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Personal profile

Research Interests

20th and 21st-Century Latin American Literature and Film, with a focus on Mexico and Central America
Environmental Humanities: Posthumanism, Ecocriticism, and Animal Studies
Critical Theories of Race, Gender, and Disability

Professional Information

Carolyn Fornoff's research explores Mexican and Central American culture through the lens of the environment. Thinking with Latin American writers and artists, her work centers the ongoingness of environmental crisis and its origins in extractive settler colonialism.

At present, Fornoff is writing a monograph, Subjunctive Aesthetics: Mexican Cultural Production in the Era of Climate Change, which assesses the contemporary boom in cultural production in Mexico in response to accelerating climate change and extractivist policies. Fornoff's book tracks the different aesthetic and narrative strategies that Mexican writers, filmmakers, and artists use to respond to various manifestations of environmental crisis, including drought, toxicity, the sixth extinction, and the murder of land defenders. She proposes that uniting these aesthetic strategies is the turn away from art's evidentiary function, and toward its subjunctive activation of ways of imagining the world otherwise.

As part of broader research in the environmental humanities, Fornoff has co-edited two collections:

Timescales: Thinking Across Ecological Temporalities (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), co-edited with Bethany Wiggin and Patricia Kim, brings together interdisciplinary research on the question of time in the Anthropocene.

Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema (SUNY Press, 2021), co-edited with Gisela Heffes, theorizes the rich cinematic production coming out of Latin America that attends to environmental questions.

Fornoff also co-leads the inagural HRI Interseminars interdisciplinary cohort, funded by the Mellon foundation, around the theme Imagining Otherwise: Speculation in the Americas.

Dr. Fornoff is an affiliate of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Global Studies, and Media and Cinema Studies. She was named LEAP (Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor) Scholar for 2021-2023.


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
M.A. University of Pennsylvania
B.A. Rice University


  • SPAN 254: Introduction to Cultural Analysis
  • SPAN 326: Beyond the Human: Animals in Latin American Culture
  • SPAN 326: Mexican Cinema
  • SPAN 467: Romance & Race in 19th century Latin American Literature
  • SPAN 468: Latin American Natures
  • SPAN 535: Extractivism and Environments in Latin American Cultural Production
  • SPAN 572: Theory and Literary Criticism

Office Address

4080 FLB
707 S Mathews
M/C 176
Urbana, IL 61801


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