Alicia Contreras

B.A. in American Literature and Culture and Chicana and Chicano Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008, Summa Cum Laude
M.A. in English, University of California, Riverside, 2010


Tiffany Ana López (Chair), Jennifer Doyle (Chair), and Steven Gould Axelrod

Research Areas:

Post-Reconstruction American and Chicana/o Literature; Early 20th Century American and Chicana/o Literature; American Realist, Regionalist, and Naturalist Literature; Literature of the American West; Frontier Studies

Research Interests:

Alicia Contreras is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside. She specializes in realist and regionalist American literature from 1880 to 1945, with an emphasis on post-Reconstruction fiction that deals with the expanding western frontier. She is currently working on her dissertation which considers the role of Mexican-American literature within this era by reading such contemporaneous writers as María Amparo Ruiz de Burton and William Dean Howells, María Cristina Mena and Jack London, and Jovita González and William Faulkner side by side. As a native of the agricultural Salinas Valley in Monterey County, California (also known as “Steinbeck Country”), Alicia has always been interested in literature that features rural communities grappling with the incursion of industry and the various strains of U.S. empire and expansion. Through her work, she seeks to highlight the need to further incorporate Mexican-American history and cultural production in American literary canons.

Recent Activity:

Recent short publications:

“New Historical and Geographic Horizons for Chicana/o Literature: Marissa K. López’s Chicano Nations and Chicana/o Literary History” (Review of Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature by Marissa K. López; New York: NYU Press, 2011) in Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social 12.2 (2013)

“To Julia de Burgos” (Translation of “A Julia de Burgos” by Julia de Burgos [1938] with Steven Gould Axelrod and Lisette Ordorica Lasater [2010]) in Postmodernisms: 1950 to Present, edited by Steven Gould Axelrod, Camille Roman, and Thomas Travisano; New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012

Recent conference papers:

“The Troubled Southwest: Regionalist Imperatives in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez”; John Steinbeck Society of America International Conference; San Jose, CA; May 2013

“South by Southwest: The Simultaneous Regionalisms of Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and González and Raleigh’s Caballero”; Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference; Seattle, WA; October 2012