Laura Senio Blair
Professor of Spanish
Areas of expertise
20th and 21st Century Hispano American Narrative and Drama. Chilean Narrative, Drama and Film. Hispanic Film.
Ph.D., University of Kansas, Lawrence 2002
MA, University of Colorado, Boulder 1994
BA, Whitman College 1992
Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies
August 01, 2002 - present
Universidad Catolica de la Santisima Concepcion
March 01, 2012 - August 10, 2012
I believe that the role of an educator is to be a supportive and energetic facilitator
who has a duty and the privilege to help foster a teachable and learner-centered
environment in which any and every student can thrive.
Whether teaching language level courses or advanced seminars, I endeavor to
create a comfortable atmosphere that presents intellectual materials to my students in
varied formats and multiple contexts. The goal of each and every one of my classes is to
implement both language acquisition and critical thinking skills that work to expand my
student’s intellectual and creative capacity. The second goal I have for my students is to
help them improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities from whichever
level they begin. However, I believe that it is this last skill that grounds my classroom
and assigned homework activities: to acquire cultural awareness and appreciation. To this
end, I am passionate about serving as a role model and ambassador for cultural
consciousness and understanding inside the classroom, in the hallways, during my office
hours and with extra-curricular activities.
20th and 21 Century Chilean Literature, Drama and Film
Southern Cone Literature, Theatre, Film and Cultural Studies
Hispanic Road Movies
Filming Exile: Chilean Documentaries
Bordering Adolescence: Latin American Youth in Road Films La misma luna and Sin nombre
After the success of Y tu mamá también (Mexico, Alfonso Cuarón 2001) and Diarios de motocicleta (Brazil, Walter Salles 2004), many Latin American road movies followed suit by borrowing Hollywood’s filmic blueprint for expressing young adult rebellion against constrictive social norms and oppressive social circumstances. Latin American film critics pursued the trend, studying close versions of the formula that featured the outlaw-couple-on-the-run: the identity quest of young adults and their search for freedom. Nevertheless, few critics have analyzed the narrativity of these road adventures, Latin American or otherwise, when said outlaws are not young adults but children or adolescents. In La misma luna (2007) and Sin nombre (2009), two recent road films concerning illegal immigration across the US-Mexico border, Mexican director Patricia Riggen (1970) and Californian director Cary Fukunaga (1977), respectively, re-appropriate and transform the established characteristics of the old Hollywood genre and in doing so revitalize the road film’s objective and reach. By moving the road movie trope from its point of origin—from “Sunset Boulevard” to “South of the Border”—and highlighting the purpose and agency that their young protagonists develop and sustain throughout their travels north, these films foreground the literal and metaphorical borders that undocumented and unaccompanied minors risk their lives to cross. Riggen and Fukunaga veer away from the law-breaking zeal typically exhibited by road film protagonists by evoking the innocence commonly ascribed to children and presenting unsullied images of their faces that work in sharp contrast to the inhospitable and dangerous borderlands they navigate. By reshaping the characteristics of the Hollywood genre, these directors move beyond depicting mainstream youth culture and coming-of-age experiences, reminding their audience of a too often forgotten part of the immigrant experience: unaccompanied minors and their illegal entrance into the United States.
“Across Continents and Seas: The Filmic Works of Angelina Vázquez” in Nomadías: El cine de Marilú Mallet, Valeria Sarmiento y Angelina Vázquez. Eds. Catalina Donoso and Elizabeth Ramírez. Iniciativa Bicentenario de la Universidad de Chile y de Santander Universidades-Universidad de Warwick. Forthcoming January 2015.
“Bordering Adolescence: Latin American Youth in Road Films La misma luna and Sin nombre” in Screening Minors in Latin American Cinema. Eds. Carolina Rocha and Georgia Seminet. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014. 119-131.
"Angelina Vázquez y el lente circular del exilio: (re)fundar la identidad chilena por el medio fílmico." Aisthesis: Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile 54.2 (2013): 223-236. http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0718-71812013000200012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es
"Driving Class Conflict: Taxis and Taxistas in Contemporary Chilean Cinema." Letras Hispanas 8.1 (2012) 21-31.
"Chilean Theatre: 1900-Present," "Fernando Alegria," "Carlos Droguett," "Ergon Wolff," "Sergio Vadonovic." World Literature in Spanish: An Encyclopedia. Eds. Maureen Ihrie and Salvador A. Oropesa. Westport: ABC-CLIO, 2011.
"Residual Effects: The Recurring Theme of Incest in Contemporary Chilean Women's Narrative." Letras femeninas 36.2 (2010) 183-198.
"A Retrospective on Chilean Film." Program Notes for the Cine las Americas Hispanic Film Festival in Austin, April 2009.
"Bridges Between the Divide: The Female Body in Y tu mama tambien and Machuca." Studies in Hispanic Cinema 4.1 (2007): 47-62.
"Betwixt and Between: Finding Home Again in Chilean Returnee Literature." The Latin Americanist 50.1 (2006): 7-23.
"New ways of thinking about Home: Alberto Fuguet's Representation of the Return." Monograph Series from the NAAAS and Affiliates. NAASA National Convention: Houston, 2005: 1119-1132.
Follow me on Academia. edu: https://southwestern.academia.edu/LauraSenioBlair
Seminars & Presentations
Renegotiating Gendered and Racialized (Excluded) Subjectivities in Times of Neoliberal Crises into the Track: Gender and Feminst Studies for the LASA Congress San Juan, Puerto Rico 2015.
Retrospectiva Chilena: Nomadias: Directoras chilenas en el exilio. "Angelina Vazquez" XX Festival Internacional de Cine de Valdivia (2013). Valdivia, Chile October 2013.
Honors & Awards
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar "Jewish Buenos Aires" July 2014;
Fulbright Scholar Recipient (2012);
American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow (2009-2010);
P.E.O. Scholar Award for Academic Achievement in Graduate Studies (1997-1998);
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Award for International Studies (1994-1995).
Groups & Affiliations
MLA, AILCFH, SCMLA, SCOLAS, LASA, ADF, PCA