707 South Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
[Faculty photo shows a brown Latina woman in neutral makeup with shoulder-length curly black hair and blonde highlights. The photo has a navy background, while she is seated in a black and white printed blouse.]
Dr. Xiomara Verenice Cervantes-Gómez is a transdisciplinary performance, queer, and trans theorist, who researches and writes in the interstices between Latin American and U.S. Latinx cultural studies, continental philosophy, performance studies, queer theory, and contemporary literature. She is the author of Bottoms Up: Queer Latinx Exposure (NYU Press, under contract). Cervantes-Gómez is currently Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese in Latin American literatures and cultures and holds faculty affiliations across disciplines including the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, The Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, Religion, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. She earned her Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Studies in the Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture Doctoral Program at the University of Southern California. She also holds a master's degree in Religions of the Americas and Theology from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. from the University of California, Riverside.
Prior to the University of Illinois, Cervantes-Gómez held both predoctoral and postdoctoral positions at Harvard University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Cervantes-Gómez's contributions to the disciplines have included recently serving on the editorial board of Women & Language, as co-chair of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Sexualities Studies Section, and holding leadership positions at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). She currently serves on the executive committee of The Mexican LLC Forum of the Modern Languages Association (MLA).
Complementing her research, Cervantes-Gómez is also a performance artist who has presented creative work at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, Foro Tecuicanime in Mexico City, Harvard Divinity School, streaming platforms, conferences, and various showcases in Mexico City and Los Angeles.
20th and 21st-Century Latin American and US. Latinx literatures and cultures, modern Mexican and Chicanx literary and artistic cultures, Pre-Columbian and Mesoamerican cultural studies, Latin American and U.S. Latinx religious and theological studies, Afro-Latinidades, Afropessimism, Black feminism, queer theory, transgender studies, performance studies, continental philosophy, deconstruction
Dr. Cervantes-Gómez's research centralizes issues and contentions of embodiment, sexuality, and performance in contemporary Latin American and U.S. Latinx literary and visual cultures. Her first book, Bottoms Up: Queer Latinx Exposure (NYU Press, Sexual Cultures, under contract) examines performance as an affective relational encounter with sex and death in queer performance as collectively embodied aesthetic practices. The performance of the bottom culturally and politically teaches about the larger stakes of pain and pleasure in the world and with others. Through the study of contemporary Hemispheric Latinx American cultural production from those who bottom at the bottoms of culture and society. Derived from this work, her article "Paz's Pasivo: Thinking Mexicanness from the Bottom" was awarded the 2021 Premio Sylvia Molloy for Best Article in the Humanities, presented by the Latin American Studies Association Sexualities Studies Section.
In concert with her work in critical race theory, affect, and performance studies, Cervantes-Gómez is also working concurrently on two books: Unsay It: Being Not Fully Human and Latin Remix: A Queer of Color Mixtape for the End of the World. This ongoing work examines the aesthetic of performance, sexuality, race, and transgender community in the contemporary Hemispheric Americas, namely Brazil, Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States.
Cervantes-Gómez's essays, contributing chapters, and book reviews have been published or forthcoming in Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Men and Masculinities, Chasquí: Revista de literatura latinoamericana, ASAP/Journal, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Journal of Visual Culture, and Routledge Handbook for Material Religion.
Ph.D., University of Southern California
M.A., University of Southern California
M.T.S., Harvard University
B.A., University of California, Riverside
- Proibidão: Brazilian Hip-Hop and Sonic Blackness
- The Politics of Pleasure: Latin America Queered, Exposed, and Affected
- Theory and Literary Criticism
- Bodies Experimentales
- Malas Mujeres
- Approaches to Culture
- Sexo y Poder
- Queer Latinx Divas
- Latin American Religion, Myths, and Rituals: Then and Now
- Queer Latinx Feminisms
- Malinche's México
Additional Campus Affiliations
Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Assistant Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Assistant Professor, Latina/Latino Studies
Assistant Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Assistant Professor, Religion
Assistant Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Assistant Professor, The Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
Cervantes-Gómez, X. V. (Accepted/In press). Mesoamerican Nightlife and the Queer Materialities of Religion. In P. T. Arab, J. Scheper Hughes, & S. B. Rodríguez-Plate (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Material Religion Routledge.
Cervantes-Gómez, X. V. (2023). Queer Theory. In C. Soto van der Plas, & L. R. Buckwalter Cunningham (Eds.), Latino Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students ABC-CLIO.
Cervantes-Gómez, X. V. (2021). Lechedevirgen Trimegisto's Inferno Varieté, Queer Mexicanness, and the Aesthetics of Risk. ASAP/Journal, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1353/asa.2021.0008
Cervantes-Gómez, X. V. (2021). Where Blackness dies: The aesthetics of a massacre and the violence of remembering. Journal of Visual Culture, 20(1), 25-47. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470412921999456
Cervantes-Gómez, X. V. (2020). Paz’s Pasivo: Thinking Mexicanness from the Bottom. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 29(3), 333-347. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569325.2019.1675146