Dr Vek Lewis

BA Hons (Monash), PhD (Monash)
Senior Lecturer

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 9351 4524

Biographical details

Part of my research focuses on representations of sexual minorities, marginalized groups and urban life in contemporary Latin American cultural production. I’m mainly a scholar located in Mexican Studies, although I have interests related to Cuba, the Caribbean, Chile and Latinos in the USA. My current work is related to cultural and moral spatialities, migration realities, politics and control, and the work of institutions in regulating peoples’ lives.

Although I started as a cultural studies scholar looking at literary and non-literary texts, I am more and more moving into social research and methods, to try and connect my political interests with a scholarship that might work for social change. In this respect, I am inspired by Participant Action Research and Institutional Ethnography in particular. My teaching interests lie in Latin American popular cultural forms, critical race, gender and sexual diversity studies.

Research interests

  • Contemporary Latin American literature
  • 20th and 21st Century Latin American cinema
  • Gender, Sexuality and the Law
  • Mass media representations
  • Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Studies
  • Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)
  • Social movements and change
  • Migration Studies
  • Comparative Indigenous Knowledges and Critical Decolonial Theory

Teaching and supervision

Teaching

  • Latin American Popular Culture
  • Latin American Film and Literature
  • Critical Theory and Methodologies (Honours, 2010)
  • Latino/a Studies (Masters)
  • Sexual Diversity Politics and History

Supervision

  • Latin American literature and film
  • Queer, gender and trans studies
  • Post-revolutionary, modern and contemporary Mexico and Cuba
  • Debates in Latin American cultural studies
  • Comparative Colonialities and Decolonial Thought
  • Sociology of Violence
  • Political Cultures in Mexico
  • Masculinities
  • Migration Studies

Supervision - Current PhD & MPhil Candidates

  • Intercultural Health at the Frontier of Expanding Nation-States: The Contested Amazonian Border Region of Ecuador and Peru. This project examines the hybridisation between indigenous and western medical practice in communities experiencing the expansion of modernity from the nation-state centres of Ecuador and Peru into the remote, jungle regions of these nationsʼ territories. (Candidate: Christian Tym; Assoc. Supervisor: Dr Luis Fernando Angosto Ferrández)
  • Colombian Migrant Communities in Australia: Their Represented Identities in Print Media and in Encounters among their Members. This study investigates the representations made of Colombia by Australian print media and the way Colombians living in Australia construct their identity as immigrants at the same time they react and respond to those media representations. (Candidate: Liana Mercedes Torres Casierra; Assoc Supervisor: Dr Fernanda Peñaloza)
  • Locas e internacionales: Subjectivity and Social Relatedness among the Sexually Diverse in Ciudad de México (Candidate: Kylie Tobler; joint with Anthropology, Dr Jadran Mimica)
  • Mobilization as a means of constructing autonomy. This project examines the new norms of behaviour in the relationship that indigenous communities have with the State by providing a critical account of the fight that the Cocas, inhabitants of Mezcala (a community on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico), are undertaking in their confrontation with the Mexican State and urban-industrial society. (Candidate: Inés Durán Matute, Assoc. Supervisor: Dr Fernanda Peñaloza)
  • The Meaning of Modernity. This is a comparative study of “Latin American” self-representation and the Franco-Belgian gaze on “Latin America” in a selection of “Latin American” and Franco-Belgian comics. (Candidate: Annick Pellegrin; joint with French, A/Prof Bronwyn Winter)
  • Discursive Constructions of Bilateral Relations: Chile and Australia in the Context of the 2008 Free Trade Agreement. This thesis comparatively examines from a socio-historical and geopolitical context the path that Chile and Australia as settler societies have followed in signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2008, the first that Australia signed with a Latin American country. Combining theoretical tools in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis, this research will firstly deconstruct the central features of Chilean and Australian dominant discourses between the return of democracy in Chile in 1990 and the year of the Chilean bicentenary in 2010. Secondly, this project will explore and compare the mutual visibility and invisibility between Australia and Chile in terms of imaginaries and the construction of notions of identity through a selection of articles in the written press. (Candidate: Irene Strodthoff; Associate Supervisor with Dr Fernanda Peñaloza, Principal Supervisor)
  • Invisible in the City?: Humanitarian Outreach for the Urban Displaced in Bogotá. (Candidate: Steven Bunce; joint with Anthropology)
  • Making a Life out of the Worship of Death: A psycho-dynamic examination of the phenomenology of the mestizo’s experience of La Santa Muerte in Mexico City. (Candidate: Wendy Risteska; joint with Anthropology)
  • Sexuality and Homophobia in Collective Violence and Political Transitions. This project provides an analysis of how conflicts have a different impact among men and among women because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It will investigate the similarities and difference between gender and sexual violence against women and violence against homosexuals and transgender people in contexts of armed conflicts and peace processes. (Candidate: Fernando Serrano; Primary Supervisor: Prof. Raewyn Connell)

Honours (2008 - 2011)

  • Tintin and the Secret of Satire, 2008 (Annick Pellegrin; joint with French)
  • Virtual Powerlessness: Mexico’s Kidnapping Crisis, 2009 (Steven Bunce)
  • Ind'genas del Sur: Un estudio comparativo sobre las pol'ticas ind'genas en Australia y Chile, 2009 (Jeremy Dornan)
  • Mobilisation, Repression and Reaction: Social Movements in Authoritarian Political Contexts, 2010. (Katrina Hayes; joint with Arabic and Islamic Studies)
  • E a favela criou o jovem. Una perspectiva sobre la juventud marginada en la favelas de Rio de Janeiro, 2010 (Nicole Fidalgo)
  • "If you got that hot blood…" Hip Hop and Rethinking Borders in the Caribbean Hemisphere, 2010 (Tara Morrissey; joint with English)
  • The Political Economy Of Pension Reform In Contemporary Chile, 2010 (Tui Swinnen; joint with Political Economy)
  • Cactus, a Prickly Subject: the Cultural Significance of Nopal throughout Mexican History, 2011 (Alice Brennan).
  • El amor en los tiempos del cólera: The Translation, and the Translation of the Translation, 2011 (Amy Carruthers)
  • ¿El Hombre Mexicano o los hombres mexicanos?: La Diversidad de la Masculinidad en un Pa's de los Estereotipos, 2011 (Nathan Guenette)

Current projects

  • 'Latin American Migration to Sydney: The Chilean Case'. Co-directed project (with Fernanda Peñaloza) currently underway that examines Chilean migrants’ perceptions of identity in Sydney.
  • 'Nuevos ambientes, ¿historias compartidas?' Latino/a sexualities and identities in the context of migration to Sydney. A study on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) migrants from Latin America who reside in Sydney, and how the migrational process is informed by, but also re-forms, sexuality and sexual identity.
  • 'Understanding S/exile from Within: Internal Migrations, Municipal Space and Vulnerable Sexual Minorities in Mexico'. This project examines internal displacements of transgender people in Mexico forced to flee their cities due to violence. Although recent research sheds light on why such people to cross national borders, little is known about local conditions that provoke internal migrations. Such data is crucial in offering responses to stem the tide of violence. It combines a political economy analysis with an examination of local political cultures and elite masculinities, as well as mapping the labor-driven and social motives of displacement via an intersectional lens.

Associations

  • Secretary and Member of the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia (AILASA)
  • Co-editor, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research ~ JILAR
  • Member of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • Member of Sydney University Research Community for Latin America (SURCLA)

Selected publications

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Books

  • Lewis, P. (2010). Crossing sex and gender in Latin America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters

  • Lewis, P. (2013). Cosmovisiones and (In)appropriate/d Others: A Critical Reading of Santiago Roncagliolo's Noir Novel, Abril rojo. In Patricia L. Swier, Julia Riordan-Goncalves (Eds.), Dictatorships in the Hispanic World: Transatlantic and Transnational Perspectives, (pp. 289-308). Plymouth: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
  • Lewis, P. (2012). Forging "Moral Geographies": Law, Sexual Minorities and Internal Tensions in Northern Mexico Border Towns. In Trystan T. Cotten (Eds.), Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition, (pp. 32-56). New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Lewis, P. (2009). When ''macho'' bodies fail: spectacles of corporeality and the limits of homosocial/sexual in Mexican Cinema. In Santiago Fouz-Hernandez (Eds.), Mysterious skin: male bodies in contemporary cinema, (pp. 177-192). London: I.B. Tauris.

Journals

  • Lewis, P. (2014). Nuevos Ambientes, ¿Historias Compartidas? Sexuality, Cultural and Sexual Identity and Practices among Gay-identified Latin American Migrants in Sydney. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 35(5), 513-531. [More Information]
  • Lewis, P. (2012). Volviendo visible lo invisible: hacia un marco conceptual de las migraciones internas trans en Mexico. Cuicuilco: Revista de la Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, 19(54), 219-240.
  • Lewis, P. (2009). Grotesque Spectacles: The Janus Face of the State and Gender Variant Bodies in Reinaldo Arenas. Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, 38(1), 104-124.
  • Lewis, P. (2009). Performing translatinidad: Miriam the Mexican transsexual reality show star and the tropicalization of difference in Anglo-Australian media. Sexualities: studies in culture and society, 12(2), 225-250.
  • Lewis, P. (2008). Of Lady-killers and 'Men Dressed As Women': Soap Opera, Scapegoats and the Mexico City Police Department. Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies, 5(1), 1-28.
  • Lewis, P. (2006). Sociological Work on Transgender in Latin America: Some Considerations. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, 12(2 (December)), 77-89.
  • Lewis, P. (2004). Walking in the "delinquent" city: two novels that deal with the subject of male prostitution in Latin America. Antipodas: Journal of Hispanic and Galician Studies, 15, 229-237.
  • Lewis, P. (2003). La noche delincuente: la representación del prostituto en El vampiro de la colonia Roma, Las púberes canéforas, y La Virgen de los Sicarios. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, 9(1), 73-94.

Conferences

  • Lewis, P. (2006). Of Lady-killers and "Men Dressed as Women": Soap Opera, Scapegoats and the Mexico City Police Department'. Hyperworld: Language, Culture and History. VII International AILASA Conference, nk: 3rd International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health.
  • Lewis, P. (2006). Performing Translatinidad: Miriam the Mexican Transsexual Reality Show Star and the Tropicalisation of Gendered/Raced Identity in Anglo-Australian Media. Latin American Econometric Society Meetings, Brazil: Fgv-Eaesp.
  • Lewis, P. (2005). Crimes of Inhumanity: State Institutions and Cultural-legal Discourse as Perpetrators of Violence Against Gender Variant/Transgender People in Latin America. 4th Annual Hispanic Studies Symposium, nk: Aboriginal Studies Press.
  • Lewis, P. (2004). Transfigurations: Transgender in the Mexican Cinematic Imaginary. International Congress on Sex and Gender Diversity, nk: Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.

2014

  • Lewis, P. (2014). Nuevos Ambientes, ¿Historias Compartidas? Sexuality, Cultural and Sexual Identity and Practices among Gay-identified Latin American Migrants in Sydney. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 35(5), 513-531. [More Information]

2013

  • Lewis, P. (2013). Cosmovisiones and (In)appropriate/d Others: A Critical Reading of Santiago Roncagliolo's Noir Novel, Abril rojo. In Patricia L. Swier, Julia Riordan-Goncalves (Eds.), Dictatorships in the Hispanic World: Transatlantic and Transnational Perspectives, (pp. 289-308). Plymouth: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

2012

  • Lewis, P. (2012). Forging "Moral Geographies": Law, Sexual Minorities and Internal Tensions in Northern Mexico Border Towns. In Trystan T. Cotten (Eds.), Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition, (pp. 32-56). New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Lewis, P. (2012). Volviendo visible lo invisible: hacia un marco conceptual de las migraciones internas trans en Mexico. Cuicuilco: Revista de la Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, 19(54), 219-240.

2010

  • Lewis, P. (2010). Crossing sex and gender in Latin America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

2009

  • Lewis, P. (2009). Grotesque Spectacles: The Janus Face of the State and Gender Variant Bodies in Reinaldo Arenas. Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, 38(1), 104-124.
  • Lewis, P. (2009). Performing translatinidad: Miriam the Mexican transsexual reality show star and the tropicalization of difference in Anglo-Australian media. Sexualities: studies in culture and society, 12(2), 225-250.
  • Lewis, P. (2009). When ''macho'' bodies fail: spectacles of corporeality and the limits of homosocial/sexual in Mexican Cinema. In Santiago Fouz-Hernandez (Eds.), Mysterious skin: male bodies in contemporary cinema, (pp. 177-192). London: I.B. Tauris.

2008

  • Lewis, P. (2008). Of Lady-killers and 'Men Dressed As Women': Soap Opera, Scapegoats and the Mexico City Police Department. Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies, 5(1), 1-28.

2006

  • Lewis, P. (2006). Of Lady-killers and "Men Dressed as Women": Soap Opera, Scapegoats and the Mexico City Police Department'. Hyperworld: Language, Culture and History. VII International AILASA Conference, nk: 3rd International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health.
  • Lewis, P. (2006). Performing Translatinidad: Miriam the Mexican Transsexual Reality Show Star and the Tropicalisation of Gendered/Raced Identity in Anglo-Australian Media. Latin American Econometric Society Meetings, Brazil: Fgv-Eaesp.
  • Lewis, P. (2006). Sociological Work on Transgender in Latin America: Some Considerations. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, 12(2 (December)), 77-89.

2005

  • Lewis, P. (2005). Crimes of Inhumanity: State Institutions and Cultural-legal Discourse as Perpetrators of Violence Against Gender Variant/Transgender People in Latin America. 4th Annual Hispanic Studies Symposium, nk: Aboriginal Studies Press.

2004

  • Lewis, P. (2004). Transfigurations: Transgender in the Mexican Cinematic Imaginary. International Congress on Sex and Gender Diversity, nk: Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
  • Lewis, P. (2004). Walking in the "delinquent" city: two novels that deal with the subject of male prostitution in Latin America. Antipodas: Journal of Hispanic and Galician Studies, 15, 229-237.

2003

  • Lewis, P. (2003). La noche delincuente: la representación del prostituto en El vampiro de la colonia Roma, Las púberes canéforas, y La Virgen de los Sicarios. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, 9(1), 73-94.

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