Dominique Vargas

Vargas Postdoc


Areas of Interest

20th & 21st century Literature of the Americas, Multi-Ethnic US Literature, Linguistics, Gender Studies, Comparative and Relational Race and Ethnic Studies


PhD, University of Notre Dame, 2021

MA, St. Mary's University, 2015

MFA, Naropa University, 2010

BA, St. Mary's University, 2008


Dominique Vargas received her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Notre Dame Learning, where she focuses on DEI initiatives, wellbeing, and educational development by facilitating learning communities for graduate students of color and developing inclusive teaching initiatives.

As a scholar-educator, Dominique’s work is grounded in interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological frameworks, and she approaches research and teaching Literature of the Americas from a hemispheric perspective. Her research incorporates comparative approaches to language, race, gender, ethnicity, and identity in literature and performance. She teaches courses in writing, literature, pedagogy, and gender studies. 

Her current book project, Decolonial Continental Consciousness: Coalition And Performance In Multi-ethnic Women’s Literature After NAFTA, situates the corporeal body as a mode of linguistic, spatial, and temporal engagement against dominant discursive practices of neoliberalism. Informed by a lineage of colonial projects, imperial logic, and racial capitalism, neoliberal market mentality results in physical and epistemic violence against women, children, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities of color. This project argues that neoliberal economic and political policies, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, are the latest iteration of discursive control and exclusion of marginalized bodies. 

Through a comparative reading of hemispherically-oriented literature and performances since 1991, this project theorizes nonrepresentational and nonverbal discourses, in the form of gestures, embodied cartography, and rituals, provide an aesthetic and ethical basis for new forms of realism and continental coalition. Applying performance studies to prose and poetry by Claudia Hernández, Rosario Sanmiguel, Ana Maurine Lara, Achy Obejas, Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, Toni Morrison, Karen Tei Yamashita, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ana Castillo, Janet Campbell Hale, Jeannette Armstrong, and Calixta Gabriel Xiquín, Dominique’s project suggests that embodied responses constitute a framework for responding to and remaking linguistic, spatial, and temporal discourses on the continent.