Ricardo L. Ortiz is a Professor of US Latinx Literatures and Cultures in Georgetown University's Department of English; he served as Department Chair from 2015 to 2021 and as Director of Graduate Studies in English from July 2008 to July 2014. He earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Georgetown in 2005, and promotion to Full Professor in 2021.
In addition to U.S. Latinx Literatures and Cultures, Prof.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.
Prof. Ortiz earned his M.A. in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of California Los Angeles, and his B.A. in English and Economics from Stanford University in 1983. And before coming to Georgetown in 1998 he held tenure track positions at San José State University and Dartmouth College. Prof. Ortiz was born in Cuba in 1961 and left with his family in 1966; he grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, CA, graduating in 1979.
Prof Ortiz's second book, Latinx Literature Now: Between Evanescence and Event, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in early 2019, in both Palgrave's Pivot and its Literatures of the Americas series.
Prof. Ortiz's first book, Cultural Erotics in Cuban America, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2007; it 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.
His third book, The Testimonial Imagination: Cold War Geo-Politics and the Post-Conflict Cultures of US Latinidad, is well under way.
From Spring 2006 through Summer 2007 Prof. Ortiz was on leave from Georgetown while he served as the Director of the American Communities Program in the College of Arts and Letters at the California State University, Los Angeles. At Cal State LA he held the Joseph A. Bailey II, MD, Endowed Chair in American Communities, at the level of Full Professor.
Prof. Ortiz currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of English (2019-22), and will serve as its President in 2022. He was appointed to the Committee on the Literatures of People of Color for the Modern Language Association in 2017; in 2018 he also completed a three-year term as a jurist for the Matei Calinescu Prize in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Studies, also for the MLA. From 2016 to 2018 Prof. Ortiz also served as co-chair of the Washington, DC, area site committee for the 2018 national meeting of the Latino Studies Association, working with colleagues at the U of Maryland, George Washington U, the U of Virginia, and the Smithsonian Institution to bring 500 scholars of US Latino Studies to the nation's capital.
In 2013 Prof. Ortiz also completed tenures of multiple years as Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethnic Studies of the American Studies Association and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Gay Studies in Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association. Between 2009 and 2012 he also directed four major conferences and symposia on the Georgetown campus, two for the Americas Initiative of Georgetown College (2009, 2012) and two for the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice (2010, 2011). Since 2010 Prof. Ortiz has also been a consultant on matters of US Latino literature, culture and history with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where he regularly conducts enrichment programming with groups of CHCI Fellows and Interns.
Since 2010 Prof. Ortiz has published a variety of scholarly, critical and reference pieces in such collections as Imagined Transnationalism: US Latino/a Literature, Culture and Identity (Palgrave, 2010), Gay Latino Studies: a Critical Reader (Duke UP, 2011), The Routledge Companion to US Latino Literature (2012), GLQ (2014), The Cambridge Companion to Latino Literature (2016), The Cambridge History of Latino Literature (2018), After Queer Studies (Cambridge, 2019), and Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies (2020).
Prof. Ortiz published two journal articles in the 2007/2008 academic year. One, on the Chicano novelist Arturo Islas, appeared in Contemporary Literature in the fall of 2007, and the other, on Celia Cruz and Wyclef Jean's hiphop rendition of ''Guantanamera,'' appeared in Social Text in the spring of 2008. A third article, entitled “Edwidge Danticat’s Latinidad: The Farming of Bones and the Cultivation (of Fields) of Knowledge,” appeared in the collection Aftermaths: Exile, Migration, and Diaspora Reconsidered (Rutgers UP, 2008).
His less recent scholarly publications include: an article entitled “Fables of (Cuban) Exile: Special Periods and Queer Moments in Eduardo Machado’s Floating Island Plays” in the journal Modern Drama (Spring 2005); another article entitled ''Hemispheric Vertigo: Cuba, Quebec, and Other Provisional Reconfigurations of Our (New) América(s)'' in The Futures of American Studies (Duke UP, 2002); entries on various topics in the encyclopedia Gay Histories and Cultures (Garland, 2000); other published articles include: ''Revolution's Other Histories: the Sexual, Cultural and Critical Legacies of Roberto Fernandez Retamar's 'Caliban''' (Co-Winner, Crompton-Noll Prize for Best Essay in Queer Literary Studies), in Social Text, Spring 1999; ''L.A. Women: Jim Morrison with John Rechy'' in The Queer Sixties (Routledge, 1999) and ''Docile Bodies, Volatile Texts: Prison Writing in the Cuban Diaspora'' in Annals of Scholarship (1998). Earlier in the 1990's he also published articles in Studies in English Literature, The Yale Journal of Criticism, and The Journal of Homosexuality.