A native of New York, Katrina Corazon Barrientos is pursuing her PhD in Spanish Literature at the University of Notre Dame and is currently a Kellogg Institute Doctoral Student Affiliate. KC earned her BA in Spanish Literature with a minor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, summa cum laude, from the University at Albany in New York in 2016. She went on to obtain an MA in Spanish Literature with a minor in Spanish Cultural Studies at the same university in 2017. 

From the outset, KC’s research has lent a decolonial lens to her readings of various artistic and cultural productions. Her honors thesis, “La adversidad de ser: Resistencia al colonialism psicológico en la poesía de Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda y Nicanor Parra,” analyzed the voice of decoloniality in diverse poetic forms, and sought to identify unlikely similarities between these three Latin American poets across decades and national borders. Since then, KC has honed her academic work from a broad interest in decoloniality and nation-building, to a more focused link between decoloniality, bodies and space in 20th- and 21st-century Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian poetry and film. In her writings, she connects physical objectification and spatial invasion with issues of race, violence and human rights violations in our postcolonial world. Following the same vein of research, KC’s secondary area seeks to challenge our understanding of indigeneity and indigenous rights and space in the midst of postcolonial modernity, as depicted in contemporary indigenista poetic production from Central America and Brazil. KC’s latest conference proceedings reflect the intersection of these topics, including an analysis of early decolonial voices in three Afro-Panamanian poets; a close reading of claustrophobia and agoraphobia as metaphors for racism and internalized colonialism in Aimé Césaire’s rime Notebook of a Return to the Native Land; and the religious symbolism of idyllic ‘indigenous’ provinces versus hellish urban spaces in the Guatemalan film Ixcanul.

When she is not busy with her academic pursuits, KC enjoys writing her own poetry and novels about characters of color as they navigate life in America and sometimes lose each other, but find themselves. She also draws an ever-growing collection of fine pencil portraits of human rights leaders she admires, such as Franz Fanon, La Machi Francisca Linconao and Rigoberta Menchú. Moreover, KC is a music enthusiast who plays the piano, sings operatic pop and occasionally composes original pieces.

Conference Presentations

“Agorafobia ante el mar abierto de decolonialidad en Retorno al país natal de Aimé Césaire.” Presented at the 39th Cincinnati Conference on Romance Languages & Literatures, University of Cincinnati, April 4-6, 2019.

“From Locus Amoenus to Locus Horribilis: Provincial and Urban Spaces of Cultural (Re)Assertion and Hegemony in Yates and Sigel’s When the Mountains Tremble and Bustamante’s Ixcanul.” Presented at Views from Below: The Underdog in Contemporary Latin American and Spanish Film, University at Albany, October 6, 2017.

“‘La gran niebla en el alma’: Voces de autoidentificación y decolonialidad temprana en la poesía de Feuillet, Escobar y Hernández.” Presented at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS) Hemispheric Transformations Conference, University of Virginia, March 25, 2017.

Yo fumo puros como mi abuela: Una reinterpretation cinemática de “Mi abuela fumaba puros” de Sabine Ulibarrí. Short film presented at the Annual Latin American & Caribbean Students (LACS) Graduate Student Conference, University at Albany, March 4, 2017.

“Lost in Translation? English Influence on the Pragmatic and Idiomatic Expressions of Spanish Heritage Speakers.” Presented at the 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference, University at Albany, April 29, 2016.

“People Power, Persistence and Pride: A Comparison of 20th-Century Nonviolent Movements in South Africa and the Philippines.” Presented at the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) Social Research & Social Justice (SRSJ) Undergraduate Conference, Muhlenberg College, April 4, 2014.


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