Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Lourdes Torres is a professor of Latin American and Latino Studies. She is the author of Puerto Rican Discourse and co-editor of Tortilleras: Hispanic and Latina Lesbian Expression and Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. She edited the current issue of the NWSA Journal on the topic of Latina sexualities. Her recent essays have appeared in Meridians, MELUS, Centro Journal, and International Journal of Bilingualism. For the last four years she has served as a board member for Amigas Latinas, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the Chicago based Latina lesbian, bisexual, transgender community.
Torres was selected as the 2009-10 Women and Gender Research Initiative Faculty Fellow for her current work documenting the history of Latina Lesbian organizing in the Midwest. The project traces the collective efforts of Latina lesbians to represent themselves and to create and occupy public spaces in Chicago from the 80s to the present. Her work describes the founding of Llena and Amigas Latinas, two organizations that attempted to bridge the "Latino" and "lesbian" social and political cultures in Chicago, and the organizations’ successful and unsuccessful efforts to negotiate divergent national and ethnic histories, class and linguistic differences, and the diverse political stances of their membership.
She is also working on a book on queer Puerto Rican women’s narratives tentatively titled, “Boricuas Representing: Making the Invisible Visible.” In this work, Torres explores representations of Puerto Rican lesbians on the island and stateside in both social science and humanities literature. She examines the construction of lesbians in psychological and sociological texts and juxtaposes this with the depiction of lesbians in a range of literary and filmic texts by Puerto Rican women. This is the first book length project that focuses on Puerto Rican queer women.
Finally, Torres has undertaken a long term project in the field of Spanish sociolingusitics that will offer a comparative analysis of the Spanish language use of some of the Latino communities in Chicago (Mexican, Puerto Rican and MexiRican). This study, a collaborative project with Dr. Kim Potowski (UIC), will offer insight into the evolution of Spanish dialects in a contact situation.