Associate Professor Walescka Pino-Ojeda

BA(Hons) (Chile), MA, PhD (Washington)


My research is concerned with the ways in which the arts present and contest hegemonic power. I started my career as a secondary school teacher in Philosophy and Spanish-American literature in Chile, while also taking part in the cultural and political campaigns against the then-ongoing dictatorial regime. I was able to pursue these interests further while completing my PhD in Critical Theory and Latin American Literature in the US. In analysing Latin American social and political developments in the post authoritarian era (1990s-present), I have extended my research beyond the study of literature, and am now primarily examining popular music, film and civic activism. In order to provide a comprehensive account of these artistic and cultural processes in the context of neoliberalism and social trauma, my research has been multidisciplinary, combining Cultural, Subaltern, Postcolonial and Trauma Studies. I have been able to employ this disciplinary base in all the courses I teach in the Spanish and Latin American Studies Programmes, as well as in supervising postgraduate research. It has likewise informed my position as director for the New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies, guiding our activities and collaborations.

Research | Current

  • Critical theory, Latin American literature and cultural studies, particularly popular culture in music and film, trauma studies
  • Latin America: 20th century literature by women, popular music and film
  • Critical theory, post-colonial cultural studies, trauma studies

I am presently completing a volume that analyses the role that culture and civic activism are playing in overcoming the traumas of the past in order to consolidate ongoing processes of re-democratization in post-authoritarian Chile. As in the 1970s and 1980s, current forms of civic activism in Latin America are resorting to culture as a means of building new social agendas, outside institutional politics and the market. This volume aims to validate the agency of culture and aesthetics, reaffirming their power to transform the political sphere through the ethical authority of the emotive and the imagination.

Teaching | Current

LATINAM 210/310 Visual Cultures and Industries in Latin America

LATINAM 216/301 Music, Politics and Social Change in Latin America

LATINAM 306 Latin American Icons: The Political Economy of Otherness

LATINAM 320 Latin American Knowledges

LATINAM 350 Directed Reading and Research on Latin America

SPANISH 200 Intermediate Spanish 1

SPANISH 201 Intermediate Spanish 2

Postgraduate supervision

PhD theses completed:

Jane Christie, “Negotiating Gendered Discourses: Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner” (Co-supervisor, 2012). (University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar).

Carla Grosman, “The Allegory of the Standstill Traveller: Crisis and Recuperation of Utopia in the Latin American Cinema of the Neoliberal Era” (Supervisor, 2012).  (University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar).

Paul Bowker, “Post-Colonial Intersections between Spain and Latin America: Interpretations of Hispanidad in the Twentieth Century.” (Co-supervisor, 2010). (Bright Future Scholar).

Sarah McDonald, “From the People to the Popular: Fifty Years of Brazilian Film.” (Co-supervisor, 2004). (Bright Future Scholar).

MLit theses completed:

Lorena Garrido, “Democracy in the State and the Home: Chilean Feminine Poetry in Times of Political Crisis”. (Main Supervisor, 2005) (First Class Honours).

Joyce Luke, “Centre and Periphery in Latin American Cultural Debates during the Post Authoritarian Era”. (Main Supervisor, 2002). (First Class Honours).

MA theses completed

Sue Jin Park, “Business and Usual: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as a Case Study to Understand Its Impact on Chile and Peru’s Democracy”. (Main Supervisor, 2017).

Sorrel O’Leary, “Discourse, Power and Authenticity: The Latin American Cantautor and the Struggle for Truth.” (Main Supervisor, 2011).

Sarah Stewart, “Transcending the Emprisonment Space in the Writing of Roseleen Walsh and Reinaldo Arenas.” (Co-supervisor, Comparative Literature, 2009).

Mona-Lynn Courteau, “Music and Dance Performance, Longing, and the Construction of Brazil in Auckland, New Zealand” (Co-supervisor with Anthropology Dept., 2007). (First Class Honours).

Carla Grosman, “The Spectre of Absence: Argentine Cinema as Re-narration of Collective Memory.” (Main Supervisor, 2006) (First Class Honours).

Kirsty Charles, “Latin American Rock and the Renewal of Collective Utopia.” (Main Supervisor, 2005) (First Class Honours).

Sarah McDonald “Crisis, Coercion and Cultural Difference in Authoritarian Brazil and Argentina” (Co-supervisor, 2000). (First Class Honours).

MA dissertations completed:

Carmel Murphy, “Cooking and Writing: The Body and the Text in Como agua para chocolate” (Main Supervisor, 2000).


  • Director NZ Centre for Latin American Studies
  • Programme Coordinator Latin American Studies
  • Study Abroad Adviser - Latin America

Areas of expertise

  • Latin American Literature
  • Trauma and Memory Studies
  • Popular culture in Latin America: film and music
  • Civic activism in Latin America

Committees/Professional groups/Services

School of Cultures Languages and Linguistics (CLL) Research Commitee member

Development Studies board member


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2017). Post‐authoritarian Chilean documentary: From the destruction of the popular social subject to the collective “I”. Los Angeles, USA. 9 November - 9 November 2017. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2017). The dissident homo economicus: Neoliberal Chile and the films of Pablo Larraín. Oregon, USA.. 7 November - 7 November 2017. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2017). Reframing social memory: Working through trauma under neoliberalism in Chilean cinema. University of Iceland. 18 October - 18 October 2017. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, W. (2017). The Return to the Social through the Collective “I”: Disrupting the Uneventful Face of Neoliberal Precariousness in the Chilean Documentary El otro día. Critical Arts, 31 (5), 28-44. 10.1080/02560046.2017.1405054
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2017). Testimonio y “rendición de cuentas”: El documental chileno y los sitios éticos fundados y fundantes de la dictadura (Testimony and "rendering of accounts": The Chilean documentary and the founded and founding ethical sites of the dictatorship). Paper presented at Visible Evidence International Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2 August - 6 August 2017. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2017). Uneasy social and pychological landscapes in the cinemas of Chile and New Zealand. In A. J. Traverso (Ed.) Southern screens: Cinema, culture and the global south (pp. 55-71). Oxon, UK: Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, W. (2017). "!No mas lucro!" Desobediencia, memoria e intervención afectiva en el movimiento estudiantil chileno (“No more profit!”: Disobedience, memory and affective intervention in the Chilean students’ movement). In Z. Moret (Ed.) Agencia cultural, arte, educación y prácticas sociales en América Latina y la frontera (Cultural agency, art and education in Latin America and its borders) (pp. 47-66). New York: Escribana Books.
  • Pino-Ojeda, W. (2016). Written on the wall: Latin American street storytellers from Muralismo to Graffiti. Paper presented at Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America, Auckland, New Zealand. 19 June - 19 June 2016.


Contact details

Office hours

Semester 1, 2018:  Tuesday and Wednesday 11-12, or by appointment

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 410
New Zealand

Web links