Victoria Ruetalo, BA (U of Toronto), MA (McGill), PhD (Tulane)

Professor and Chair, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept
Chair, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept

Contact

Professor and Chair, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept
Email
victoria.ruetalo@ualberta.ca

Chair, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept
Email
vruetalo@ualberta.ca

Overview

About

I am a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies focussing on Latin American film and cultural studies. I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay but came to Canada early. I studied at the University of Toronto (BA) and McGill University (MA) before moving to New Orleans, LA, to embark on my next degree. I received my Ph.D. in Spanish from Tulane University in 2002. I then joined the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. My teaching and research specialize in Latin American film, exploitation film, critical theory, popular culture, censorship, sex on screen studies, and cultural politics during the Cold War, mainly but not limited to Argentina. I have published articles in prestigious journals such as Porn Studies, ADE Bulletin /ADFL Bulletin, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, Cultural Critique, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, and Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. I co-edited with Dolores Tierney (University of Sussex, UK) the SSHRC supported Latsploitation, Exploitation Cinemas, and Latin America (Routledge, 2009) and more recently Violated Frames: Armando Bó and Isabel Sarli's Sexploits (University of California Press, 2022). As Associate Chair Graduate (July 2013-December 2015), I helped to re-imagine, restructure, and implement revised graduate degrees in the department. Improving graduate students' academic and cultural environments motivated many changes to the program. Then, I was Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate Studies with a portfolio in Supervisor Training and Mentorship and Student Academic Affairs. Now, I am Chair in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.


Research

Violated Frames: Armando Bó and Isabel Sarli's Sexploits presents an alternate history of Latin American cinema that traces popular erotic cinema developing alongside the more explicitly political New Latin American Cinemas of the 1960s and 1970s. Through the lens of actor-producer-director Armando Bó and his star Isabel Sarli I argue for the need to begin in the national context of a volatile post-Perón Argentina. Bó and Sarli were pioneers, not just in Argentina but also across Latin America, of an erotic cinema that would later become part of other national consciousness and eventually enter US and European sexploitation markets. By analyzing the duo’s productions in Argentina as a starting point, I interrogate censorship, body politics, archive construction, and cultural taste as I theorize and historicize a period of Latin American film history from the perspective of popular, lower class, and gendered sexualized cinema. Combining close readings of the work across films due to censorship, alongside archival research, film theory, and Latin American history, Violated Frames inserts the role of the body, sexuality, and affect into a historical period that has silenced intimacy. As a continuation of the work, I began with the publication of Latsploitation, Exploitation Cinemas and Latin America. My current research tracks new avenues for approaching sexploitation beyond representation and considers the role of "affect" as it relates to intersectional subjectivities. My latest SSHRC-funded project, "Hot Flicks in the Cold War," examines the distribution of sexploitation from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico in the US and Canada. I argue that their transnational flows provide the optimal place to consider the politics behind their circulation and the relationships formed between the US, their puppet Latin American governments during the Cold War, and the distribution companies.