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Iván Ramos

Profile Photo of Iván Ramos

Assistant Professor, The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

(301) 405-0836

2101 Woods Hall
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Research Expertise

Critical Race Theory
Cultural Studies
Latinx Studies
LGBTQ Studies
Media Studies
Performance Studies
Queer Of Color Critique
Queer Theory
Trans Studies
Visual Culture

Iván A. Ramos is assistant professor of LGBTQ studies in the department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland. He was previously a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. He received his PhD in Performance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from UC Berkeley. His first book, Sonic Negations: Unbelonging Subjects, Inauthentic Objects, and Sound between Mexico and the United States, examines how Mexican and U.S. Latino/a artists and publics utilized sound to articulate negation in the wake of NAFTA. Iván’s broader research investigates the links and slippages between transnational Latino/a American aesthetics in relationship to the everydayness of contemporary and historical violence. In Fall 2016, he was a member of the “Queer Hemisphere: América Queer” Residential Research group at the University of California Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine. His writing has appeared in several journals including Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and ASAP/Journal. He has articles forthcoming in the catalog for the exhibition Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., sponsored by the Getty Foundation, and the anthology Turning Archival from Duke University Press.


Marginal Lives: Video Aesthetics, Mexican Contemporary Art, and Sarah Minter’s Alma Punk.

Iván Ramos publishes article in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture's special issue on Amateurism

The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Lead: Iván Ramos

This article makes use of the notion of amateurism to reframe our understandings of Mexican contemporary art of the late 1980s and early 1990s. I look specifically at Sarah Minter’s 1991 feature length video piece Alma Punk to suggest that its deployment of an aesthetics of amateurism indexes the oft-forgotten intersection between punk subcultures and the contemporary art scene of the period. Countering dominant discourses in art historical discussions that subsume Mexican contemporary art to macro-political and economic developments, I situate Alma Punk as an object that allows us to recognise the marginal spaces from which this art emerged. I locate amateurism in this article in close relation to Manny Farber’s idea of ‘termite art’, an aesthetic mode that favors the reach of minor gestures against the will toward mastery found in ‘white elephant art’. Thus, Minter’s work chooses amateurism as an aesthetic mode that approximates the everyday experiences of her marginal subjects.