Ben V. Olguín


Ben V. Olguín


Ben V. Olguín is the Robert and Liisa Erickson Presidential Chair in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and has held Ford Postdoctoral and National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Research Fellowships. He has served on the faculty in the English departments at Cornell University and the University of Texas at San Antonio, with visiting appointments in the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Olguín’s interdisciplinary areas of expertise include Chicanx and Latinx Literary and Cultural Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, American and Latin American Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Global Studies, Marxism Studies, Speculative literary and cinema studies, Human Rights theory and praxis, Medical Humanities, and Creative Writing. His research, writing, teaching, and service activities explore the complex relationships between vernacular culture and performances of power and counter-power in local, transnational, cross-border, and hemispheric venues. He pursues this inquiry through interdisciplinary diachronic studies of institutions and contexts, where intersecting and often conflicting cultures, identities, and ideologies are negotiated through literature, performance, visual expression, popular culture, and culture in general.

In addition to articles published in Cultural Critique, American Literary History, Aztlán, Frontiers, Biography, MELUS, and Nepantla, Olguín is the author of La Pinta: Chicana/o History, Culture, and Politics (University of Texas Press, 2010), and Violentologies: Violence, Identity, and Ideology in Latina/o Literature (Oxford University Press, 2021). He is co-editor with Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez (School of Journalism, University of Texas, Austin) of Latina/os and WWII: Mobility, Agency, and Ideology (University of Texas Press, 2014), and co-editor with Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson (English Department, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley) of Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (University of Washington Press, 2017), which received an American Book Award in 2018. His current research includes a third research monograph, Red Raza: Excavations and Explications of the Latinx Revolutionary Tradition; co-edited anthology with Josephine Metcalf, In The Long Run: The Life and Legacy of Luis Rodriguez; and co-edited double dossier in the journal Aztlán, with co-editors Roberto Macias and Cecilia Rivas, titled The Global Latinidades: Transhemispheric Latinx Studies. 

Olguín also is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, founded by Sandra Cisneros, and has authored two collections of poetry: Red Leather Gloves (Hansen Publishing, 2014) offers a candid exposé of hypermasculinist violent spectacles of socialization based on his experiences as an amateur boxer; and At the Risk of Seeming Ridiculous: Poems from Cuba Libre (Aztlán Libre Press, 2014), explores Chicanx internationalism through poetry based on his membership in the Venceremos Brigade, a civilian organization that promotes people-to-people diplomacy through volunteer education and labor activities in Cuba. Current creative projects include a third collection of poetry based on his experiences as a volunteer medic, Pericardial Tamponade, Or This is How You Die; a collection of speculative short stories, Mountain Time; and a trilogy of testimonial travel writing, The Road is Red.

Olguín’s research and teaching are integrated into community service and civic engagement activities across a range of initiatives. These include service learning projects in community centers and schools in underserved communities, solidarity work with prisoners and detainees, as well as activist work in international venues.

Ben V. Olguín