Dr. Karina Zelaya

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Dr. Karina Zelaya

Assistant Professor

1500 Lee Hall




  • Ph.D. in Spanish (Central American Lit.), UC Davis
  • M.A. in Peninsular and Latin American Literature, UC Davis
  • B.A. in English (Cultural Studies), UC Santa Cruz

Joined CMLL in: 



Office Hour: Tuesday 9:00am-10:00am & by appointment

Research Interests

  • Late 19th and early 20th Century Central American Literature (narrative) and other forms of the region’s cultural production
  • Latin@ Literature, Latinx cultural production in the South
  • Culture in the language classroom
  • Academic writing with cultural specific content
  • Latin American Cultural Studies

Recent Publications

  • “Conceptualizing and Problematizing Space: Teaching Central American Literature and Culture in Central America,” Co-authored with Brian Davisson. Forthcoming in Teaching Central American Literature in a Global Context, MLA Anthology Edited by Monica Abizures and Gloria Chacón, 2021
  • CMLL Symposium Series, The Metaphor of the Monster, Co-Editor with Keith Moser of the first book in the series. Bloomsbury Press, October 2020
  • "La Siguanaba y la búsqueda de la identidad cultural salvadoreña en los siglos XX y XXI," Istmo 34 (2017)


  • Institutional nominee for The Höffmann Academic Award for Intercultural Competence, highly competitive international award University of Vechta, Germany. November 2020
  • Mississippi State University Diversity Award, ($1000) February 2019. This recognition is awarded on a competitive basis at the university level for efforts made towards advancing awareness and well-being of diverse communities at Mississippi State


  • Governor’s Emergency Education Response (GEER)/CARES Act. “MSU Support for Online Language Teaching,” US Department of Education. Award $104,683.
  • College of Arts and Sciences, Mississippi State University. Strategic Research Initiative grant, awarded December 2019 to conduct archival work in El Salvador; and in preparation of phase I of the “Salarrué Digital Archive” project.


  • African American Studies Program, Mississippi State University
  • Program de Maestria en Literatura Centroamericana, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University

Language proficiency

  • English and Spanish (bilingual)
  • French (high speaking and reading proficiency)
  • Portuguese (high reading, intermediate speaking proficiency)
  • Catalan (intermediate high reading proficiency)
  • Nahuat (basic reading)
Faculty & Staff