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World Languages & Cultures | Suárez, Lucía M.
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Suárez, Lucía M.

Associate Professor - Spanish, US Latinx Studies

Lucía M. Suárez has written and taught extensively on the literary production of Caribbean 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, cultural production of the Comparative-Caribbean, Latin/x memoirs and the meaning of writing lives, social mobility and cultural survival through Afro-Bahian dance and international performance.


She is the author of The Tears of Hispaniola: Haitian and Dominican Diaspora Memory (Florida University Press, 2006) and co-editor, with Ruth Behar, of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World (Palgrave McMillan, 2008). Her longstanding work in Brazil’s Northeast shapes two projects: the forthcoming publication of Dancing Bahia: Essays on Afro-Brazilian Dance, Education, Memory, and Race, an international collaboration with Amélia Conrado and Yvonne Daniel, and her single-author book manuscript in progress, Seeking Survival in Salvador.  Suárez’s articles, reviews, and creative writing have appeared in collections and journals that include The Cambridge Companion to Latina/o Literature, Cuban Studies, World Literature Today, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Transforming Anthropology, Michigan Quarterly Review, Meridians, Journal of Haitian Studies, Callaloo, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Latin American Literary Review, and Macomère.


Dr. Suarez’s ongoing work has received generous support from numerous institutions and foundations, which include 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.


Before her academic career, Dr. Suárez’s life was dedicated to dance performance. She studied at the Neubert Ballet Institute at Carnegie Hall, Alvin Ailey’s, and with the New York City Ballet’s Summer Program in Saratoga Springs.  As an academic, part of the joys of her research has included taking dance classes with Grupo Corpo in Belo Horizonte, being a participant observer, in Bahia with Viver Brasil’s summer programs, and even participating in classes with Balé Folklórico da Bahia.


She feels blessed to have a job where she can dedicate herself to teaching, exploring the cultures of the world and the myriad ways by which they are interconnected through language, culture, and the arts.

Single Author Books

Edited Books

  • Dancing Bahia: Essays on Afro-Brazilian Dance, Education, Memory, and Race, co-edited volume with Amélia Conrado and Yvonne Daniel (forthcoming, Intellect Press, UK/University Press of Chicago, US, July 2018).
  • The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Co-edited volume with Ruth Behar, contributed one of a two-part introduction, “Our Memories, Ourselves,” New Directions in Latino American Culture Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Journal Articles & Book Chapters




  • University of Michigan Book Series. Interview Discussion of Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World, with Ruth Behar and Larry La Fountain Stokes. https://vimeo.com/6754164




  • 2011    Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar, The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), Harvard University, January to June
  • 1999    Rockefeller Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow in Latin America Centro de Estudos Literarios da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Modernidades Tardias No Brasil, Belo-Horizonte, Brazil, January to August

Selected Awards & Honors

  • 2017  Publication Subvention, Iowa State University Publication Endowment, ISU Foundation
  • 2014  Engaged Scholarship Initiative, Center for Community Engagement Summer Grant for Research, Amherst College
  • 2006, 2011, 2013   Faculty Research Award Program (small grant), Amherst College
  • 2010-2011   Amherst College Trustee Faculty Fellowship Sabbatical Award
  • 2009 Five College Summer Writing Program Fellow
  • 2008   Faculty Innovation Fund Award
  • 2008   Faculty Research Award Program (large grant), Amherst College
  • 2008   Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, Spring, Amherst College
  • 20072008   Ford Foundation Fellow
  • 2006   Featured Emerging Scholar, Diverse Issues in Higher Education Magazine, January 12
  • 2003   Rackham Grant and Fellowship Program Award, University of Michigan
  • 2001-2002  Woodrow Wilson Faculty Career Enhancement Fellow, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
  • 2001   Faculty Career Development Award, University of Michigan
  • 2001   Rackham Summer Interdisciplinary Institute Fellow, “Motion and Emotion,” University of Michigan
  • 2001   Research Grant, University of Michigan, for research in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
  • 1999-2000   Autobiography Working Group Grant, Institute for the Research on Women and Gender, with Sidonie Smith, Women’s Studies Department, University of Michigan
  • 1996   Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Duke University
  • 1992   FLAS, Foreign Language and Area Studies Award to participate in an intensive advanced Portuguese course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, summer
  • 1989- 91    Mellon Mayes Undergraduate Fellow
  • 1988-91     National Hispanic Scholarship Fund Award
Picture of Lucia Suarez


Office: 3246 Pearson Hall

Phone: (515) 294-0687
Email: lsuarez@iastate.edu