Theresa Delgadillo

Position title: Associate Chair; Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, English and Chican@/Latin@ Studies



Ph.D. in English, University of California at Los Angeles, 2000

M.F.A. in Creative Writing – Fiction, Arizona State University, 1995

B.A. in English, Spanish Minor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1992

Digital Humanities:

Founder of Mujeres Talk (2010-2017) and Co-Founder and current board member of Latinx Talk (2017 to present), an interdisciplinary academic open access publication specializing in short-form research.

Selected Publications


  • “Another Cubanidad, Another Latinidad: Latinx African Diaspora in Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics.Latino Studies Journal. 16:3 (2018): 341-360.
  • “The Ideal Immigrant.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. 36:1 (2011): 37-67.
  • “The Criticality of Latino/a Fiction in the Twenty-First Century.”American Literary History. 23.3 (2011): 600-624.
  • “Singing ‘Angelitos Negros’: African Diaspora Meets Mestizaje in the Americas.” American Quarterly 58.2 (2006): 407-430.
  • “Exiles, Migrants, Settlers, and Natives: Literary Representations of Chicano/as and Mexicans in the Midwest.” JSRI Occasional Paper No. 64.  East Lansing, MI: The Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University, 1999. 1-11.
  • “Forms of Chicana Feminist Resistance: Hybrid Spirituality in Ana Castillo’s So Far from God.” Modern Fiction Studies 44.4 (1998): 888-916.


  • “African, Latina, Feminist, and Decolonial: Marta Moreno Vega’s Remembrance of Life in El Barrio in the 1950s.” Theories of the Flesh: Latinx and Latin American Feminisms, Transformation, and Resistance. Ed. Andrea J. Pitts, Mariana Ortega, and José Medina. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • “Spirituality.” Keywords for Latina/o Studies. Ed. Deborah Vargas, Lawrence LaFountain,  Nancy Mirabal. New York: New York University Press, 2017. [Invited submission, Editor and external peer review]
    • Awards: 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
  • “Bodies of Knowledge.” [republication of chapter from 2011 book Spiritual Mestizaje]  Contemporary Literary Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Today’s Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short-Story Writers, Scriptwriters, and Other Creative Writers. Volume 423. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale/Layman Poupard Publishing, 2018. 102-135.
  • “Latinas Leading in the Midwest Through Work, Coalition, Advocacy.” Co-authored with Janet Weaver. The Latino Midwest Reader. Ed. Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Claire F. Fox, Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2017.
  • …y no se lo tragó la tierra.” Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Volume Two: Dimensions of the Midwestern Literary Imagination.  Ed. Philip A. Greasley. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016.
  • “Latino/a Spirituality.” Chapter in Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature. Edited by Suzanne Bost and Frances R. Aparicio. London: Routledge, 2012. 240-250.
  • Delgadillo (Co-editor), Theresa. Building Sustainable Worlds. University of Illinois Press, 2022. Print.

    Latina/o/x places exist as both tangible physical phenomena and gatherings created and maintained by creative cultural practices. In this collection, an interdisciplinary group of contributors critically examines the many ways that varied Latina/o/x communities cohere through cultural expression. Authors consider how our embodied experiences of place, together with our histories and knowledge, inform our imagination and reimagination of our surroundings in acts of placemaking. This placemaking often considers environmental sustainability as it helps to sustain communities in the face of xenophobia and racism through cultural expression ranging from festivals to zines to sanctuary movements. It emerges not only in specific locations but as movement within and between sites; not only as part of a built environment, but also as an aesthetic practice; and not only because of efforts by cultural, political, and institutional leaders, but through mass media and countless human interactions.

    Read more
  • Delgadillo, Theresa. Latina Lives in Milwaukee. University of Illinois Press, 2015. Print.

    Milwaukee’s small but vibrant Mexican and Mexican American community of the 1920s grew over succeeding decades to incorporate Mexican, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, and Caribbean migration to the city. Drawing on years of interviews and collaboration with interviewees, Theresa Delgadillo offers a set of narratives that explore the fascinating family, community, work, and career experiences of Milwaukee’s Latinas during this time of transformation.

    Through the stories of these women, Delgadillo caringly provides access to a wide variety of Latina experiences: early Mexican settlers entering careers as secretaries and entrepreneurs; Salvadoran and Puerto Rican women who sought educational opportunity in the United States, sometimes in flight from political conflicts; Mexican women becoming leather workers and drill press operators; and second-generation Latinas entering the professional classes. These women show how members of diverse generations, ethnicities, and occupations embraced interethnic collaboration and coalition but also negotiated ethnic and racial discrimination, domestic violence, workplace hostilities, and family separations.

    A one-of-a-kind collection, Latina Lives in Milwaukee sheds light on the journeys undertaken then and now by Latinas in the region, and lays the foundation for the further study of the Latina experience in the Midwest.

    Includes interviews with Ramona Arsiniega, Maria Monreal Cameron, Daisy Cubías, Elvira Sandoval Denk, Rosemary Sandoval Le Moine, Antonia Morales, Carmen Murguia, Gloria Sandoval Rozman, Margarita Sandoval Skare, Olga Valcourt Schwartz, and Olivia Villarreal.

    (From UI Press)

  • Delgadillo, Theresa. Spiritual Mestizaje: Religion, Gender, Race, and Nation in Contemporary Chicana Narrative. Duke University Press, 2011. Print.

    Gloria Anzaldúa’s narrative and theoretical innovations, particularly her concept of mestiza consciousness, have influenced critical thinking about colonialism, gender, history, language, religion, sexuality, spirituality, and subjectivity. Yet Anzaldúa’s theory of spiritual mestizaje has not been extensively studied until now. Taking up that task, Theresa Delgadillo reveals spiritual mestizaje as central to the queer feminist Chicana theorist’s life and thought, and as a critical framework for interpreting contemporary Chicana literary and visual narratives. First mentioned by Anzaldúa in her pioneering book Borderlands/La Frontera, spiritual mestizaje is a transformative process of excavating bodily memory to develop a radical, sustained critique of oppression and renew one’s relation to the sacred. Delgadillo analyzes the role of spiritual mestizaje in Anzaldúa’s work and in relation to other forms of spirituality and theories of oppression. Illuminating the ways that contemporary Chicana narratives visualize, imagine, and enact Anzaldúa’s theory and method of spiritual mestizaje, Delgadillo interprets novels, memoir, and documentaries. Her critical reading of literary and visual technologies demonstrates how Chicanas challenge normative categories of gender, sexuality, nation, and race by depicting alternative visions of spirituality.

    (From Duke University Press)