Carolyn Fornoff

Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies


Carolyn Fornoff’s research explores cultural responses to environmental crisis in Latin America, with a particular focus on Mexico and Central America. It asks how art helps narrate and make sense of problems like climate change that are temporally expansive and often difficult to see with the naked eye. She is the coeditor of two volumes in the environmental humanities: Timescales: Thinking Across Ecological Temporalities (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) and Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema (SUNY Press, 2021).

Fornoff is currently finalizing a book-length project, Subjunctive Aesthetics: Mexican Cultural Production in the Era of Climate Change, which traces how contemporary filmmakers and writers in Mexico have shifted away from art’s evidentiary function (its ability to prove environmental crisis) and toward more subjunctive registers of hypothesis and uncertainty that grapple with how the world could be imagined otherwise. A companion article to this work, “Planetary Poetics of Extinction in Contemporary Mexican Poetry,” was awarded the 2022 LASA Mexico Forum Best Article in the Humanities Prize.

Prior to joining Cornell, Fornoff taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is from Austin, Texas. She serves on the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Environmental and E-Waste Committee, and the Hispanic Review advisory board.

Research Focus

  • Mexican and Central American Studies
  • Literature, Film, and Visual Culture in Modern and Contemporary Latin America
  • Environmental Humanities: Ecocriticism, Posthumanism, Animal Studies
  • Critical Race, Gender, and Disability Studies


“Reflexive Extractivist Aesthetics.” FORMA Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2023, pp. 37-69.

 “Greening Mexican Cinema.” Ecocinema Theory and Practice 2, edited by Stephen Rust, Selma Monani, and Seán Cubitt, Routledge, 2023, pp. 34-51.

“#BertaVive: Teaching Environmental Justice through Central American Culture.” Teaching Central American Literature in a Global Context, edited by Gloria Elizabeth Chacón and Mónica Albizúrez Gil, MLA Press, 2022, pp. 315-325.

“Adapting Race: El hombre de los hongos as Mex-blaxploitation.” Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, 2022, pp. 29-44.

“Blackness and Racial Melodrama in 1970s Mexican Cinema.” The Lost Cinema of Mexico, edited by Olivia Cosentino and Brian Price, University Press of Florida, 2022, pp. 142-165.

“Documenting Lifestyle Migration in Anayansi Prado’s Paraíso for Sale (2011).” The Film Archipelago: Islands in Latin American Cinema, edited by Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián and Antonio Gómez, Bloomsbury Press, 2022, pp. 247-266.

“The Rio Grande as It Could Be: Beatriz Cortez’s The Underworld.” ASAP/Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2021, pp. 379-402.

“Mexican Cinema as Petrocinema.” Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinema, vol. 18, no. 3, 2021, pp. 377-387.

“Planetary Poetics of Extinction in Contemporary Mexican Poetry.” Mexican Literature as World Literature, edited by Ignacio Sánchez Prado, Bloomsbury Press, 2021, pp. 231-245.

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