photo- Ilka Kressner- by J MacMillan

Ilka Kressner

Associate Professor of Hispanic and Italian Studies


Degree/Institution: Ph.D. University of Virginia
Office: HU 223
Email: ikressner{at}


Academic Focus

My scholarship and teaching examine Spanish American literature, film and visual arts, from a variety of cultural and national contexts, often from a comparative perspective. I am interested in theoretical approaches to conceptions of space in art, intermediality, and ecocriticism.


My book Sites of Disquiet: The Non-Space in Spanish American Short Narratives and Their Cinematic Transformations (Purdue UP, 2013) analyzes representations of alternative spaces, among those, sites of deferral, merging perspectives, darkness and emptiness, in Spanish American short narratives and their adaptations to the screen. I have co-edited Walter Benjamin Unbound (2015, special issue of Annals of Scholarship Vols. 21:1 and 2), and published scholarly articles in, among others, Bulletin of Hispanic StudiesMELUSConfluenciaHispanic JournalHispanófilaChasqui, and Revista Chilena de Literatura. In fall of 2013, I was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. My research has received the support of an NEH Humanities Summer Stipend; Individual Development Awards (College of Arts and Sciences, University at Albany), Faculty Research Awards (FRAP-B, University at Albany), a Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Award (semester-long leave, NYS/UUP Joint Labor-Management Committees), and a Conversations in the Disciplines Grant (The State University of New York, SUNY Central).

My current book project analyzes the Latin American travel photographs by Jewish émigré artists Ellen Auerbach and Fritz Neugass (1950s–70s). I propose that both photographers used their camera not as means of recording, but of interaction that aimed at building “contact zones” with the people and realities encountered. I interpret Auerbach’s and Neugass’s photographs as bridges between heterogeneous space-times that may attenuate memories of lost spaces and counter the peril of getting lost in motion. Their works reveal less studied facets of history, and help unravel vexed relations of looking and looking back.

My second current research project is a joint venture with colleagues Dr. Elizabeth Pettinaroli (Rhodes C) and Ana María Mutis (Trinity U). Ecofictions, Ecorealities and Slow Violence in Latin America and the Latinx World, to be published with Routledge, is an edited volume on comparative ecocritical studies of Latin American writing, film, visual art, and performance that address the topic of ecological violence, particularly in the context of “slow violence” (Nixon), acts of violence that are invisible because they are dispersed across time and space.


Classes recently taught:
Research Methods in Spanish American Literature and Cultural Studies (603)
Contemporary Spanish American Fiction (537)
Spanish American Film (514)
Legacy of the 60’s in Spanish American Literature (ASPN 513)
Colonial Literature from a Postcolonial Perspective (ASPN 644)
Literatures and Cultures of the Borderlands (ASPN 529)
Literature and Human Rights (ASPN 446)
Popular Cultures in Latin America (ASPN 517)

Doctoral students working with me have worked or are currently working on topics such as: the female detective in contemporary Latin American fiction; Spanish American experimental poetry; imagination and the imaginary in the short stories by Colombian Marvel Moreno and British writer Angela Carter; portrayals of the female body in the literature about the feminicidios in Ciudad Juárez; baroque bodies in Post-Franco literature; the figure of the cyborg in contemporary Spanish American novels; and memory writing from legacies of neglect in contemporary Spanish and Peruvian novels.

Research and Publications


poster-Critical Speculations conference