Maite Zubiaurre

Professor, Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies
Department of Spanish and Portugese

Professor Maite Zubiaurre initiated her career as literary translator from novels in German into Spanish for the publisher Alfaguara. She holds a degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and taught at USC (University of Southern California), ITAM (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México), UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and the University of Texas, Austin, before joining the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies (ELTS) at UCLA. She is core faculty and co-PI of the Urban Humanities Initiative (UHI), and a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Program in Digital Humanities. Her areas of expertise are comparative literature; gender and sexuality studies; urban studies; cultural studies; and migration studies.

Zubiaurre is the author of El espacio en la novela realista. Paisajes, miniaturas, perspectivas (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000), a book-length study of the dialectics of space and gender in European and Latin American realist fiction, and of Cultures of the Erotic in Spain 1898-1939 (Vanderbilt University Press, 2012), the first scholarly monograph that analyzes the diverse visual and textual representations of the erotic in Spanish popular culture during the so-called “Edad de Plata” or Silver Age (1898-1936). Maite Zubiaurre’s adaptation and translation into Spanish of Cultures of the Erotic Culturas del erotismo en España 1898-1939— was published by Cátedra in 2014.

Zubiaurre is the creator of a comprehensive virtual repository or erotic Wunderkammer  (, that serves as a digital companion to her scholarly monographs, Cultures of the Erotic/Culturas del erotismo. An ongoing comprehensive virtual archive of fin de siècle Spanish erotica, unique in its kind, it houses more than 500 images and a rich array of fully scanned texts, among them more than 100 works on sexology and sexual hygiene; close to 100 erotic magazines; around 120 magazines and works on nudism; and more than 240 erotic novelettes.

Zubiaurre has penned numerous articles and critical editions, and is the co-editor, with Roberta Johnson, of an anthology of Spanish feminist thought (Antología del pensamiento feminista español: 1726-2008, Cátedra, 2012). Her recently published scholarly monograph, Talking Trash. Cultural Uses of Waste (2019) won the Vanderbilt University Press 2020 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize for the best book in the area of art or medicine. Her own adaptation and translation into Spanish is forthcoming (Basura. Usos culturales de los desechos-Cátedra, 2021). She is the co-author, with Dana Cuff,  Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Todd Presner, and Jonathan Crisman, of Urban Humanities. New Practices for Reimagining the City (MIT Press, 2020), a scholarly monograph that proposes original, action-oriented, and social and spatial justice-driven humanist practices for interpreting and intervening the urban landscape.

Zubiaurre is the co-director, co-writer, and co-producer, with Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, of Aguilas/Eagles (2021-, a short documentary that tells the story of “Aguilas del Desierto,” a humanitarian organization that searches for missing migrants in the Southern Arizona desert. Zubiaurre is the initiator and leading researcher of “Forensic Empathy,” a three-pronged interdisciplinary project in progress on migrant death, forensics, and border activism and artivism that includes a scholarly monograph, a feature documentary, and a digital map.


PhD in Comparative Literature, Columbia University