After completing a combined Ph.D. in Spanish and American Studies in 2013 and spending a year as a lecturer at IU, I moved in 2014 a few miles north to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to start my career as tenure-track assistant professor of Spanish. In 2019, I was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor at Purdue. To say the years since I finished my degree at IU have been a whirlwind, both personally and professionally, would be an understatement!
Alumni Spotlight: Cara Anne Kinnally
I've been busy publishing and growing my research in new areas over the last few years. My book, Forgotten Futures, Colonized Pasts: Transnational Collaboration in Nineteenth-Century Greater Mexico, was published by Bucknell University Press in 2019. It is based in part on my dissertation, which I completed with the exceptional guidance and mentorship of Dr. Deborah Cohn. While Forgotten Futures focuses on 19th-century writings by Mexicans and Mexican Americans, my research has expanded over the past few years to look more closely at other areas, such as more contemporary Latino/a and Mexican authors and filmmakers, Mexican-US border studies and border literature, as well as Central American and Yucatecan literature and culture. I've presented new research on these topics at numerous national and international conferences, such as MLA and LASA, over the last few years, and published articles and essays on these topics in publications such as Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, Oxford Encyclopedia of Latino/a Literature, and A History of the Mexican Novel (forthcoming, Cambridge UP). I am particularly excited to have recently worked with, among others, two IU professors, Dr. Kathleen Myers and Dr. Alejandro Mejías-López, on a collaboratively written book (currently under review), to which I am contributing a chapter on travel, migration, and border crossing. This has been an exciting opportunity to not just expand my research but to also work as colleagues with my past professors and mentors.
At Purdue, I teach a wide range of classes, from introductory literature courses to graduate seminars in both Spanish and Comparative Literature covering topics such as border theory, Latino/a literature and culture, Mexican literature, Latino/a immigrant experiences in the US, postcolonial and decolonial Latin American literature, and gender and sexuality in Latin American and US Latino/a literature. I've also been part of some new exciting pedagogical endeavors at Purdue. I recently redesigned our Introduction to Hispanic Literature for a completely online version of the course—a timely endeavor, it turned out, as we piloted the new course in summer of 2020, just as all courses went online due to the pandemic. I am proud to have received several awards for my teaching excellence at Purdue, which I credit to the enthusiasm and motivation my students give me in the classroom every day.
I've also been busy in my personal life, welcoming a daughter in 2018 and with another girl due in July 2021. Balancing work and personal life has been challenging, especially during a global pandemic, but I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be a mom, which has been an amazing and eye-opening experience. I am looking forward to traveling with my daughters and my husband, Greg, next year to Spain, where I will (hopefully, if there is no global pandemic) be directing Purdue's summer in Madrid program. I feel grateful that I have had an extremely supportive department and colleagues at Purdue and indebted to my professors at IU who prepared me to be successful in my career and who have been amazing mentors and now colleagues.