Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Alicia Gaspar De Alba

Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Core Faculty

Office: 7367 Bunche Hall


Phone: (310) 206-3491


Professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba is a celebrated writer and scholar. A founding faculty member and former chair of the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies (2007-2010), Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s work explores gender and sexuality, Chicana/o art, popular culture, and border studies. Known to her students as La Profe or Gaspar, she teaches courses on border consciousness, bilingual creative writing, Chicana lesbian literature, and barrio popular culture, as well as graduate courses on Chicana feminist theory, aesthetics of place, and Latin@ noir. In addition to her work in Chicana/o Studies, Gaspar served as Chair of the LGBTQ Studies Program from 2013-2019. Under her leadership, an undergraduate research conference called QScholars was started, as well as Queer Cats: A Journal of LGBTQ Studies, a graduate-student-edited eScholarship journal. Gaspar has published 12 books—among them novels, collections of poetry and short fiction, anthologies, and academicc books— and has a few more titles in the pipeline.  Gaspar’s doctoral dissertation “Mi Casa [No] Es Su Casa: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation Exhibit” won the 1994 Ralph Henry Gabriel American Studies Association Award for Best Dissertation, and is the basis for her 1998 book, Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master’s House. She also received a 1993 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and a 1992 Chicana Dissertation Fellowship from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1999, she was named Endowed Chair in English at the University of Texas at El Paso, and she was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship for Latino/a Cultural Study at the Smithsonian. In 2008, she was awarded the UCLA Gold Shield Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. Her novel on the Juarez femicides titled Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders won the 2005 Lambda Literary Foundation Award for Best Lesbian Mystery. In Fall 2019, Opera UCLA premiered “Juana,” an opera by Carla Lucero based on Gaspar’s award-winning historical novel Sor Juana’s Second Dream (1999).


  • PhD, American Studies, University of New Mexico (1994)
  • MA, English-Creative Writing Concentration, University of Texas at El Paso (1983)
  • BA, English, University of Texas at El Paso (1980)


  • Chicano/a Art
  • Popular Culture
  • Border Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • The Maquiladora Murders
  • Femicide
  • Creative Writing

Selected Publications

  • [Un]Framing the “Bad Woman”: Sor Juana, Malinche, Coyolxauhqui and Other Rebels with a Cause
    by Alicia Gaspar de Alba
    University of Texas Press (Chicana Matters Series)
    One of America’s leading interpreters of the Chicana experience dismantles the discourses that “frame” women who rebel against patriarchal strictures as “bad women” and offers empowering models of struggle, resistance, and rebirth. This book was awarded the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Best Book Award in 2015.
  • Our Lady of Controversy: Alma López’s “Irreverent Apparition”
    Edited by Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Alma López
    University of Texas Press (Chicana Matters Series), Spring 2011
    Months before Alma López’s digital collage Our Lady was shown at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2001, the museum began receiving angry phone calls from community activists and Catholic leaders who demanded that the image not be displayed. Protest rallies, prayer vigils, and death threats ensued, but the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition.
  • Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera
    Edited by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, with Georgina Guzmán
    University of Texas Press
    Since 1993, over five hundred women have been murdered and mutilated in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and at least a third have been sexually violated as well. Such violence has gone by uninvestigated, unpunished, and unresolved by Mexican authorities, thus creating an institutionalized and sanctioned violence against poor Mexican women and girls on an increasingly globalized U.S.-Mexico border.
    Making a Killing book review by Margaret Randall
    Click here for more on Professor Gaspar de Alba’s Books.