Lucía M. Suárez

Director of U.S. Latino/a Studies & Associate Professor of Spanish & USLS


Dept:World Languages And Cultures
Office:3246 Pearson
505 Morrill Rd.
Ames IA


Lucía M. Suárez has written and taught extensively on the literary production of the Caribbean and its Diaspora authors, claiming their islands and framing their identities through memory and emotion, within a human rights context. Through her research, writing and teaching, she examines the politics of belonging and exclusion, more specifically the dynamics of social mobility through the arts, literature, literacy, dance and performance. Dr. Suárez focuses on Cuban and Cuban-American identity and memory, the cultural production of the Comparative-Caribbean, Latina/o/x life narratives, social mobility and cultural survival through Afro-Brazilian dance and performance.

At Iowa State University, she has the pleasure of teaching all levels of Spanish language, Textual and Media Analyses, oral history, the Senior Seminar on Latina/o/x Memoirs, and diversity courses such as Introduction to Latino/a Studies (online and face to face). Enthusiastically, she encourages all her students to be compassionate, informed, local and global citizens.

As the director of the US Latino/a Studies Program, she focuses on building community through outreach, community service learning, and internships that provide high impact learning. She has spearheaded the USLS/Parks Library partnership with Voces of a Pandemic at the University of Texas, Austin, which collects Iowa Latinx life stories for a digital, national archive.

She is the author of The Tears of Hispaniola: Haitian and Dominican Diaspora Memory (Florida University Press, 2006), co-editor, of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World (Palgrave McMillan, 2008), with Ruth Behar, Dancing Bahia: Essays on Afro-Bahian Dance, Education and Memory (Intellect UK/University of Chicago Press, US, 2018), an international collaboration with Amélia Conrado and Yvonne Daniel (Special citation for the 2019 Dance Studies Association de la Torre Bueno© Award), and guest editor of a special issue for Diálogo Journal, Building Latina/o/x Studies: Case Samples from the Midwest (Issue 24.2, Fall 2021, published and distributed 2023). The Portuguese translation of Dancing Bahia is out with EDUFBA (Federal University of Bahia Press, 2023).

Currently, Suárez is working on two single-author book manuscripts, BELONGING: Latina Life Stories in Global Context (working title) and Dance Connections: Afro-Bahian Cultural Preservation and Transnational Social Mobility (working title).

Dr. Suarez’s ongoing work has received generous support from numerous institutions and foundations, which include the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and a residency at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLS) at Harvard University.