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Fernando Varela

  • Assistant Professor, Spanish
  • Communication, Cultures, English & World Languages




M.A., Ph.D. Spanish and Portuguese, Vanderbilt University

B.A., Liberal Arts and Sciences (Spanish concentration), Florida Atlantic University

A.A., Palm Beach State College


  • Latin American Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Humanities
  • The Environment


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2020-2021

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2020-2021

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities Graduate Student Fellowship, Vanderbilt University, 2020-2021 (declined)


Article Publications (Peer-Reviewed):

Varela, Fernando. “Biophilia and Ecophobia in Santiago Nazarian’s Biofobia.” Special issue on environmental humanities, Hispanófila, edited by Alicia Rivero [forthcoming].

Varela, Fernando. “Myxomatosis and Radioactivity in Carlos Saura’s La caza (The Hunt, 1966): On Biopolitics and Extinction.” Environmental Humanities, vol. 14, no. 1, 2021 [forthcoming].

Varela, Fernando. “Vegetal Life and the Baroque in Alejo Carpentier’s The Lost Steps.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, vol. 28, no. 3, 2021, pp. to be assigned. DOI:

Varela, Fernando. “Machado de Assis, Houses, and the Gaze: Between the Universal and the Local.” Hispania, vol. 103, no. 1, 2020, pp. 87-95. DOI:

Varela, Fernando. “Thomas Jefferson, Domingo Sarmiento, and the Baroque Wild Man.” Romance Notes, vol. 59, no. 2, 2019, pp. 383-93. DOI:

Varela, Fernando. “Anthropocentrism and Taxidermy in Santiago Nazarian’s Neve negra.” Journal of Lusophone Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2019, pp. 298-315. DOI:

“Immigration, Family Ties, and Memories through Photography with José Betancourt.” Afro-Hispanic Review, vol. 34, no. 2, 2016, pp. 143-50.

Conference Presentations:

“Extraterrestrial Intimacy and Social Injustice in Amat Escalante’s La región salvaje (2016).” Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. July 26-August 6, 2021. Virtual.

“Eugenics and Environmental Loss: On Jack Arnold’s Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).” American Comparative Literature Association. April 8-11, 2021. Virtual.

“Vegetal Ontologies and the Baroque in Alejo Carpentier’s Los pasos perdidos.” Environmental Humanities in Spanish and Portuguese 2.0., sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention. January 7-10, 2021. Toronto, Canada.

“Machado de Assis, Houses, and the Gaze: Between the Universal and the Local.” American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Conference. July 9-12, 2020. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Postponed due to COVID-19.

“Hunting in the Anthropocene, or Myxomatosis and Radioactivity in Carlos Saura’s La caza (The Hunt, 1966).” Carolina Conference for Romance Studies. March 26-28, 2020. Chapel Hill, NC. Postponed due to COVID-19.

“Queer Ecology in XXY and As boas maneiras.” Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association. November 14-17, 2019. San Diego, CA.

“Ecophobia in Santiago Nazarian’s Biofobia.” Da Abertura à Crise: Contemporary Brazilian Literature and Socio-Political Change Symposium. October 27-29, 2019. Nashville, TN.

“Brazil as Ice: Louis Agassiz’s Glacial Theory and Miscegenation in A Journey in Brazil (1868).” Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College. June 19-24, 2018. Hanover, NH.

“Slave Hunters, Diaries, and Dogs in Nineteenth-Century Colonial Cuba.” Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS). March 8-11, 2018. Nashville, TN.