American Studies professor earns honors for research

Author: Josh Stowe

Jason Ruiz

The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) will honor Jason Ruiz, assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, for his doctoral research at its upcoming annual conference.

Ruiz, who earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota before joining the Notre Dame faculty last year, will receive the award for best dissertation in Latino studies from LASA’s Latino Studies Section. The University’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts will sponsor his trip to the conference, which is scheduled to take place June 11 to 14 in Rio de Janeiro.

For his dissertation, Ruiz focused on American travel to Mexico during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the increasing representation of such travel in American popular culture. He analyzed written descriptions and images culled from travelogues, stereoscopes, postcards, newspapers, magazines and snapshots. The dissertation formed the basis for a book he currently is writing.

“I argue that travelers and the discourses that they created framed Mexico as a logical extension of American economic—and sometimes territorial—expansionism,” he said. “I am particularly interested in the politics of race, gender and sexuality in this process.”

This fall, Ruiz, who also is a fellow of the University’s Institute for Latino Studies, will teach a class on the U.S.-Mexico border in the American imagination, as well as a course on race and American pop culture.

Contact: Jason Ruiz,