Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Ella Diaz

Ella DiazA 2014 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Ella Diaz is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Department of Latino/a Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Read her faculty profile for more information.

The Story

As a 2014 Faculty Fellow, Ella worked with assistant professor Ananda Cohen Suarez of the Department of History of Art in planning their Fall 2014 course, “Visualizing el Barrio: Interpreting and Documenting East Harlem’s Mural Tradition.”

Visualizing El Barrio immerses students in a semester-long contemplation and class project that integrates artistic praxis with art history and literary studies to document the historical murals of East Harlem, otherwise known as Spanish Harlem or “El Barrio.” Essential to the educational experience of the course will be the community partners that Diaz and Cohen Suarez will bring into the classroom and project. Through student research and documentation, “Visualizing El Barrio” participated in the preservation of East Harlem’s historical murals, culminating in a celebration of the artwork with a student-curated exhibit of photographs and presentations at Rockefeller Hall in December 2014.

Diaz and Cohen Suarez have turned to us to help effectively plan and implement a course that not only immerses students in experiential learning of public history and alternative epistemologies; but also one that benefits the community they seek to engage students in–the people and artists of East Harlem. The fellowship helped Diaz and Cohen Suarez make better partners with communities of local residents, artists, and students.

“Centuries of neglect of ethnic history have generated a tide of protest–where are the Native Americans, African American, Latino, and Asian American landmarks?” — Dolores Hayden, “The Power of Place,” 1997.

The Strategy

  • For Fall 2014 and the course, “Visualizing El Barrio,” Diaz and Cohen Suarez hoped to foreground effective and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners and their students to realize a photographic and narrative exhibit that has the potential for digital archiving.

In The News

Diaz’s study of art collective journeys into Chicano/a culture (May 18, 2017, Cornell Chronicle)

‘If Gender Is a Kind of Doing’ exhibition (April 10, 2013, SFGate)

Essays from Cornell University Students: An Initiative Between Ella Diaz, Assistant Professor of English and Latino/a Studies at Cornell University, and Museo Eduardo Carrillo


Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell

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