Murphy, Mary Kaitlin M.
Associate Professor

Kaitlin Murphy is an interdisciplinary scholar focused on memory activism and its role in democracy building, atrocity prevention, and decolonial movements. Broadly, her research engages the fields of memory, performance, visual culture, genocide and atrocity prevention, and hemispheric American studies. She is an Associate Professor of Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory and Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona, as well as affiliate faculty in the School of Art and the Human Rights Practice Program.

Murphy is the author of Mapping Memory: Visuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas (2019), and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism (2023). Her writing can also be found in Memory Studies, Genocide Studies and PreventionTDR: The Drama ReviewJournal of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Journal of Spanish and Latin American Cinemas, Human Rights Review, in various anthologies, and elsewhere.

Murphy is currently at work on a new book project that examines the relationship between memory and democracy and explores how memory interventions aim to reframe our understanding of the lived experience, legacies, and future histories of racialized, gendered violence in the Northern Americas and suggest alternate, ethical forms of inclusive democracy, communal relation, and care.

She previously served as Chair and Director of Graduate Studies of Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory and as Faculty Senator for the University of Arizona. She serves on the Executive Council of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and previously served as Committee Member of the Hemispheric Studies Forum of the Modern Languages Association and as Co-chair of the Memory and Trauma working group of the Memory Studies Association.

Murphy holds a PhD from New York University (2013), completed the Public Leadership Executive Education Program from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2022, and for the 2023-2024 academic year was a Charles E. Scheidt Faculty Fellow in Atrocity Prevention at SUNY Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.

In addition to her academic work, Murphy works as a consultant in both English and Spanish in a range of areas, including memory, civil and human rights, transitional justice and community-based reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction. She is a Fulbright Specialist with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and World Learning and welcomes project discussions related to her areas of expertise.

Research, Teaching, and Advising Areas:
Memory studies, performance studies, visual culture, literature, human rights, genocide and atrocity prevention, and hemispheric American studies.

For more information, please see https://kaitlinmcnallymurphy.com/.

Courses Taught (Sample List)
The Politics of Memory: Major Works, Debates, and Questions in Memory Studies
Introduction to Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
The Politics and the Senses: Debates in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
Visual Culture, Performance, and Political Life

Literary and Cultural Analysis
Young Adult Fiction
Art and Politics
Performance in the Hemispheric Americas
Human Rights and Documentary Film
Memory and the Politics of Place


Currently Teaching

SPAN 696B – Spanish American Literature

This course is designed to explore theoretical/critical readings in order to discuss key issues involving Spanish American literatures and cultures contemplated. Throughout the course we will examine an array of perspectives as modes of understanding the creative texts. In the light of the readings students will develop original research projects.