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
  • Popular culture in music and film (Latin America)
  • Memory and Trauma Studies
  • Post-colonial 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

SPANISH 201 Intermediate Spanish 2

LAITNAM 320 Latin American Knowledges

Postgraduate supervision

Latin American Studies PhD Theses (in progress)

Vanine Borges Amaral, “From Nation Building to Nation Branding: the Marketization Process of Contemporary Brazilian Folk Art.” (Co-supervisor Dr Caroline Vercoe, Arts History)

Fernando Velásquez Villalba, “Truth, Reconciliation and Re-Democratization Processes in post-Internal Conflict Peru.”  (Co-supervisor Dr Steve Winter, Politics)

María Jesús Vásquez Lesser, “Popular Altars: The Materialization of Absence in Latin American Popular Culture.” (Co-supervisor Dr Kathryn Lehman, Latin American Indigenous Studies)

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).

MA Theses completed

Rebeca O'Gorman-Dove, "El Sistema: The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Cultural Evolution". (Main Supervisor, 2018).

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).

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 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
  • Advisor PhD in Latin American Studies

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

Development Studies board member


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2019). “El Perpetrador común y el de “cuello y corbata”: Cine documental en el Chile post-autoritario”. Paper presented at NZ Hispanic Studies Seminar (NHUSS) 2019 (Seminario de Estudios Universitarios Hispánicos en Nueva Zelanda), Dunedin, New Zealand. 14 November - 15 November 2019.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. (2019). On Perpetrators: El Mocito, Chicago Boys, and the limits of reconciliation. Paper presented at III Memory Studies Association (MSA) Annual Conference, Madrid, Spain.. 25 June - 28 June 2019. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2019). Memoria y cine documental chileno: desafíos para transmitir, visualizar y superar el trauma social. Paper presented at Poesía y cine documental: diálogos e intersecciones, Santiago, Chile. 21 January - 22 January 2019. Related URL.
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2018). Social Cinema in Neoliberal Times: The Macabre Baroque in the Films of Pablo Larraín. In C. Sandberg, C. Rocha (Eds.) Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Resisting Neoliberalism? (pp. 197-214). London UK: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978-3-319-77010-9
  • Pino-Ojeda, X. W. (2018). “‘¡No más!’ ”: Trayectoria de una consigna desde la vanguardia artística hacia procesos de re-democratización político-sociales en Chile”. Paper presented at AILASA Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia: 25th Anniversary Conference, Melbourne, Australia. 3 July - 6 July 2018. Related URL.
  • 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.


Contact details

Office hours

Semester 1, 2019:  Tuesday and Thursday 3-4pm, or by appointment

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 410
New Zealand

Web links