Susana Loza

Associate Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Media Studies
Susana Loza
Contact Susana

Mail Code HA
Susana Loza
Franklin Patterson Hall G12
413.549.4600

On leave of absence fall 2022 and sabbatical spring 2023.


Susana Loza is an associate professor of critical race, gender and media studies at Hampshire College. She received B.A. degrees in political science and psychology from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in comparative ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

She teaches cultural studies, critical race theory, film and media studies, popular music, feminist theory, and ethnic studies. Her research interests include the social construction of race and sex in speculative media; power, privilege, and cultural appropriation; gender and ethnic performativity in digital spaces; the politics of sampling and remixing; colonial cosplay in steampunk; the activist potential of social media; and the post-racial turn in popular culture.

Professor Loza’s publications include “Imperial Fictions: Doctor Who, Post-Racial Slavery, and Other Liberal Humanist Fantasies,” “Steampunk Style and the After-Life of Empire,” “Hashtag Feminism, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and the Other #FemFuture,” “Playing Alien in Post-Racial Times,” “Samples of the Past: Performative Nostalgia, Illicit Sounds, and Cultural Transformation in Latin House Music,” “Sampling (Hetero)sexuality: Diva-ness and Discipline in Electronic Dance Music,” “Vampires, Queers, and Other Monsters: Against the Homonormativity of True Blood,” and “Orientalism and Film Noir: Subjective Sins and Othered Desires.” Her current project, Speculative Imperialisms: Monstrosity and Masquerade in Post-Racial Times (Lexington Books, 2017), explores the resurgence of racial masquerade in science fiction, horror, and fantasy and contemplates the fundamental, albeit changing, role that ethnic simulation plays in American and British cultures in a putatively post-racial and post-colonial era.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This course examines the fraught intersection of politics and popular culture in the US. In this class, we ask: What is pop culture? How does it differ from other cultural expressions? How does pop culture both challenge and reify white supremacist capitalist patriarchy? What and who get to be political? How does pop culture act as a vehicle for the appropriation or exploitation of Other cultures? Is consuming pop culture a form of political action? How do explicit political themes both enrich and detract from consumption? What economic imperatives drive pop culture production? What are the relationships between commerce, politics, and art? Particular attention will be paid to: the racialized construction of masculinity and femininity in popular culture; the appropriation of racial and gender identities; the role of global capitalism and the market in the production of popular culture. This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive. Keywords: Media Studies, Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, American Studies

  • This seminar will explore the interface of technology with gender, race, and disability. It will consider how the concepts of gender, race, and disability are embodied in technologies, and conversely, how technologies shape our notions of gender, race, and disability. It will examine how contemporary products - such as film, TV, video games, science fiction, social networking technologies, and biotech - reflect and mediate long-standing but ever-shifting anxieties about race, gender, and disability. The course will consider the following questions: How do cybertechnologies enter into our personal, social, and work lives? Do these technologies offer new perspectives on cultural difference? How does cyberculture reinscribe or rewrite gender, racial, and sexual dichotomies? Does it open up room for alternative and non-normative identities, cultures, and communities? Does it offer the possibility of transcending the sociocultural limits of the body? Finally, what are the political implications of these digital technologies? Keywords: Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies, Disability Studies, Queer Studies

  • This course examines questions of race, gender/sexuality, and disability in science fiction, horror, and fantasy film and television. It investigates how and why people in different social positions have been constructed as foreign, freakish, or monstrous. In addition to exploring the relationship between sex/gender norms and hierarchies based on race/species or class/caste, we will also consider the following questions: Does the figure of the alien/freak/monster reconfigure the relationship between bodies, technology, and the division of labor? How do such figures simultaneously buttress and transgress the boundary between human and non-human, normal and abnormal, Self and Other? How does society use the grotesque body of the alien/freak/monster to police the liminal limits of sexuality, gender, and ethnicity? How does The Other come to embody Pure Evil? Finally, what are the consequences of living as an alien/freak/monster for specific groups and individuals? (keywords: Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies, Disability Studies)

  • This seminar will examine the history of US immigration from the founding of the American nation to the great waves of European, Asian, and Mexican immigration during the 19th and early 20th centuries, to the more recent flows from Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In addition to investigating how these groups were defined and treated in relation to each other by the media, we will consider the following questions: Who is "American"? How does the American Dream obscure US settler colonialism and slavery? How do US immigration narratives, historically and currently, reveal the racial limits of citizenship? How do contemporary political debates about immigration compare with those from previous eras? Is public opinion about immigration shaped by the media? Special attention will be paid to the role of immigration in national politics; Hollywood's fabrication and circulation of ethnic stereotypes; and the virulent xenophobia routinely exhibited in the media. (keywords: ethnic studies, critical race theory, american studies, media studies, political science)

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  • Historically, settler states and imperial regimes have disenfranchised and dispossessed racialized Others by constructing ideological frameworks that justify and obscure the ongoing violence of the colonial process. Through a close examination of film, television, music, and digital media, this course will explore how contemporary US popular culture fabricates and disseminates imperialist fantasies and settler mythologies. It will interrogate the political meanings embedded in popular culture and ask: What do imperial productions and settler creations reveal about the tangled relationships between race, history, and desire? How do colonial and imperial settings propagate racism, sexism and ableism; anxieties about class, gender, and sexuality; and concerns about the white (settler) colonial state's ability to digest and domesticate non-normative Others? What are the material consequences of romanticizing imperialism and settler colonialism? Can cultural industries rooted in racial and sexual conquest be decolonized? How does one disrupt and subvert the white (settler) colonial gaze? (keywords: film and media studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, popular culture, critical race theory)

  • The idea of whiteness structures our societies in myriad ways that go from the aesthetic, to the economic and political, defining standards of beauty, mechanisms for the transfer of wealth, and criteria for national belonging, to name a few examples. While it is well-known that whiteness is a social construct (rather than a scientific "truth), it continues to rest on and reproduce biologized notions of human difference that resonate with historical forms of racism and perpetuate it in new forms today. As the structuring pillar of racial difference around which racial Others are defined and judged, whiteness continues to be conspicuously invisible. In this course, we will analyze the historical and contemporary construction of whiteness and its consequences in various areas of social and political life. Importantly, we will not restrict our exploration to the United States, but rather will consider whiteness (in its different iterations) as a global phenomenon with a particular focus on the Americas. (keywords: sociology, anthropology, literature, film & media studies, critical race theory)