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  Rodrigo Lazo

Rodrigo Lazo


(949) 468-8648



Humanities Division

Literature Department
Latin American & Latino Studies



Regular Faculty

American Studies

Humanities Building 1

Tuesday 1-2, Thursday 5-6 and by Appointment

Literature Department

Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 8. I attended Hollywood High School, where I was editor of the school newspaper and served as senior class president. I did my undergradute work in history at Occidental College and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University before taking a position as a staff writer at the Miami Herald during years when newspapers were still a major source of communication. I earned an MA and PhD in English at the University of Maryland, where I was supported by a fellowship and caring mentors. My first academic job was at Miami University in Ohio; I then moved to the University of California, Irvine as a professor of English from 2004 - 2023. In my final year at Irvine, I served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In the fall of 2023, I moved to UC Santa Cruz and  now teach courses in English and Spanish. At Santa Cruz, I work with faculty and administrators across campus as Director of Hispanic Serving Research Initiatives.   

I am a scholar of American literature broadly conceived across the Americas, with specialties in the nineteenth century, print culture, and archival studies. Most of my rearch is on writers who cross the Americas and conceptualize new ways to publish and circulate their writing, often with the goal of enacting social and political transformation. My research is in dialogue with migration studies, Latin American Studies, Latino/a/x/e studies, and US literary history. I focus on a variety of writers and intellectual figures, including José Martí, Herman Melville, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, and Vicente Rocafuerte. My most recent book is Letters from Fialdelfia: Early Latino Literature and the Trans-American Elite, which won the best book in Early American Literature in 2022. I have edited special issues for the journals Leviathan and Early American Literature, and I am a general editor of The Broadview Anthology of American Literature. In summer 2024, I am teaching a weeklong seminar in the History of the Book with Professor Patrick Erben at the American Antiquarian Society in Massachusetts on "Comparative Migrations and Multilingual Cultures of Print."  

Current Projects:


Book-length study: A History of Spanish-Language Newspapers in the 19th-Century United States


Articles: 1) "Cultures of US Torture," forthcoming Cambridge History of Empire and US Lit 2) a study of Hache Carrillo's bilanguaging 3) "Queering Fildelfia" on poetry and homosociality 4) José Martí's Jefferson Davis 5) Article on J. Delgado Lopera's Fiebre Tropical



I teach courses in US literature, Latin American literature, Latino/a/x/e literature, and and print culture studies. My recent offerings include a senior seminar on Moby-Dick, a survey of nineteenth-century Latin American literature (in Spanish), and a graduate course on Migrations. In 2024-25, I will teach Lit 1, Introduction to Literary Studies (fall), a graduate seminar titled "Print Culture and Archives" (fall), and "El Siglo XIX" (spring). I am currently directing two dissertations and serving on graduate committees. 


2022 - Best Book in Early American Literature - Letters from Filadelfia: Early Latino Literature and the Trans-American Elite (U of Virginia Press, 2020)


2012 - Faculty Mentoring Award, Associated Graduate Students of UC Irvine


2005 - Historical Society of Pennsylvania/ Balch Institute research fellowship


2001-2002 - National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship


1997 - Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage research grant



Letters from Filadelfia: Early Latino Literature and the Trans-American Elite. U of Virginia Press, 2020


Writing to Cuba: Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States. U of North Carolina Press, 2005


The Latino Nineteenth Century, co-edited with Jesse Alemán. NYU Press, 2016.


Selected Articles:

“Still Anonymous: Jicotencal and the Authority of Labor” Early American Literature 58.3 (2023): 703-717.


“Israel Potter Deported.” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 22.1 (March 2020): 146-165.


“Migrant Archives: New Routes in and Out of American Studies,” in States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies, ed. Russ Castronovo and Susan Gillman. (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

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