Mellon Graduate Fellow
Stephanie M. López (she/ella) is a PhD Candidate in Spanish from the Department of Romance Studies with a Minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently a Society for the Humanities Mellon Graduate Fellow for the 2023-2024 CROSSINGS theme working on her dissertation. Stephanie’s dissertation approaches affect theory from a Latin American corpus and explores how representations of the maternal body become a point of departure to establish a critical theory of affect from Latin America. Her research interests span the areas of 20th and 21st-century Latin American literature and film, decolonial feminist theory, affect theory, motherhood studies, memory studies, narratives of race, and migration studies. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts at the Florida Atlantic University and M.A. in Comparative Literature at The Pennsylvania State University (2019), where she focused on intermedial relationships in post-war Japanese literature.
Stephanie’s dissertation Expectant Emotions: Affect, Maternity, and Temporality in Latin American Fiction interrogates the maternal body as a discursive site for affects and develops a theoretical vocabulary that connects groundbreaking social movements with the body and enhances our relationship to the non-human. Expectant Emotions unsettles the maternal body and its ability to circulate and dismantle social attachments complicit in heteropatriarchal reproduction. Mobilizing a decolonial feminist framework, Stephanie argues that portrayals of maternity in twenty-first century Latin American literature and film make palpable the body’s resistance to self-consuming relations and encounters to create openings for new futures and kinship structures. With a focus on pregnant people (personas gestantes), migrating/migrant mothers and racialized mothers, this project explores the maternal body at the intersection of diaspora, reproduction, futurity, and national versus territorial belongings. Ultimately, she puts forth a vocabulary to decolonize maternity in a region where women’s agency and power are intricating linked it.