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Vanessa de Veritch Woodside, Ph.D.

Executive Director
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Spanish and Portuguese
University of New Mexico
Spanish/Hispanic Literature
University of New Mexico
University of California, Santa Barbara


My research focuses on representations of the socioeconomic and psychological effects of transnational migration on women and children in Latino/a literature and film. Such an analysis extends previous work within the realms of border studies, sociology, history, psychology, and literary scholarship that tackles questions of transnational migration and gender, and identifies how recent works serve as a counter-discourse to inflammatory anti-immigrant political rhetoric and legislation.

My interests, of course, are much broader in scope. I also investigate issues of identity, language, cultural mestizaje, narrative subversion, collective memory, and social justice within US-based Chicano/a and Latino/a literature and art, as well as contemporary Latin American narrative. These themes often appear in my Hispanic Studies courses that enable students to comprehend the socio-historical contexts in which literary and cultural artifacts emerged, and create connections between texts and their own lives and communities on the local, national, and global scale.

Current Research

My current projects on families of migration combine analysis of Chicano/Latino texts with sociological, historical, and psychological research as well as real-world experiences of Mexican and Central American migrants living here in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Some of the aspects of this work include:

  • the portrayal of women's (re-)negotiation of personal and cultural identities resulting from their new familial and societal roles because of migration in Latino/a texts and films
  • transnational motherhood as an alternative maternal paradigm and transnational families in contemporary Chicano/a and Latino/a texts
  • Chicana re-writing of predominantly written masculine migrant literature
  • border feminism and development of transborder alliances and cultural coalitions
  • literature and film as effective tools for social justice
  • restoration of the humanity of the figure of the migrant
  • the emergence of children's and young-adult literature dealing with themes of Latino migration
  • questions of voice, authority, and appropriation of culture and experiences

Hispanic Studies students at UW Tacoma have the unique opportunity to take advantage of connections with the Northwest Detention Center (located here in Tacoma) and various local immigrant-advocacy organizations so that what we read about and discuss in the classroom are not abstract concepts, but authentic realities of individuals in our own backyard.


In addition to elementary and intermediate Spanish language courses, I teach interdisciplinary courses in Hispanic literature and cultural studies in Spanish and English:

  • THISP 238 Hispanics/Latinos in the US
  • THISP 267 Introduction to Chicano/a Literature
  • THISP 277 Latin American Literature in Translation
  • THISP 355 Migration and the Transnational Family in Latino Literature and Film
  • TSPAN 335 Hispanic Linguistics
  • TSPAN 388 Contemporary U.S. Latino/a Literature

Future Course Offerings:

  • THISP Migrant Tales
  • THISP Latino ""Artivism"" (Intersections of Latino Art and Activism)
  • THISP Transgressive Women
  • THISP Latino Popular Culture
  • THISP Violence in the Borderlands
  • TSPAN Visions of the Borderlands
  • TSPAN Women's Voices of Resistance
  • TSPAN Hispanic Literature and Human Rights
  • TSPAN Migration, Immigration, and Exile in Hispanic Film and Literature


  • Latin American Studies Association
  • Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association
  • The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
  • National Women Studies Association
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS)

Academic Service

Advisor, UW Tacoma Latino Student Union