PhD in English Candidate
421 Denney Hall
164 Annie and John Glenn Ave
Areas of Expertise
- Film studies
- Literary and cultural studies
- Environmental humanities
- Latinx/Indigenous race and ethnic studies
- Gender and sexuality studies
- Decolonial and transnational approaches
- MA, Humanities, University of Chicago
- BA, English, The Ohio State University
Mercedes Chavez is a PhD candidate and teacher in English with a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in film studies. Her doctoral work continues the research she began in film as an English undergraduate at Ohio State and later refined in the Master of Arts Program in Humanities at the University of Chicago. Her MA thesis, “Wassup Haters: Waxing Reflexive in Larry Clarke’s Wassup Rockers,” interrogates independent filmmaker Clarke’s use of reflexive, ethnographic techniques in conjunction with sexualization of underage Latinx youth. Her current research builds on the relationship between reality and racial, gendered, sexual and transnational sensory images through the film aesthetic under the framework of the Anthropocene. Her dissertation, Origin Stories: Cinema and the Anthropocene, brings together film aesthetics and the environmental humanities in an exploration of contemporary transnational cinemas of the hemispheric Americas using decolonial Latinx, feminist and queer methodologies.
Mercedes incorporates her methodologies into her teaching with course themes including “It’s not about climate change (?); Media in the Anthropocene,” and “Documentary Film and the Politics of Visuality.” As an instructor, her goal is to introduce tools and frameworks for critical thinking to students in a classroom community that fosters bravery and mutual respect. In 2017, Mercedes was the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching by a First-Year Graduate Teaching Associate.
In 2019, Mercedes was awarded a Global Arts + Humanities Team Fellowship in recognition of her interdisciplinary and innovative research. In 2020, she received the Engie-Axium Curricular Practical Training Scholarship in recognition of her commitment to environmental sustainability through her scholarship.