April 1982


Research Interests

Theories of the human subject, especially Lacanian Psychoanalysis & Tibetan Buddhism; Colonial and Post-colonial discourses; Diaspora/Borders Theories; U.S. Latinos and the Caribbean; Women's writing; Translation theory; Resistance literatures.


Refereed Books

Book, Reclaiming Medusa: Short Stories by Contemporary Puerto Rican Women Revised and expanded; includes five new short story translations new “translator's essay.” San Francisco: Aunt Lute 1997.

Translation, Quintuplets, by Luis Rafael Sánchez—play produced off Broadway by Puerto Rican Traveling Theater NYC 1989.

Book, Reclaiming Medusa:  Short Stories
by Contemporary Puerto Rican Women, Anthology of my own translations of short stories by Puerto Rican women including essays titled "Critical Introduction" and "Translators Note," Spinsters-Aunt Lute, 1988.
books cover

Refereed Articles

Entry, "Mayra Santos-Febres" Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History Jeff Lehman & Christine Slovey, Macmillan Reference USA (IN PRESS)

Entry, "Pedro Pietri" Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, Suzanne Oboler & Deena González, eds, NY: Oxford University Press. IN PRESS

Translation, "Peter Rabbit Carrot Packing Factory short story by Marlena Corcoran in www.gender(f).org

Translation, poem: "Death's a Good Teacher" ("La muerte es una buena maestra" by Oscar Hahn), El Paso: Río Grande Review 24 (Fall'04) 90-95.

Article, "Ana Lydia Vega's 'Pasión de historia:'A Text Within Two Genres" Torre de Papel 1-2 (Spr-Summer 2004) 44-51.

Article, "Pedro Pietri," The Scribner Writers Series Latino and Latina Writers, V.2, Alan West Durán, Editor, 2004 NY: Charles Scribner's Sons: 935-949.

Article, "Narrative Closure and 'Woman': the Case of Vírgenes y mártires"   NYC: Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies XV:174-189.

Translation, "Peter Rabbit Carrot Packing Factory," short story by Marlena Corcoran, Tameme: New Writing from North America, I,3:126-128 (2003)

Article, "La clausura narrativa y 'la mujer': el caso de Vírgenes y mártires" Anclajes: Revista del Instituto de Análisis Semiótico del Discurso (Santa Rosa, Argentina) VII,7: December 2003

Translation, “The Youngest Doll” in Reading the World: Contemporary Literature from Around the Globe, Logan, IA: Perfection Learning 2003:81-87.

Translation, "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" essay by Cuban playwright Abelardo Estorino.  Torre de papel (incomplete reference)

Article, "A Puerto Rican Story:Family Installments by Edward Rivera" NYC:Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies XIV, 1: 140-147.

Book review of Ernesto Cardenal's correspondence with Thomas Merton, Revista Iberoamericana Spring 2000.

Translation Reissue: "The Writer’s Kitchen" The Gale Group: Short Story Criticism V. 36, 2000:140-146.

Translation reissue: “Power and the Text: Rebellion in Rosario Ferré's 'Papeles de Pandora'" The Gale Group: Short Story Criticism V. 36 2000:135-140.

Article, "Anger, Resentment and the Place of Mind in Academia" Is Academic Feminism Dead? Theory in Practice, edited by The Social Justice Group at the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies, University of Minnesota. NYU Press, 2000.

Article, “We Are (Not) in This Together: The Caribbean Imaginary in ‘Encancaranublado’ by Any Lydia Vega” Callaloo 17.3(1994)826-833, 1994.

Article, "Bakhtin and Puerto Rican Narrative: Heteroglossia in Luis Rafael Sanchez's La importancia de llamarse Daniel Santos" Dispositio 16.41:133-144, 1992.

Translation, “Pico Rico, Mandorico” by Rosario Ferré, How We Live Now:Contemporary Multicultural Literature, ed. John Repp, Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1992:861-866.

Translation, "The Airbus"/"La guagua aérea" for catalog of exhibit "La casa de todos nosotros" Curator: Antonio Martorell, MUSEO DEL BARRIO, 5th Avenue, NYC 1992-1993

Translation, "ADJ,Inc." by Ana Lydia Vega, Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam, ed. Liza Paravisini-Gebert and Carmen Esteves, Rutgers University Press, 1991.

Translation "The Poisoned Story" by Rosario Ferré, Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam, ed. Liza Paravisini-Gebert and Carmen Esteves, Rutgers University Press, 1991.

Translation reissue: "The Youngest Doll," World Literature, McDougal, Litell Evanston, IL:1991.

Article, "Julia de Burgos" in Escritoras de hispanoamerica, ed. Diane E. Marting, Mexico D.F.: Siglo XXI, 1990:89-97.

Translation, "Camera Obscura" short story by Angelica Gorodischer Latin American Literary Review XIX, 37 (Jan-Jun 1991):96-105.

Translation, "Camera Obscura" simultaneously issued in book Scents of Wood and Silence: Short Stories by Latin American Women, ed. Kathleen Ross and Yvette E. Miller, Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1991: 96-105.

Translation, "The Youngest Doll,” by Rosario Ferre, in collaboration with the author, The Youngest Doll, University of Nebraska Press, New York and London: 1991:1-6.

Translation, "The Poisoned Story," by Rosario Ferre, in collaboration with the author, The Youngest Doll, University of Nebraska Press, New York and London: 1991:7-18.

Translation, "Sleeping Beauty," by Rosario Ferre, in collaboration with the author, The Youngest Doll, University of Nebraska Press, New York and London: 1991: 89-120.

Translation, "The Poisoned Tale," by Rosario Ferre, in collaboration with author, Short Stories by Latin American Women" The Magic and the Real, ed. Celia Correas de Zapata, Houston: Arte Público Press, 1990: 64-73.

Article "Julia de Burgos," Spanish-American Women Writers: A Bio-bibliographical Source Book ed. Diane Marting, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1990: 85-93.

Article "Aspects of the Language Debate in Puerto Rico," Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue, XII, 3 (September-December 1986):3-11.

Article "Pedro Pietri," Biographical Dictionary of Hispanic Literature in the U.S. Nicolás Kanellos,ed. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Book chapter, "Cultural Constructions of Women by Contemporary Puerto Rican Women Authors" The Puerto Rican Woman:  A Psychosocial Approach to Lifespan Developmental Issues, ed. Cynthia García Coll & Lourdes Mattei, Praeger 1989.

Book Review, "Four Recent Books on Women's Fiction from Latin America," National Women's Studies Association Journal, I, 3 1989: 525-529.

Translation poem "Accusative Case--If You Have Not for Just an Instant Died"  "Caso Acusativo--Si no has muerto un instante," by Angela Figuera Aymerich, Alaluz XX, (1988):30.

Article, "Dancing to the Music of An` Other' Voice," Trumpets from the Islands of Their Eviction, Bilingual Press, 1987:69-89.

Translation in collaboration with the author, "The Youngest Doll" by Rosario Ferré‚ Feminist Studies, XII, 2(1986):243-249.

Translation of "The Kitchen of Writing," by Rosario Ferre, Feminist Studies, XII, 2 (Summer 1986): 227-242.

Translation Reissue: "The Kitchen of Writing" in Doris Meyer, ed., Lives on the Line:  Testimonials of Contemporary Latin American Authors, California University Press, 1986:68-76.

Article "'Pollito Chicken': Split Subjectivity, National Identity and the Articulation of Female Sexuality in a Narrative by Ana Lydia Vega," Americas Review, XIV, 2 (1986):68-76.

Review essay "Los zapatos de Papi son de cart¢n:  Edward Rivera's Family Installments"in Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue XII-, 1-2 (Jan-Aug 1985):156-158.

Article "The Shift in Luis Rafael Sánchez' Narrative Style"  Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue, XI, 7 (Jan-Apr 1984): 40-47.

Translation "The Airbus," by Luis Rafael Sánchez, Village Voice, XXIX, 5 (January 31, 1984): 39-43.  (Translation Appeared subsequently in San Juan Star, Caribbean Review & in Museo del Barrio museum exhibit catalog (see above).

Book review,Theory and Practice of Feminist Literary Criticism, Gabriela Mora and Karen s. Van Hooft, eds.Third Woman Press II, 2 (1984):125-127.

Article "Power and the Text:  Rebellion in Rosario Ferré's Papeles de Pandora," Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, 17, 1 (Spring 1984):70-80.

Collaborator, Selector's Guide for Bilingual Education Materials,V I- II: 73-74.

Review Essay "The Reality of the Chicanos," Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue II, 1-2 (1975):203-207.

Review Essay "Exposing the Showcase," Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue, I, 1 (1974):203-207.

Grants Funded - internal:  Arts and Humanities Grant

UI Art Museum Sand Mandala Exhibit, $5,000
                      “Principal Investigator” 1999

Funding Proposals - Submitted, But Not Funded

Arts and Humanities Initiative 2004

Invited Lectures and Conference Presentations


"Vieques, or Pardon my Militaristic Speech" Latin American Studies Conference, Washington D.C. September 2001

“Ana Lydia Vega’s “Encancaranublado-between Borders and Diasporas for "Borders & Diasporas Conference organized by James Clifford: University of California-Santa Cruz, April 3-4, 1992.

"El puertorriqueño móbil en la literatura contemporánea" "Cultural Conflict in Contemporary Literature " University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, February, 1991.

"La imposibilidad de la posición femenina en `Milagros, calle Mercurio' de Carmen Lugo Filippi," Creación femenina en el mundo hispánico conference, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, November 1987.

"La técnica de la decentralización narrativa en ‘La bella durmiente' de Rosario Ferré".  Latin American Studies Association Congress, Mexico City, September 1983.


“Thinking, Writing, Teaching and Creating Social Justice” University of Minnesota: April 1994.

"Ana Lydia Vega and Friends" Meet the Writers Conference, University of Iowa: November 1994.

"Contemporary Puerto Rican Women Writers" Latin American Politics and Art Conference, Grinnell College: April 1991.

"The Necessary Subversion of Ana Lydia Vega" Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, IL: December 1990

"Institutional Constraints on a Radical Vision" at Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, IL: December 1990.

"Gender Assignments and Their Subversion in Puerto Rican Narrative: the Case of Virgenes y martires" “Islands in Time: Identity and Culture in the Caribbean Conference,” University of Iowa: October 1990.

"The Male Gaze, The Female Subject Position, and the Impossibility of Writing ‘Woman’ in Contemporary Feminist Puerto Rican Narrative” University of Minnesota: October 1990.

"Dialogism in Contemporary Puerto Rican Narrative" Notre Dame University, Notre Dame IN: March 1990.

"Legal Aspects of Translation" American Literary Translators Association conference: University of Iowa: November 1989.

Workshop leader, American Literary Translators Association Conference: University of Iowa November: 1989.

"Puerto Rico and the Necessary Subversion of Ana Lydia Vega" University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI: October 1989.

“Dialogism in Rosario Ferré’s Work" Modern Language Association Convention,  New Orleans: December 1989.

"The Carnivalesque in Luis Rafael Sánchez's latest fiction," Midwest Modern Language Association Convention, Minneapolis: November 1989.

"Translating for the Stage:  Quíntuples, by Luis Rafael Sánchez," CUNY Graduate Center, NYC, April 1989.

"Writing from the Margins:  Contemporary Puerto Rican Women Writers," National Women's Studies Association Conference, Minneapolis, June 1988.

Moderator, "Chicano Literature and Art" Panel, “Latinos in the U.S.” Conference, University of Iowa: April 1988.

Reading: "The Case Against 'Tokenism'" by Rev. Martin Luther King, MLK Celebration "In His Own Words" University of Iowa: January 1988.

"Chicano-Puerto Rican Literary Relations" Modern Language Association Convention, NYC: December, 1986.

Organized and moderated panel, "Testimonial Literature in Latin America" Midwest Modern Language Association Conference:" Chicago, November 1986.

"Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies: Finding Ourselves in the Academy" ‘Women against Racism Conference,’ University of Iowa: Spring 1986.

Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Development, Pembroke Center, Brown University: January 1986.

"The Articulation of Female Sexuality in Two Narratives by the Puerto Rican Ana Lydia Vega:" Modern Language Association Conference, Chicago, IL: December 1985.

Lecture, "Writing by Hispanic Women in the U.S." in panel on "Hispanic Literature in the U.S." IX Symposium on Spanish and Portuguese Bilingualism, New York University: November 1985.

Panel Moderator, "Hispanic Literature in the U.S." Hispanics in the United States Conference, Brown University: April 1985.

Read my translations of Luis Rafael Sánchez's work "The Island and the World" conference, SUNY Albany: March 1985.

"Bakhtinian Dialogism and the Study of Colonial Discourses on Gender" Construction of Gender Workshop, Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women, Brown University: May 1985.

“The Discourse on `Woman' in Contemporary Puerto Rican Narrative and Poetry: The Articulation of Sexualitie(s)," Gender Workshop, Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women, Brown University: October 1984.

"An Exploration of Bilingual Education as a Vehicle for Expanding Foreign Language Studies."  Annual State League of United Latin American Citizens Conference, Des Moines, Iowa, March 1984.

"Power and the Text:  Rebellion in Rosario Ferre‚'s Papeles de Pandora"  Modern Language Association Conference, New York City: December 1983.

"Language in Luis Rafael Sánchez's Fiction."  El español en los estados unidos Conference, Bloomington, Indiana: October 1982.