Juan Rodriguez

Associate Professor of Spanish

Member Of:
  • School of Modern Languages
  • Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center
Office Location: Swann 313
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Dr. Rodríguez is Associate Professor of Spanish at Georgia Tech and co-editor of the collection of essays New Documentaries in Latin America (Palgrave, 2014). He is also co-editing a book series, Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America, for the University Press of Florida.

His current book project, Cinematic Ruinologies: Cuba, Documentary and the Ambiguous Rhetoric of Decay, explores representations of space and place in documentaries made in Cuba. The first part of the project is an analysis of various documentaries on ruins made by Cuban and international filmmakers after the collapse of the Soviet Union and during the Special Period. Rodríguez argues that the projection of images of debris and urban decay in documentaries constitutes an ambiguous rhetoric. Cuban ruins not only evoke the frustrations of Cuban people, the vulnerable situation of historical emblems or the limits of revolutionary discourse but also a social desire for change. The second part of the project consists of a study of the semiotic, institutional, and technoscientific implications of the fungal contamination of film documentaries made in the 1970s. Through the concept of film micology, Rodríguez investigates the consequences of the biodeterioration of Cuban films stored in ICAIC (the Cuban Film Institute) to highlight that performing film archival research in the 21st century, in the age of digital technologies, is another form of ruinology.

Professor Rodríguez is a Latin American film scholar whose research focuses on the representation of Latin American cities in documentary. He studies how Latin American documentaries represent contemporary urban issues such as housing problems, transportation dynamics, water resources, economic development, and social movements. For Rodríguez, documentary is an audiovisual discourse that opens the possibility to examine urban imaginaries, which in turn reveal the ways city dwellers perceive, experience, and transform their cities. Many documentaries offer ways of imagining the city that either overlap with or challenge some of the “mental mappings ” and “interpretive grids” developed by dwellers, visitors, and tourists when exploring different urban realities. Viewers can infer and reconstruct an imaginary map of the city each time a documentary gives shape to the navigation of the physical city and to the routes, itineraries, and actions of city dwellers. In his publications, Rodríguez explores documentaries as moving maps and embodied cartographies of contemporary urban issues.

He completed his doctorate at Duke University's Literature Program, where he also earned a certificate in Latin American Studies. His research areas include documentary studies, sustainability, critical theory, urban studies, and digital humanities. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Latin American Perspectives, Revista Iberoamericana, Revista Pensamiento de los Confines, Debats, Journal of Sport History, and La Habana Elegante. He has published chapters in various books, including Miradas al margen: Cine y subalternidad en América Latina y el Caribe, ed. Luis Duno-Gottberg (Caracas: Fundación Cinemateca Nacional, 2009); Poéticas de José María Lima: Tradición y sorpresa, ed. Áurea María Sotomayor (Pittsburgh: Instituto Internacional de Literatura Latinoamericana, 2012); Redes hipertextuales en el aula: Claves y conceptos, ed. José Manuel de Amo, Osvaldo Cleger and Antonio Mendoza (Barcelona: Editorial Octaedro, 2015); and Sports and Nationalism in Latin America, ed. Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste, Robert Irwin, and Juan Poblete (forthcoming in Palgrave).  He has taught courses on Latin American cities, Spanish Service Learning, Globalization in Latin America, Latin American documentaries, Science Fiction from Latin America and Latin American music. At the School of Modern Languages, Dr. Rodríguez has participated in the organization of various events, including the symposium on Latin American Media Studies in the Age of Digital Humanities. 


Research Fields:
  • Communication
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digital Media
  • Economic Development and Smart Cities
  • Global Cities and Urban Society
  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Spanish
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • Digital and Mixed Media
  • Digital Communication
  • Digital Humanities
  • Globalization and Localization
  • History and Memory
  • Language and Popular Culture
  • Languages in Contact
  • Media
  • Mediatized Culture
  • Migration
  • Poetry
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Sports
  • Sustainability


  • GMC-6001: Global Media & Cultures
  • ML-6501: Theory & Foundations Sem
  • SPAN-1001: Elementary Spanish I
  • SPAN-1002: Elementary Spanish II
  • SPAN-2002: Intermediate Spanish II
  • SPAN-3070: Latin American Music
  • SPAN-3102: Conversation II
  • SPAN-3111: Composition I
  • SPAN-3200: Global Latin America
  • SPAN-3500: Sci-Fi In Latin America
  • SPAN-3691: Bus Comm& Correspondence
  • SPAN-3692: Business And Culture
  • SPAN-3823: Special Topics
  • SPAN-3833: Special Topics
  • SPAN-4150: Spanish Service Learning
  • SPAN-4350: Iberoamerican Cities
  • SPAN-4405: Latin American Documentaries
  • SPAN-4454: Latin America through Film
  • SPAN-4500: Intercultural Seminar
  • SPAN-6405: Latin American Documentaries
  • SPAN-6454: Latin America Thru Film
  • SPAN-6500: Intercultural Seminar
  • SPAN-6501: Theory & Foundations Sem

All Publications

Journal Articles


Scholarly Editions

  • New Documentaries in Latin America

    Examining the vast breadth and diversity of contemporary documentary production, while also situating nonfiction film and video within the cultural, political, and socio-economic history of the region, this book addresses topics such as documentary aesthetics, indigenous media, and transnational filmmaking, among others.

    View All Details about New Documentaries in Latin America

Other Publications

  • Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America

    Edited by Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste, Georgia State University and Juan Carlos Rodríguez, Georgia Institute of Technology

    Book Series Description: 
    Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America explores how Latin American and Latino audiovisual (film, television, digital), musical (radio, recordings, live performances, dancing), and graphic (comics, photography, advertising) cultural practices reframe and reconfigure social, economic, and political discourses at a local, national, and global level. In addition, it looks at how information networks reshape public and private policies, and the enactment of new identities in civil society. The series also covers how different technologies have allowed and continue to allow for the construction of new ethnic spaces. It not only contemplates the interaction between new and old technologies but also how the development of brand-new technologies redefines cultural production.


    For more Information:


    Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste
    Professor, Department of Modern & Classical Languages
    Georgia State University
    Atlanta, GA 30302-3970

    Juan Carlos Rodríguez
    Georgia Institute of Technology

    View All Details about Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America