Marlee Northcutt

mgmc246's picture
  • Hispanic Studies
1118 Patterson Office Tower

Ph.D Candidate (ABD)

Hispanic Studies

Gender and Women's Studies


2022                             Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies, University of Kentucky (Expected)

2021                                         Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies (August)

2020                             M.A. in Hispanic Studies, University of Kentucky (December)

2017                             B.A.  in Spanish, Capital University (May)

  • 20th-21st Century Latinx and Latin American cultural production
  • Media Studies
  • Gender and Women’s Studies
  • (Digital) Feminist Activism

“First-Person Politics: Strategies of Latin/x American Women to Change the Neoliberal Requirements for Empowerment and Inclusion One Share, Like, Subscribe at a Time”

This project investigates the strategies of Latin/x American women who have used their voices and influence in the media to break barriers, enter spaces that have excluded them, and advocate for changes so that young girls like them do not have to face these same limitations. Chapter One investigates politicians (Dolores Huerta, Sonia Sotomayor, Michelle Bachelet, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) who, from their political power positions, interweave personal stories with their accomplishments to provide role models for these careers. Chapter Two identifies actresses (Salma Hayek, America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero, Gina Rodriguez, Yalitza Aparicio Martínez, María Mercedes Coroy, Daniela Vega) who combine their personal stories with activist causes to alter representation in TV and film. The YouTubers in Chapter Three (Dulce Candy, Lele Pons, Bethany Mota, Yuya), bolster a rhetoric of empowerment to encourage girls/women to be their own bosses. A pattern emerges in both hemispheres where influential women from various sectors (politics, Hollywood, YouTube) have initially gained attention through their careers, garnered a following on social media, and from this place of power have used their platform to share personal stories in order to offer counter narratives and advocate for the possibilities, opportunities, and inclusion of the next generation of young Latin/x American girls and women. I argue that a mainstream entrance does not invalidate their effort or ability to retain their identity from within the institutions, industries, and markets, but rather that this entrance is a necessary component in a strategy to combine personal stories with activist causes in order to alter the requirements for entry and prevent the cycle of identity sacrifice and lack of representation from continuing in the future. In some cases, their activism produces ruptures which challenge the dominant and existent structures that exclude and make girls feel like they cannot be themselves, but in other cases, their activism becomes a brand that helps them compete in an individualistic, neoliberal market where identity is commodified. Ultimately, these case studies analyzing first person accounts of autobiographies, interviews, and YouTube videos, reveal the message these influential women are sending to young girls/women about identidad, Latinidad, and personal power through autobiographical storytelling and self-advocacy.

  • “Aspirational Mirroring: Representation and Possibility in Latinx YA Literature.” MLA Convention. San Francisco. (January 2023)


  • “‘My Afro Comes Before Latina’: Hair, Beauty, and Challenging Racial Whitewashing in Latinidad Through Spoken Word Poetry.” Latina/o Studies Association Conference. University of Notre Dame, Indiana. (July 2022)


  • “Un equilibrio delicado: las estrategias de Michelle Bachelet de combatir los estereotipos femeninos en la esfera política masculina.” Southeast Coastal Conference on Languages and Literatures. Zoom. (September 2021)


  • “Power in the Personal: Luis Gutiérrez’s Autobiographical Contribution to the US Latinx Experience.” American Comparative Literature Association. Zoom. (April 2021)


  • “La carencia de creencia provoca el castigo: religión y régimen en La voz dormida.” Ohio State University Hispanic and Lusophone Studies Symposium. Columbus, OH. (March 2019)

SPA 323 – Introduction to Spanish Translation

SPA 322 – Latin American Life, Literature and Thought (pre-colonial to present)

SPA 203 – intermediate transition course between high school and second-year college Spanish

SPA 202 – fourth-semester intermediate language and culture

SPA 201 – third-semester intermediate language and culture

SPA 102 – second-semester beginner language and culture

SPA 101 – first-semester beginner language and culture


2018-2020                    Sigma Delta Pi, National Collegiate Spanish Honor Society: President                                             (2020), Vice President (2019), Secretary (2018)

2018-present                 Organizer, “I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action,” University of Kentucky

2018-present                 Panel coordinator and moderator, Kentucky Foreign Language                                                          Conference