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Ricardo Ortiz Hopes to Make Literary Departments More Inclusive During Term As President of the Association of Departments of English

Ricardo Ortiz, Ph.D., was recently named president of the Association of Departments of English (ADE). The author, professor and former chair of Georgetown’s Department of English says that he plans to use his year term as president to address and counteract structural inequities that persist in literary departments across the United States and beyond. 

“My alliterative mantra for this year’s work with ADE is ‘Reckoning, Reparation, Reinvention,’” says Ortiz. “As an immigrant, first-generation, queer scholar of ‘English’ whose first language was not English, I do feel uniquely called to this work of reinvention. It informed my work over the six years when I had the honor to serve as chair of Georgetown’s English Department, and it will inform my work this coming year with ADE.”

Advancing Equity through the ADE

The ADE was established within the Modern Language Association (MLA) to support the institutional and professional work of literary, humanistic and language departments and programs in higher education in the United States and Canada across a variety of institutions. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and through the current era of social and racial reckoning, the ADE has focused its programming, consultancy and advocacy work on matters of institutional innovation, professional diversification and curricular reform.

A member of the ADE since 2020, Ortiz was chosen to serve as the institution’s president during his final year. He says that this is “a watershed moment for those who are engaged in literary, cultural and language study.”

“{This is a period of} foundational reckoning with what we have done historically as a collection of disciplines and fields, and what we can do differently in the future as we address the structures of dominance, exclusion and inequity…in order to repair the damage done,” he says. “Along the way, we’ll retain what’s always been foundationally humane about the study of language and art, while imagining future ways to do that work that lean much more toward transforming rather than reforming it, more toward reinvention than restitution.”

English departments such as Georgetown’s that hold an ADE membership have access to resources including effective governance and leadership development, curricular design innovation and career preparation for both graduate and undergraduate students.

By helping to lead the ADE, Ortiz will be able to advocate for inclusivity and equity in the programming and assets the organization provides. 

More About Ortiz

An expert in US Latinx works of literature and cultures, Ortiz also specializes in hemispheric, transnational Americas Studies, critical and cultural theory, cultural studies, intellectual history, race, gender and queer theory, political theory and popular culture. 

His first book, Cultural Erotics in Cuban America, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2007 and was awarded Honorable Mention for the Modern Language Association’s 2008 Alan Bray Book Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions to Queer Literary and Cultural Studies. 
Ortiz is also the author of Latinx Literature Now: Between Evanescence and Event, and is currently completing The Testimonial Imagination: Cold War Geo-Politics and the Post-Conflict Cultures of US Latinidad.

by Shelby Roller (G’19)

Faculty Research