UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Welcome to new LAIS Graduate Student Marlene Torres-Magaña

Marlene Torres-Magaña received her BA in Chicana/o Studies and Black Studies at UCSB. Read on to learn about what motivated Ms. Torres-Magaña to study Latin America, her current research plans and more!

What motivated you to study Latin America? I

have been studying Latin America since before college mainly through Chicana/o literature. During my undergraduate education, I took many Chicana/o courses that focused on the Chicano/Mexican experience with an emphasis on past and contemporary issues of race, identity, language, and racism. However, Latin America has a diverse population and history which makes it complex and difficult to describe the people with a single ethnic category. This is what motivates me to study Latin America. There is no specific Latin America or culture—rather, it is a combination of indigenous, European, African, and Asian peoples’ history and cultural traditions.   

Why do you believe it’s important to study Latin America? 

For me, it is crucial to study Latin America because it helps inform my understanding of the world, both past and present. Given our current political climate, it is necessary to analyze the impact of colonialism on Latin America and its effect on societies and current mass immigration.   

  What are you currently researching/or planning to research, and why is it important to you? 

 I am currently planning to research Latinx and Afro-Latinx identity formation and how it reflects the long colonial history of racial violence, anti-black, and anti-indigenous racism. This is important to me because I want to highlight the unique experiences of Latinx and Afro-Latinx in the United States and Latin America. Additionally, I want to examine their perceptions of their own identity and how it often differs based on their ethnic background and the communities they are part of, both new and old.    

Any interests beyond academia that you would like others to know about?

 I enjoy spending time with friends, traveling, and discovering new places and new food.