Orange Alert

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Ilka Kressner

(University at Albany - SUNY)


"Immersive Epistemologies – Human Encounters with the Elements in Contemporary Latin American Cinema "


Her scholarship and teaching examine Spanish American literature, film and visual arts (20th-21st centuries), from a variety of cultural and national contexts, often from a comparative perspective. She is interested in theoretical approaches to conceptions of space in art, intermediality, and ecocriticism.


Her book Sites of Disquiet: The Non-Space in Spanish American Short Narratives and Their Cinematic Transformations (Purdue UP, 2013) analyzes representations of alternative spaces, among those, sites of deferral, merging perspectives, darkness and emptiness, in Spanish American short narratives and their adaptations to the screen. She has co-edited Walter Benjamin Unbound (2015, special issue of Annals of Scholarship Vols. 21:1 and 2; together with Alexander Gelley and Michael Levine). Her second joint publishing venture, with colleagues Ana María Mutis (Trinity U) and Elizabeth Pettinaroli (Rhodes C) is Ecofictions, Ecorealities and Slow Violence in Latin America and the Latinx World (Routledge, 2019). Their edited volume examines the topic of ecological violence, particularly in the context of “slow violence” (Rob Nixon; acts of violence that are invisible because they are dispersed across time and space) in Latin American and Latinx writings, films, visual arts and performances.

Her current book project analyzes the Latin American travel photographs by Jewish émigré artists Ellen Auerbach and Fritz Neugass (1950s–70s). She proposes that both photographers used their camera not mainly as means of recording, but of interaction that aimed at building “contact zones” with the people and realities encountered.


In fall of 2013, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. Her research has received the support of an NEH Humanities Summer Stipend; Individual Development Awards (College of Arts and Sciences, University at Albany), Faculty Research Awards (FRAP-B, University at Albany), a Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Award (semester-long leave, NYS/UUP Joint Labor-Management Committees), and a Conversations in the Disciplines Grant (The State University of New York, SUNY Central).