Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Alicia Gaspar de Alba is an American scholar, cultural critic, novelist, and poet whose works include historical novels and scholarly studies on Chicana/o art, culture and sexuality.[1]

Alicia Gaspar De Alba
BornJuly 29th, 1958
El Paso, Texas
Known forChicano/a Studies
Notable work
Desert Blood, Calligraphy of the Witch, Sor Juana's Second Dream
Spouse(s)Alma Lopez (married 2008-present)


Gaspar de Alba was born on July 29, 1958 in El Paso, Texas near its border with Ciudad Juárez.[2] She received a bachelor's in 1980 and a master's in 1983 in English from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Ph.D. in American Studies in 1994 from the University of New Mexico.[3] To her students she is known as La Profe or Gaspar and currently teaches classes on border consciousness, bilingual creative writing, Chicana Lesbian literature, barrio popular culture, and graduate courses on Chicana theory.[4]

In 1994, she was one of six founding faculty members of the then César Chávez Center for Interdisciplinary Instruction in Chicana and Chicano Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. Gaspar de Alba served as chair of that department from 2007-2010 and worked to approve and implement the second Ph.D. program in Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. Since 2013, Gaspar de Alba has been chairing the LGBTQ Studies Department at UCLA, where she is also working on a proposal for the first Ph.D. program in LGBTQ Studies in the nation.

Gaspar de Alba has published extensively, and her novels, stories, and poetry have won several literary awards.[5] Her doctoral dissertation "Mi Casa Es Su Casa: The Cultural Politics of Chicano Art" won the 1994 Ralph Henry Gabriel American Studies Association Award. Her work has been published in several languages and focuses primarily on gender and sexuality. Her 2005 novel Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery Novel and the Latino Book Award for Best Mystery Novel.[5] This novel is based on the female homicides in Ciudad Juárez, around which Gaspar de Alba researched and organized a conference.[6] The mystery is based on the unresolved murders of over five-hundred Mexican women and girls along the border in El Paso, Texas, the region where Gaspar de Alba is originally from. In the book, a Mexican Maquiladora worker is found dead with her disembodied baby. Another character in the novel, Ivon, a lesbian professor in Los Angeles who was supposed to adopt the baby, becomes outraged at the growing violence against women at the border. She also becomes suspicious of the border patrol's role in the violence and of the similarities between the growing number of cases. The novel points out the injustices of the treatment of Mexican Immigrants/Mexican-Americans, the corruption of the government institutions on both sides of the border, femicide, and more.[7]


  • AAHE Book Award for [Un]Framing the "Bad Woman" (2015)
  • International Latino Book Award for Spanish Translation of Desert Blood, Sangre en el desierto (trans. Rosario Sanmiguel) (2009)
  • Gold Shield Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence (UCLA) 2008
  • Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery for Desert Blood (2005)
  • International Latino Book Award for Best English-Language Mystery for Desert Blood (2005)
  • Latino Literary Hall of Fame for Best Historical Fiction for Sor Juana's Second Dream (2000)
  • Border-Ford/Pellicer-Frost Award for Poetry (1998)
  • Shirley Collier Prize for Literature (UCLA) (1998)
  • Premio Aztlán Literary Prize for The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories (1994)
  • Massachusetts Artists' Foundation Fellowship Award in Poetry (1989)


  • [Un]framing the "Bad Woman": Sor Juana, Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, and Other Rebels with a Cause. Austin, TX: U of Texas Press, 2014.
  • Our Lady of Controversy: Alma Lopez's "Irreverent Apparition" (co-edited with Alma Lopez) (University of Texas Press 2011)
  • Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera (editor) (University of Texas Press 2010)
  • Calligraphy of the Witch (Saint Martin's Press 2007)
  • Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders (Arte Publico Press 2005)[8][9]
  • La Llorona on the Longfellow Bridge: Poetry y Otras Movidas (Arte Publico Press 2003)
  • Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture and Chicana/o Sexualities (editor) (Palgrave/Macmillan 2003)
  • Sor Juana's Second Dream (University of New Mexico Press 1999)
  • Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master's House (University of Texas Press1998)
  • "La Frontera," "Domingo Means Scrubbing," and "Beggar on the Cordoba Bridge. " Floricanto Si!: A Collection of Latina Poetry. Eds. Bryce Milligan, Mary Guerrero Milligan, and Angela De Hoyos. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. 135-138.
  • "The Politics of Location of the Tenth Muse of America: An Interview with Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz." In Living Chicana Theory. Ed. Carla Trujillo. Berkeley, California: Third Women Press, c 1998. 136-166.
  • "After 21 Years, a Postcard?" and "Bamba Basilica." In The floating Borderlands; Twenty-five Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature. Ed. Lauro Flores. Seattle: University of Washington Press, c1998. 235-237.
  • "Born in East L.A. : An Exercise in Cultural Schizophrenia." The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader. Eds. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. New York: New York University Press, c1998. 226-230.
  • "The Alter-Native Grain: Theorizing Chicano/a Popular Culture." Cultures and Differences: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States. Ed. Antonia Darder. Westport, Conn. : Bergin and Garvey, 1995. 103-123.
  • "Malinche's Rights." Currents from the Dancing River: Contemporary Latino Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Ed. Ray Gonzalez. New York: Harcourt Brace, c1994. 261-267.
  • "Malinchista, A Myth Revised," "Literary Wetback," and "Making Tortillas." Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature. Tey Diana Rebolledo and Eliana S. Rivero. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, c1993.
  • "Facing the Mariachis." Latina Women's Voices from the Borderlands. Ed.Lillian Castillo-Speed. New York: Simon and Schuster, c1995. 37-49.
  • The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories (Bilingual Press 1993)
  • "The Last Rite." Mirrors Beneath the Earth: Short Fiction by Chicano Writers. Ed. Ray Gonzalez. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press; East Haven, CT: Distributed by InBook, 1992. 312-321.
  • "Beggar on the Cordoba Bridge," collection of poems in Three Times A Woman: Chicana Poetry (Bilingual Press, 1989)

Critical studiesEdit

  • Allatson, Paul. Book review of Sor Juana’s Second Dream. In Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 26.2 (Fall 2001): pp. 231–37.
  • Allatson, Paul. “A Shadowy Sequence: Chicana Textual/Sexual Reinventions of Sor Juana.” Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana 33.1 (May 2004): pp. 3–27.
  • Chávez-Silverman, Susana. “Alicia Gaspar de Alba.” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Eds. Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. González. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Vol. 2: pp. 185–86.
  • Marchino, Lois A. The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, edited by Cathy N. Davidson and Linda Wagner-Martin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Vivancos Perez, Ricardo F. Los discursos sobre sexualidad en la obra de Alicia Gaspar de Alba. Dissertation: Thesis (M.A. )--Texas A & M University, 2002.
  • Vivancos Perez, Ricardo F. Radical Chicana Poetics. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.


  1. ^ West, Alan (August 2004). Latino and Latina writers. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-684-31294-1. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Voices from the Gaps, Alicia Gaspar de Alba" (PDF). Regents of the University of Minnesota. 2009.
  3. ^ "Faculty; Professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies".
  4. ^ "UCLA Department of Chicana/o Studies". Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  5. ^ a b Ladua, Eric (April 10, 2008). "Classical 91.7-Arte Público Press Author of the Month: Alicia Gaspar de Alba".
  6. ^ "Outrage over Juarez murders spills across border". Casper Star-Tribune. 25 November 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  7. ^ Gaspar de Alba, Alicia (2005). Desert Blood. Arte Publico. ISBN 978-1558855083.
  8. ^ "Noir by Northwest, Fictional madness, greed and violence are alive and kicking. Mysteriously, so is literary tough guy James Crumley". The News Tribune. 21 August 2005.
  9. ^ Ayala, Elaine (20 March 2005). "Novel explores string of Juárez killings". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 17 March 2011.

Further readingEdit

  • Castillo, Debra A.; Córdoba, María Socorro Tabuenca (2002). Border women : writing from la frontera. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota press. ISBN 0816639574.

External linksEdit