Theresa Avila, PhD


Assistant Professor of Art History and Curator​
California State University, Channel Islands

Theresa Avila earned a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of New Mexico with a focus on Latin American and Latin@x art. She is an Assistant Professor of non-Western Art History at California State University, Channel Islands. Prior to that she managed the Simon Burrow Collection of maps and books for the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. As a Mexican descent citizen of the United States who has and continues to live, study, and work in California, New Mexico, and Arizona she specializes in the history, practices, and systems that impact contemporary Latin@x communities within the U.S. southwest. As a scholar and curator her work focuses on the intersections between the visual and political, on a national and global scale, as she interrogates historiography, nation-building, systems of differentiation, social justice struggles, and civil rights protest. Recent publications include Making and Being Made: Contemporary Citizenship, Art, and Visual Culture (2017), which she co-edited; the essay “Icons of the Mexican Revolution: Constructions of Emiliano Zapata in Prints of the Mexican Revolution” in the book Imprints of Revolution: Visual Representations of Resistance (2016); and she also co-edited a special issue of Third Text (2014) focused on “Art and Revolution in Mexico.” She has also curated numerous exhibitions, such as Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History, and Transformation (2017) at Arizona State University; Legacy of the Mexican Revolution (2015) for the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico; and Imagined Regions: The Simon Burrow Transborder Map Collection (2015) for the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Avila firmly believes we must activate art in meaningful ways, and she dedicates herself to community oriented projects that engage art as a tool for change.


Tracing the History of Native American Communities in Relation to the Grand Canyon