Karina Alma

Karina Alma

Karina Alma

Assistant Professor
Core Faculty

Office: 7355 Bunche Hall

Email: k.alma@ucla.edu


Karina Alma (formerly Oliva Alvarado) was born in El Salvador and raised in the Pico Union and Westlake regions in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in English, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies. Her work challenges U.S. disseminated epistemic violence against Central America and Central Americans by centering their lives and narrative works. She critiques systems of race-class-gender that intersect un/documented communities and migrations in context to neoliberalism and settler neocolonialism, in particular as anti-Central American. Her interdisciplinary work examines intercultural and transcultural texts, memories, and identities especially in Latina/o/x communities and through internal practices of domination and racial-gender hierarchies. Her research interests include cultural memory studies, embodiments, and in developing U.S. Central American scholarship, studies and methods.


  • PhD, Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley
  • MFA, Mount Saint Mary’s University
  • MA, Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley
  • BA, English, University of California Berkeley


  • Antiblackness and anti-indigeneity
  • Transnational race-gender constructs
  • Hemispheric Women’s Agency
  • Latina/o/x narratives and literature
  • Cultural memory and production
  • Gender and sexuality

Selected Publications

  • U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles and Communities of Resistance. Coeditor. Arizona University Press. Spring 2017. Second printing 2018.
  • “On Salvadoran Diasporic Poetry: William Archila, Mario Escobar and Javier Zamora, Interviews.” ISTMO, Revista virtual de estudios literarios y culturales centroamericanos Vol.34. 2018  http://istmo.denison.edu/n34/foro/03_oliva_karina_form.pdf
  • “Cultural Memory and Making by U.S. Central Americans.” Latino Studies XV.4 Winter 2017. http://rdcu.be/xZjA
  • “The Boo of Viramontes’ Cafe: Retelling Ghost Stories, Central American Representations of Social Death.” Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature. KS University. 2014. http://newprairiepress.org/sttcl/vol37/iss2/6/
  • “An Interdisciplinary Reading of Chicana/o and (U.S.) Central American Internarrations.” Latino Studies 11 (3). 2013.
  • “A Gynealogy of Cigua Resistance: La Ciguanaba, Prudencia Ayala and Leticia Hernández-Linares in Conversation.” In U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles and Communities of Resistance by Alvarado et al, Arizona University Press. Spring 2017.


  • Frantz Fanon: Politics and Poetics of the Postcolonial Subject. Spanish to English Alejandro de Oto’s Frantz Fanon: Política y poética del sujeto poscolonial. Forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield International (RLI).
  • Afrocubanas: Histories, Thought and Cultural Practices. Spanish to English translation of Afrocubanas: historias, pensamiento y practicas culturales published by Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, Havana, 2011. Forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield International.


  • Contesting Denials of Blackness by Salvadorans in the U.S. / El Salvador. Forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield International.