Karina Alma (formerly Oliva Alvarado) was born in El Salvador and grew up in Westlake and Pico Union in Los Angeles. She earned a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at U.C. Berkeley with a focus on U.S. Central American literature. She was a U.C. President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the English Department at the University of California Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor in the Chicana/o and Central American Studies department at UCLA. In 2014, she was given the opportunity to design classes focused on Central America. Since 2015, she began teaching on Central American diasporic studies in her areas of expertise on (U.S.) Central American cultural memory, (U.S.) Central American race and gender constructs, and (U.S.) Central American literature and narratives. Implicit in her research is the question of the development of U.S. Central American studies as an interdisciplinary field.
Karina Alma critiques systems of race-class-gender that intersect un/documented people and migrations as outcomes of neoliberalism, settler neocolonialism and anti-Central Americanism. Her interdisciplinary work continues to examine intercultural and transcultural texts, cultural memories, and identities especially in Central Americans community formations as these relate to Latinas/os/x. She is currently completing a manuscript on Central American diasporic cultural memory. She has also been researching anti-Blackness by the Salvadoran nation-state as her future project. She coedited the anthology, U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles and Communities of Resistance (Arizona University Press, Spring 2017). Some of her publications include “Cultural Memory and Making by U.S. Central Americans” in Latino Studies XV.4 Winter 2017, and “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.
- 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
- Social Death
- Transnational race-gender constructs
- Hemispheric agency
- Central American and Latina/o/x narratives and literature
- Cultural memory and production
- Gender and sexuality
- “Miskitu Labor and Immigrant Struggles: U.S. Anti-Central American Policies of Social Death” in Migration and Mortality Social Death, Dispossession, and Survival in the Americas. Temple University Press, forthcoming June 4, 2021.
- 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.
- Afrocubanas: Histories, Thought and Cultural Practices. 2020. Edited by Devyn Spencer. Spanish to English translation of Afrocubanas: historias, pensamiento y practicas culturales published by Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, Havana, 2011. Rowman and Littlefield International.
MANUSCRIPT IN PROGRESS
- U.S. Central American Countermemories and Counterpoetics Challenging Social Death.
- CCS 153B Central American Racial Constructions
- CCS 153C Migrating U.S./Central American Cultural Production
- CCS 153 U.S. Central American Narratives
- CCS 217 U.S. Central American Racial Constructs and Cultural Diversity
- CCS 240 U.S. Central Americans Making Art and Memory