Phillip Penix-Tadsen specializes in Latin American cultural studies, focusing on the intersections between politics, economics, new media, and visual culture in the region today. He earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University with the doctoral thesis Marketing Marginality: Resistance and Commodification in Contemporary Latin American Cultural Production, which focuses on a spectrum of media spanning literature, film, journalism, political discourse, graffiti, television, blogs, and viral videos. He has published work in peer-reviewed journals including Latin American Research Review and Ciberletras.
Professor Penix-Tadsen’s current book project, Cultural Code: Video Games and Latin America, offers the first synthetic theorization of the relationship between video games and culture through case studies that show the myriad ways video games use Latin America, as well as how Latin America uses video games. The book brings together the critical vocabularies of game studies and Latin American cultural studies to show how culture is employed in symbolic, environmental, and narrative elements of games, as well as how further dimensions of games’ meaning are shaped by the real-world settings in which those games are designed, manufactured, played, and otherwise put to use. Surveying an array of examples ranging from experimental web games made in Latin America to mainstream blockbusters that appropriate the region’s places and people and portray them for a growing global audience, the book offers a clear and thorough analysis of the intricate relationship between games and culture that moves beyond traditional assumptions to directly examine the mechanisms at play when cultural meaning is created in and around video games.
At the University of Delaware, Professor Penix-Tadsen teaches courses on contemporary Latin American cultural studies including New Media and New Directions in Latin America; Media-Savvy Populism from Che to Chávez; Drug Culture in Latin America; Graphic Transgressions: Breakthrough Movements in Latin American Visual Arts and Culture; and Resurrecting Mexico’s Dead.
Ph.D., Spanish, Columbia University
M.A., Hispanic Studies, University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Spanish and Women’s Studies, Ohio Wesleyan University