Melissa Fitch
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Modern Language 592
Office Hours
Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., via Zoom
Fitch, Melissa A
Distinguished Professor

Dr. Melissa A. Fitch (Ph.D. 1995 ASU) holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor. Her work encompasses the period marked by the rise of mass media at the turn of the last century to the present-day influence and pervasiveness of popular culture, film and mass media, social media, and digital culture. Since 2010, she has been researching the mutual cultural influences between the Americas and Asia, particularly with regard to China and India. She is the author of Global Tangos: Travels in the Transnational Imaginary (Bucknell UP, 2015) and Side Dishes: Latin/a American Women, Sex and Cultural Production (Rutgers UP, 2009). In 2015 she was named one of three university-wide 1885 Society Distinguished Fellows, based on her research, teaching, and service. Since 2010, she has received three Fulbright Awards: the first a Fulbright-Hays Award to China in 2010 (declined); the second the Chinese University of Hong Kong during AY 2011-12 (accepted) and the third to spend AY 2016-17 in New Delhi, India as a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar. She currently serves as a global Fulbright specialist. Fitch has given more than 50 keynote addresses, invited lectures, and conference presentations on her research in India, China, Singapore, Japan, Bhutan, Russia, Macau, Hong Kong, Spain, Argentina, Italy, France, Chile, and the US. More recently, she has been addressing the impact of Covid-19 on higher education and the subsequent transformations to teaching and research within the humanities. In 2013 she received the UA Creative Teaching Award and in 2008 she received the University of Arizona's Five Star Teaching Award, the institution's highest teaching honor. In 2004 she received the UA General Education Teaching Award. In 2019, she received the UA Excellence in Global Service Award.

Since 2002 she has been editor-in-chief of the academic journal Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (University of Texas Press). She was named Outstanding University Educator by the Arizona Languages Association in 1997. Her essays have been published in Latin American Theater Review; Gestos: Teoría y práctica del teatro hispánico; Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana; ADFL Bulletin; Luso-Brazilian Review; Romance Languages Annual, ADE Bulletin and in the books Dale Nomás! Dale que va! (Buenos Aires: Editorial Nueva Generación, 2006); Latino/a Popular Culture (NYU Press, 2002) and Interventions: Feminist Dialogues on Third World Women's Literature and Film (Garland, 1997). She is co-author of the book Culture and Customs of Argentina (Greenwood, 1998). Professor Fitch directed the UA Study Abroad program in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2001, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain in 2004, in Segovia, Spain in 2007, and in Chile in the fall of 2014. She has lived in South America, Europe, and Asia.

Courses Taught: GLS 251: Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities; HONORS 195: Critical Thinking; SPAN 480: Community Service; SPAN 350: Intro to Hispanic Literature; SPAN 425: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition; SPAN 449: Latin American Theater; SPAN 449: Madrid en las artes (taught in Madrid); SPAN 571: Teoria Literaria; PORT 305: Portuguese for Spanish Speakers; PORT 350: Survey of Brazilian Literature; PORT 449/549: Brazilian Culture; PORT 463/563: Latin American Feminist Film; TRAD 104/SPAN 160: Issues in Latin American Society and Popular Culture; SPAN 433 Mexican and Mexican-American Literature and Culture; SPAN 449H: Honors Thesis; SPAN 401: Spanish-American Culture and Civilization; SPAN 561: Visual Culture; SPAN 571 Latin American Digital Literature.

Current Work in Progress
"India Dreams: Longing and Belonging in the Americas" Book-length manuscript based on Fulbright-funded research conducted primarily in India and Latin America from 2014-2019.

"'I Don't Want to be in Your Revolution if I Can't Dance': Dance and Social Justice in Argentina" Research that picks up a central thread from the Global Tangos book on human rights and dance activism.

"The Global Chicano: The US/Mexico Borderlands in the Global Imaginary"

Select Publications 
Global Tangos: Travels in the Transnational Imaginary. Bucknell University Press, 2015.
Side Dishes: Latin/a American Women and Cultural Production. Rutgers University Press, 2009.
Culture and Customs of Argentina. David William Foster, Melissa Fitch Lockhart and Darrell Lockhart. Greenwood Press, 1998.


"The Latin American Novel and New Technologies"Oxford Handbook of the Latin American Novel. Ignacio López-Calvo and Juan E. de Castro, eds. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP. 3-25, 2021.

"The Fierce Urgency of Now: Hispanic Studies, New Technology and the Future of the Profession"  Language, Image, Power: Luso-Hispanic Cultural Studies. Susan Larson, ed. New York: Routledge, 2021.

"Deconstructing the Rhetoric of Klaus Schwab’s Fourth Industrial Revolution" International Journal of Media Studies (Hyderabad, India). Spring 2021

"Tango Soft Power: How the Argentine Government Uses the National Dance as a Calling Card for Diplomacy." Public Diplomacy Magazine Vol. 18, 2017


2019 University of Arizona Excellence in Global Service Award
2016 Fulbright Academic and Professional Excellence Award to India for AY 2016-17
2015 1885 Distinguished Scholar Award
2014 Borderlands Theater Arts in Education Award  
2014 Outstanding Humanities Faculty Award for the Honors College
2013 UA Sherrill Creative Teaching Award
2013 Distinguished Humanities Fellow for the Honors College for AY 2013-14.
2011 Fulbright Scholar Award to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for AY 2011-12.
2010 Fulbright Hays Summer Fellowship to China (declined)
2008 UA Five Star Teaching Award (from 5 finalists, university-wide, and 60 nominees)
2004 UA Provost's General Education Teaching Award
2004 UA Teaching Center Amy Amiot Honorary Fellowship for Outstanding Teaching and Service
2000 UA College of Humanities Outstanding Advising Award
1997 Arizona Language Association Outstanding University Educator Award
1997 Professor of the Year Arizona International College of the University of Arizona
1995 Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Associate
1994 Arizona State University Faculty Women's Association Distinguished Achievement Award


Currently Teaching

SPAN 350 – Readings in the Literary Genres

SPAN 498H – Honors Thesis

An honors thesis is required of all the students graduating with honors. Students ordinarily sign up for this course as a two-semester sequence. The first semester the student performs research under the supervision of a faculty member; the second semester the student writes an honors thesis.

SPAN 202 – Fourth Semester Spanish

Continuation of Spanish 101, 102, and 201 or by placement exam. As the second semester of the second year Spanish, this course is designed to provide insight into the literature and culture of the Spanish speaking countries. Themes are developed by content-based cultural activities, which provide awareness in the Hispanic culture, and encourage students to formulate opinions on a variety of contemporary issues through authentic readings, discussions and writing. This course reviews the grammatical concepts in a more sophisticated way and analyses more complex syntactic structures considered within a functional whole such as the subjunctive moods, etc. The teaching approach integrates grammar and culture in a functional use through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Classroom activities stress communication across the four skills with a strong aural, oral and written component. Audio, video, and computer materials incorporated.