Alicia Salinas

Lecturer of Spanish
NCH 434
Office Hours:
Monday & Wednesday 10:00am-11:00am and by appt


Ph.D., Spanish, University of Virginia (expected 2017)
M.A., Spanish, University of Virginia (2013)
B.A., English, Ohio University (2009)


My dissertation examines literature published in the Maya language of Yucatán, México, since the 1980s. These texts are always published in Maya-Spanish bilingual editions. I seek to engage in a literary criticism situated in the Maya worldview and Maya conceptions of literary genres. The following are just some questions I consider as I explore how Maya-language authors use a literary mode to portray the Maya of Yucatán from their perspectives in the twenty-first century: What does it mean to write in a mostly oral indigenous language when the language of education is Spanish? How do Maya-language authors fashion their texts in response to Maya oral modes and/or Latin American literary canons? How do authors portray different ways of being and identifying as Maya in the twenty-first century? How do men and women authors portray gender relations in their communities? Why are Maya-language texts always published bilingually? When self-translation is almost a requirement of writing in Maya, how do authors translate their own texts? What impact does literature have in the larger Maya cultural revitalization movement that is ongoing in Yucatán? What ways are technology and transnationalism affecting Maya cultural production and distribution?

Research Interests

  • 20th and 21st century literature in Yucatec Maya
  • Cultural production in Yucatan, Mexico
  • Identity politics
  • Linguistic and cultural activism
  • Historical influences on present-day
  • 20th and 21st century Latin American literature
  • Translation
  • Self-translation
  • Bilingual publications
  • Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Literatures in American indigenous languages
  • Postcolonial Studies


University of Virginia

  • SPAN 4040: Translation from Spanish to English (2016-2017)
  • SPAN 3040: Business Spanish (2014-2015)
  • SPAN 1060: Accelerated Elementary Spanish (2011-2012, 2013-2014)
  • SPAN 2010: Intermediate Spanish (2012-2013)

International Teaching Experience

Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology, Pisté, Yucatán, México (Summer 2014)
  • Instructor / Co-teacher for Teach English Service Learning Program (EFL teacher training course)
Harmon Hall, Mérida, Yucatán, México (2009-2010)
  • EFL teacher of Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced English for children, pre-teens, and adults

Study Abroad and Indigenous Language Study

Duke-UVa- Vanderbilt Consortium for Less Commonly Taught Languages, Charlottesville, Virginia

  • Maya K’iche’ Level One, Fall Semester 2015

Yucatec Maya Institute, UNC-Duke Consortium, Mérida and Valladolid, Yucatán, México

  • (Yucatec) Maya Level Two, June-July 2015

Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology, Pisté, Yucatán, México

  • (Yucatec) Maya Immersion Level One, June-July 2013    

Centro de Estudios Interamericanos, Cuenca, Ecuador

  • Spanish Language and Inca Cultural Study Abroad Program (April-June 2008)

Centro de Idiomas del Sureste, Mérida, Yucatán, México

  • Spanish Language and Yucatecan Cultural Study Abroad Program (January-March 2007)


“Gender Representation in Contemporary Yucatec Maya Literature”. 10 th UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies Annual Conference. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Feb 12-13, 2016.

“’Ba’ax in beelal tu yóok'olkaab’ [what my path is in the world]: Naming as Linguistic Battle for Cultural Control in the Contemporary Yucatec Maya Novel Ix-Ts’akyaj / La yerbatera by Felipe Castillo Tzec”. Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples (ERIP) Conference. Richmond, Virginia. Oct 15-17, 2015.

“Eroticism: The Male Musical Experience in Crosthwaite’s Idos de la mente. Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference. Greenville, South Carolina. Oct 16-18, 2014.

U k’aay ch’i’ibal / El canto de la estirpe: Self-Translation and the Negotiation of Selves in the Poetry of Wildernain Villegas.” Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. April 3-5, 2014.

“’A Cake with a Blade Inside’: Abriendo las posibilidades de género y sexualidad en Casi divas de Issa López.” Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. Lexington, Kentucky. April 16-18, 2013.

Grants & Awards

Public Humanities Fellowships in South Atlantic Studies (2016)

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for Yucatec Maya (2015)

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellowship for Summer Foreign Language Study (2013)

Castillo Cocom Scholarship for Maya language program at Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology, Pisté, Yucatán, México (2013)


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) Grad Council

Initiatives Committee Co-Chair (2016-2017)

  • Participate in campaigns advocating on behalf of GSAS students to better graduate student life on campus. Determine initiatives committee will undertake, organize meetings, facilitate communication with committee members and administrators.

Voting Representative of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese Department / Initiatives Committee Member (2015-2016)

  • Attend monthly meetings and vote on behalf of graduate students in my department on funding proposals and Grad Council policies, and voice opinions on issues on the table related to graduate student life.
  • Collected information on health insurance at peer institutions and prepared comparative information to present to UVa administrators in recommendation of better health insurance