Carlos Mejia Suarez


"Digo esto para que los jóvenes insistan en lo que no comprenden, que vuelvan sobre lo que no entienden, porque al final los ojos se abrirán ante un mundo maravilloso" ["I say this so that young people insist in what they don't comprehend, so that they go over what they don't understand, for at the end their eyes will be open before a wonderful world." [José Lezama Lima. Paradiso]

As a scholar in Latin American literature and culture, and in literary studies, I have always followed these words that Cuban novelist José Lezama Lima uses to begin his novel… And even before I had read his work, I constantly faced what I could not understand with a spirit of curiosity and a desire to make sense of what unfolded before my eyes: years of violence, the heat of my hometown and the cool heights of the Andes where Bogotá sits… the words of the masters, the images on huge screens… reading Der Zauberberg and seeing myself in it as much as I could relate to Cien años de soledad. I wondered how dinosaurs could ever appear before my eyes in the big screen, and how someone could prompt the images in the news that showed the devastation of bombs, or rockets lighting the sky. The path that my curiosity took in order to find answers was that of literature, and that of communicating to others this desire to understand what is not clear at a first glance.

My research currently covers the following topics: narratives of demonic pacts in Latin American literature (from the Nineteenth Century to the present),  Colombian contemporary narratives of violence and conflict, and representations of masculinities in Latin American literature (mainly focusing on Salvador Novo, Alonso Sánchez Baute, Fernando Molano Vargas, and Héctor Abad Faciolince).

In my teaching I strive to make students find out what they want to explore. For this reason, I encourage students to embrace liberal arts, go beyond the merely practical, and constantly question what we see and what we think we know. It is my belief that if we look at a language, read a literary piece, or appreciate a work of art, we all in the classroom can start by questioning first impressions, go on to compare our opinions with those of others, and finally create new perspectives on the subject matter that brings us together. I approach classroom experience as an act of self-discovery where we all need each other.

I am also committed to establish connections between research, teaching and community engagement. This is part of the process of discovery. Experiences in the community allow students to see how their coursework can serve a greater purpose, and at the same they bring new questions to what students have learned in their coursework.


I completed my undergraduate degree in Literary Studies at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, and did an M.A. in Latin American literature at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well. I obtained my PhD degree in Spanish at The University of Iowa in 2010.

Courses Taught


SPA-102 (Hispanic World II) and SPA-344 (ST:Demons/Heroes in LA)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
SPA-102Hispanic World II32014/FA and 2013/FA
SPA-250Hispanic Diversity22014/FA and 2014/SP
NDL-213War on Drugs Stories12015/JN
SPA-320Latin Am Culture12014/FA
SPA-103Hispanic World III12014/SP
SPA-322Masterworks Span-Am Lit12013/FA