Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz is a Mexicana/Chicana queer educator, writer, activist, and performer born in Sonora, Mexico and raised in southern California. She is a professor of Spanish and Chicanx/Latinx cultural and LGBTQ+ studies. Her academic interests are Mexican, Chicanx, and Latinx literatures, cultures, gender and sexuality, as well as theater and performance studies. As a daughter of the Mexico/US borderlands, her approach to teaching and writing is interdisciplinary by nature and her work centers the stories of socially and economically marginalized communities in these two bordering countries. She is the first member of her extended family to receive a college degree and in 2019, she became the first Latina faculty to go through the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor at Trinity University.
Her academic and artistic work has been presented at local, national, and international conferences such as El Mundo Zurdo by the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, the Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social/Women Active in Letters and Social Change (MALCS), the Association for Jotería, Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (AJAAS), the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS), and the International Conference on Chicano Literature and Latino Studies by HispaUsa, in Spain.
At Trinity, Urquijo-Ruiz has taught courses on, literature, culture, writing, first-year experience, Spanish grammar, leadership, LGBTQ+ studies, and women’s and gender studies. She is proud to have directed the Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) Program, under which she and Juan Sepúlveda, Ph.D. (Education Department) co-created the first Latinx Leadership Institute (2019). Under MAS, she also lead the charge to create the Global Latinx Studies major and will serve as its inaugural director.
In 2019 she received Trinity’s award for distinguished university, community, and professional service for her local and national contributions. She has mentored students under the Mellon Initiative, the McNair Scholars Program, and the MAS Alvarez Summer Internship program. She was co-organized three Alvarez Seminars: two with Rosana Blanco-Cano, Ph.D., on “New Identities in the Americas” (2010) and “Latinx Leadership and Empowerment” (2019) and one with Norma E. Cantú, Ph.D., on “Latina Poetry Across the Americas” (2018). Urquijo-Ruiz is a member of the organizing committee for El Mundo Zurdo (The Left-Handed World), an international conference that celebrates the work and life of Chicana queer author Gloria E. Anzaldúa. She has served on the editorial board and national advisory board of Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.
Chicanx and Mexican Literatures and Cultures, U.S. Latinx Cultural Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Border and Immigration Studies, Transnational Mexican Cultural Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Latinx and Chicanx Cultural Studies.