Jonathan Risner

Jonathan Risner

Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese

Director, Hispanic Literature Program


  • Ph.D. Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012
  • M.A. Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005
  • B.A., English and Spanish, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999

About Jonathan Risner

My research focuses on Latin American genre cinema while taking into account local, national, and transnational dynamics that impinge upon a films, or group of films, production, distribution, and/or content. I have written a book and a number of articles on contemporary Argentine horror cinema that consider specific horror subgenres (slashers, zombie films, gothic horror) and how those horror subgenres can appeal to national and global audiences while projecting or eliding local socio-political crises, such as legacies of the last dictatorship and sociocultural consequences wrought by neoliberal economic policies.

My other articles have a geographic focus that moves solely beyond Argentina. In one essay, I analyze filmic spaces in haunted house films from Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia. I have also written about continuous and discontinuous aesthetics in recent Mexican, Argentine, and Chilean films (detective, horror, and romantic comedies) and about product placement and neoliberalism in romantic comedies from Chile. In addition, I have written about Latina/o and queer characters in mainstream and independent comics and Latina/o zombie films. My future projects signal new areas of inquiry, including:

  1. paranoia as a neoliberal affect;
  2. audiovisual depictions of illicit traffic;
  3. and textual and visual conceptions of Latina/o bodies during the War on Terror.

I often put my research in dialogue with my teaching as a means of honing ideas, and I seek to expose students to new objects of study and to develop their critical thinking skills through conversation and writing.


  • Latin American cinema
  • Latina/o cinema
  • Horror cinema
  • Film theory


  • Cine de culto / Cine bizarro: Cult Cinema and Its Divergences in Argentina.” Global Cult Cinemas: DeWesternizing Cult Film Studies. Eds. Shruti Narayanswamy, Iain Robert Smith, and Dolores Tierney. London: Bloomsbury Press. (under review).   
  • “A Different Terror: Crudo Films and Women’s Horror Cinema in Argentina.” Contemporary Argentine Women Filmmakers. Eds. Mirna Vohnsen and Daniel Mourenza. Palgrave Macmillan. (forthcoming).  
  • Gated Crimes: Neoliberal Spaces and the Pleasures of Paranoia in Las viudas de los jueves (2009) and Betibú (2014).” Underworld: Investigating Crime Films from Transnational Perspectives. Eds. Sarah Delahousse and Aleksander Sedzielarz. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (forthcoming).
  • Villa Epecuén: Slow Violence and the Posthuman Film Set.” Posthumanizing the World: Speculative Aesthetics in Latin(x) American Science Fiction. Eds. Antonio Cordoba and Emily Maguire. (forthcoming)        
  • “The Reach of Genre: The Emergence of Chilean Horror Cinema.” Chilean Film in the Twenty-First- Century World. Eds. Carl Fischer and Vania Barraza Toledo. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2020. 107-127. 
  • “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Grudgingly Accept Product Placement: Nicolás López, Chilewood and a Criteria for a Neoliberal Cinema.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. (under review)
  • “Constellated Gatekeepers: Distribution as Metaculture and Distributors as a ‘Real’ Audience.” New Cinemas, 16.2 (2018): 131-142. 
  • Translation of Enrique Cahen Salaberry and Hugo Sofovich: Contrasting Director and Strategies of Humor in Films Featuring Alberto Olmedo and Jorge Porcel” by Fernando Pagnoni. In Humor in Latin American Cinema. Eds. Juan Poblete and Juana Suárez. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016. 129-154.
  • “¿Cholo no muerto?: El cine de zombis latino en los Estados Unidos.” TERRA ZOMBI: El fenómeno transnacional de los muertos vivientes. Eds. Rosana Díaz-Zambrana. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Isla Negra, 2015.  
  • “Lo continuo y lo descontinuo: las heterotopías cinematográficas y el cine de género latinoamericano contemporáneo.” Vademécum. Special Issue of Hispanófila. (forthcoming fall 2015)
  • “Un trabajo compartido: Las colaboraciones transnacionales de directores latinoamericanos.” HeLix 7 (2015): 111-131. 
  • “Filmic Spaces in Contemporary Latin American Gothic Horror Cinema.” Studies in Gothic Fiction (special issue on the Gothic and/in Latin America) 3.2 (2014): 38-51.
  • “Las multitudes no-muertas: Alegorías del neoliberalismo en Plaga zombie y Plaga zombie: Zona mutante.” Horrofílmico: Aproximaciones al cine de terror en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Eds. Rosana Díaz-Zambrana and Patricia Tomé. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Isla Negra, 2012. 83-98.
  • “Is it There?: Specters of the Dirty War in Contemporary Argentine Horror Cinema” In The Argentine Film. Eds. Daniela Ingruber and Ursula Prutsch. Münster/Berlin/Vienna/Zurich: LIT Verlag, 2012. 93-107.
  • “Killers on the Pampa: Gender, Cinematic Landscapes, and the Transnational Slasher in Adrián García Bogliano’s Habitaciones para turistas (2004) and 36 Pasos (2006).” Hispanet 4 (2012): n. pag.
  • “‘Authentic’ Latinas/os and Queer Characters in Mainstream and Alternative Comics.”  In Multicultural Comics: From Zap! to Blue Beetle. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010. 39-54.
  • “‘This City is Killing Me’”: The Circulation of Argentine Horror Cinema and Buenos Aires in Pablo Parés and Daniel de la Vega’s Jennifer’s Shadow (2004) and De la Vega’s Death Knows Your Name (2007). Studies in Hispanic Cinema 7.1 (2011): 23-34.


  • HISP-S 322: Introduction to Film Analysis in Spanish
  • HISP-S 328: Introduction to Hispanic Literature
  • HISP-S 412: Spanish America: The Cultural Context
  • HISP-S 422: Hispanic Cinemas
  • HISP-S 678: Paranoia in Hispanic Film and Literature
  • HISP-S 695: Topics in Hispanic Cinemas
  • COLL-C 103: Transnational Hispanic Cinemas
  • COLL-S 103 (Intensive Freshman Seminar): Traffic: Narratives of Circulation

Current research projects

  • Latinidad and the War on Terror
  • Contemporary Argentine horror cinema
  • Gated communities and filmic spaces in Argentine and Mexican cinema
  • Latina/o assassins
  • Latin American punk cinema