Joanna Bartow’s research focuses on 20th and 21st-century Latin American literature and culture, especially on writing by women. She has written articles and given papers on critical theory, testimonial discourse, and works by Elena Poniatowska, Juan Rulfo, Elena Garro, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Rigoberta Menchú, Clarice Lispector, Cristina Peri Rossi, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, Diamela Eltit, Mayra Santos Febres, and Samanta Schweblin.
Her book, Subject to Change: The Lessons of Latin American Women’s Testimonio for Truth, Fiction, and Theory, was published in 2005 by the University of North Carolina Press’s Series in Romance Languages and Literatures. The book examines Latin American women’s testimonial writing and fiction together, and their relationship to literary theory, in order to reaffirm the authority of the testimonial subject and the complexity of how she negotiates her speaking position. The book also shows the importance of a feminist perspective on Latin American testimonial writing. She also wrote the entry on testimonial literature for André and Bueno’s Latin American Women Writers: An Encyclopedia (2008).
Dr. Bartow’s current research examines questions of space, postdictatorship, and representations of gender. In this vein, she is completing an extended essay on historicity and gender in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Puerto Madero., and her essay “Herencias del terror y del consenso: hijas perversas en ‘Árbol genealógico’ de Andrea Jeftanovic y ‘Pájaros en la boca’ de Samanta Schweblin” is forthcoming in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. She is particularly interested in how questions of space and spatial justice create an intersection between this scholarly work and her community-based-learning course in St. Mary’s County.