Carolyn Fornoff

I am an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research focuses on representations of the nonhuman in Mexican and Central American literature and film. At UIUC, I teach classes in the Spanish Department on Latin American literature and the environmental humanities.

I am currently at work on a monograph, Species Sadness: Race, Gender and Animality in Mexican and Central American Literature. This project traces how discourses of animality intersect with those of race, gender, and politics in twentieth-century Mexican and Central American literature. It takes the nahual—the Mesoamerican belief that each human individual is linked to an animal counterpart—as its starting point to explore how intimacy between humans and animals constitutes a mechanism through which writers and artists reconfigure normative ways of being ‘human.’

As part of broader research in the environmental humanities, I am also collaborating on the preparation of two edited volumes:

  • Timescales: Ecological Temporalities Across Disciplines, co-edited with Bethany Wiggin and Patricia Kim, brings together interdisciplinary research on the question of time in the Anthropocene. This volume evolved from a conference organized by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities in 2016, and is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press.
  • Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema, co-edited with Gisela Heffes, theorizes the rich cinematic production coming out of Latin America that attends to environmental questions. The manuscript is in process; CFP here.

Take a look at my CV here. Check out my publications here, or on