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Olga Herrera wins Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship for 2008-09

Olga Herrera

Posted: August 16, 2008

Olga Lydia Herrera, an English Ph.D. candidate with a concentration in Ethnic and Third World Literature, has been awarded a 2008 Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship. The Ford Foundation grants awards at the predoctoral, dissertation and postdoctoral levels to students who demonstrate excellence, a commitment to diversity, and a desire to enter the professoriate. Olga will receive one of 36 Dissertation Fellowships awarded this year.

Olga’s dissertation, entitled City of Myth and Muscle: Race, Gender, and Labor in Chicago’s Mexican-American Literature, interrogates the discourse of ambition, labor, and assimilation inherent in the mythology of Chicago as a city of industry. She critically engages the perspectives of four Mexican American authors from Chicago—Carlos Cortez, Carlos Cumpíán, Sandra Cisneros, and Ana Castillo—in dialogue with canonical Chicago writers such as Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, Carl Sandburg, and Richard Wright. In doing so, her work examines the textual intersections of race, space, citizenship, and gender, as they complicate the classic American narrative of labor, opportunity, and success. Ultimately, her dissertation argues for a re-visioning of the city that incorporates the complexities of a fluid, transnational experience in order to suggest the future of urban life in a post-industrial America.

Olga’s dissertation is directed by Professor José E. Limón.

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