Ruben Mendoza

B.A. in American Literature, University of Southern California
M.A. in Chicana/o Studies, California State University, Northridge


Vorris Nunley (Chair), Alessandro Fornazzari, Sherryl Vint

Research Areas:

Rhetoric, Art, Somaesthetics, Critical Pedagogy, Chicana/o Studies, Post-WWII North American Speculative Fiction, Latin American Dictatorship and Postdictatorship Literature (Narratives of Neoliberalism)

Research Interests:

Rubén Mendoza’s work centers a rhetoric methodology on the development of critical pedagogy that focuses on the key roles of art and the body in critical teaching and learning processes. His praxical development of a teaching approach based in somaesthetics takes seriously art and the body—sensory, affective, kinesthetic, and perceptual experience—as primary sites of knowledge production/transmission and potential critical transformation in a processural pedagogy of becoming. He has taught Chicana/o Studies and Composition at East Los Angeles College and California State University, Northridge.

Recent Activity:


  • “Allegorizing an Allegory/Parable-Mode of Differential Consciousness and Decolonial Imaginary: The Speculative Chican@ Dystopia/Utopia of Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex.” English 179T: Critical Ethnic Imaginaries (Prof. Sherryl Vint). U.C. Riverside (Nov 2014). Guest Lecturer.
  • “Latinos in Hollywood and Beyond.” A Day of Latino Science Fiction. University of California, Riverside, The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Program. Riverside (Apr 2014). Panelist with Jesús Treviño, Michael Sedano, Danny Valencia, and Paris Brown.
  • “Creative Writers, Creative Teaching.” Graduate Seminar: Creative Writing (Prof. Rick Mitchell). CSU Northridge (Mar 2014). Guest Lecturer.
  • “Science Fictional Thinking and Cognitive/Affective Estrangement: Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Allegory as Subaltern Gramscian Language-Art Technology.” Panel: “Performance, Pedagogy, and Potential: Cognitive and Affective Estrangement as Transformational Language Effects.” College English Association—Caribbean Chapter, 2014 Conference: “Language Speaks Us.” University of Puerto Rico. Mayagüez, Puerto Rico (Mar 2014). Panel Organizer, Moderator, and Presenter with Dr. James Penner, UPR Río Piedras, and Dr. Rick Mitchell, CSU Northridge.
  • “Decolonial Imaginary in the Rhetorical Work of Chicano Speculative Fiction: At the Intersection of Latin American Allegory and US Dystopic SF in a Neoliberal (Near) Future.” 2013 Eaton Science Fiction Conference. University of California, Riverside. Riverside (April 2013). Presenter.
  • “Micro-Carnival Performance and the Politics of Virtual Fun in Harry Gamboa’s Chicano Pedagogico-Aesthetics.” American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. University of Toronto. Toronto, Canada (April 2013). Presenter.
  • “Angst for Nothing/No Parking on the Dance Floor: Harry Gamboa, Jr.’s Technomediated Performance Ritual Games as Catalytic Pharmakon.” College English Association—Caribbean Chapter, 2013 Conference: “Technology and the Humanities.” University of Puerto Rico. Arecibo, Puerto Rico (March 2013). Presenter.
  • “Allegorizing Differential Consciousness and a Decolonial Imaginary: The Rhetorical Work of Speculative Chicano Dystopia in Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex.” Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies. Panama City, Panamá (March 2013). Presenter.
  • “Guerrilla Scholarship: Sandra de la Loza’s Pocho Field Guide to East Los Angeles.” Liberal Arts 234: Multiculturalism Art, L.A. California State University, Los Angeles (May 2012). Guest Lecturer.
  • “Exploring the Pedagogico-Aesthetic in Chicana/o Cultural Production.” Pedagogy & Theater of the Oppressed 2012 Berkeley Conference. Berkeley (May 2012). Workshop Co-presenter and Co-coordinator.
  • “Vygotsky, Freire, and Boal in the Chicana/o Literature Classroom: Cultivating a Decolonial Zone of Proximal Development Space through Collaborative Imagination and Embodied Aesthetic Practices.” New Directions in Critical Theory 2012: Revolution, Regression, Revision. University of Arizona. Tucson (April 2012). Presenter.
  • “Ruptures, Riots, and Regeneration: The Epistemology of Bodies in the Gateway.” The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2012. St. Louis (Apr 2012). Presenter.
  • “Portrait of the Artist-Educator as a Rhetorician: Affect and the Production of Presence in Harry Gamboa’s Pedagogico-Aesthetic Praxis.” National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Conference: Regional Tejas Foco 2012. Texas State University, San Marcos (Mar 2012). Presenter.
  • “Walking the Talk: Sophist Rhetoric, Walking, and Decolonial Praxis in Harry Gamboa, Jr.’s Art.” The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2011. Atlanta (Apr 2011). Presenter.
  • “swarm 4 warm 2 morrows.” Upon A Precipice. Cal State University, Northridge, Associated Graduate Students of English (Apr 2011). Reader/Presenter.
  • “Walking the Talk: Sophist Rhetoric, Walking, and Decolonial Praxis in Harry Gamboa, Jr.’s Art.” National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Conference (NACCS) 2011. Pasadena (Mar 2011). Presenter.
  • “silikon sueños, vol. 1.” Festival de Flor y Canto 2010: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. University of Southern California, Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative (Sep 2010). Reader/Presenter.
  • “Visual Riddling from Reflection to Refraction: Transformation and the Deconstruction of Lacan’s Mirror in Tillie Olsen’s ‘Tell Me a Riddle.’” States of Crisis: (dis)junctions 2010. U.C. Riverside, Graduate Student Conference (Apr 2010). Presenter.
  • “Impasse Redux, Time and Time Again: An Inquiry into the Limitations of Linear, Progressive Time in the Aesthetics of Marx and Hegel.” Paths of Progress (?). Cal State University, Northridge, Associated Graduate Students of English (Feb 2010). Presenter.
  • Theater of the Oppressed workshop/guest lecture for Psych I class at East Los Angeles College (Aug 2008). Facilitator of Theater of the Oppressed workshop on prejudice and stereotyping.
  • “Regeneration in the Time of Decay.” Farmlab Public Salon: Discussion and reading from Not A Cornfield: History / Site / Document (Nov 2007).
  • Communities en Movimiento Encuentro: Cultivating the Politics of Listening and Sharing. Cal State Northridge, Chicana/o Graduate Student Association Conference/Encuentro (Sep 2007). Organizer.
  • “Breaking the Walls of the University: Disrupting, Reclaiming, and Activating Space.” ABRIENDO BRECHA IV: Crisis, Politics, and Performance in the Americas. U.T. Austin (Feb 2007). Presenter.


  • “Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Science Fictional Teaching in a Neoliberal Age: James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) and China Miéville as Sophistic Pedagogists.” Paradoxa, forthcoming (Fall 2015).
  • Rev. of Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays, by Andrea Hairston. Science Fiction Film and Television, forthcoming (Spring 2015).
  • “Adapting (to) Philip K. Dick’s Perceptual Play.” Science Fiction Studies, 41.1 (Mar 2014). 242-47.
  • “Some No-Place Like Home: Thirdspace Production in Cherríe Moraga’s Watsonville.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura, 26:1 (Fall 2010).
  • “Deciphering the Decoy: Phantom Transformations and the Decolonial Imaginary of Chicana/o Art.” Review of Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement in An Online Journal of Art and Culture (English and Spanish; December 2008).
  • “Regeneration in the Time of Decay.” In Not A Cornfield: History / Site / Document exhibition catalog (November, 2007).


  • Membership:
    Latin American Studies Association
    National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies
    College English Association—Caribbean Chapter
    Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies
    Science Fiction Research Association
    National Council of Teachers of English
    American Comparative Literature Association
  • “Alternative Futurisms” Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar Fellowship grant recipient (2015-16)
  • Qualifying Exam II Doctoral Candidacy Advancement, with Distinction (Spring 2014)
  • Graduate Research Mentorship Programs Recipient, (2014-2015), with Professor Sherryl Vint
  • California State University Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Scholar Development Mini-Grant Program (2012; 2013; 2014)
  • Organizer: U.C. Riverside GSEA (dis)junctions Conference Media Festival (2013)
  • Emory Elliott Endowed Memorial Award, U.C. Riverside English doctoral program (2012)
  • Ford Foundation Fellowships Program Predoctoral Competition: Honorable Mention (2011)
  • Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship Award, U.C. Riverside English doctoral program (2011–2016)
  • Associated Graduate Students of English, California State University, Northridge (Spring 2010 – Spring 2011)
  • Writer in Residence: Outpost for Contemporary Art’s “Outpost Cup,” Vista Hermosa Natural Park, Los Angeles, California (June 2010)
  • Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship Award: Naropa University, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Summer Writing Program, 2007)
  • Chicana/o Graduate Students Association: California State University, Northridge (Spring 2007 – Spring 2008)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society: University of Southern California (1994)
  • Presidential Scholar: University of Southern California (1990–1994)