Laura Leon Llerena Assistant Professor

Laura León Llerena specializes in Colonial Latin American Studies. She earned a PhD (2011) in Latin American Literature from Princeton University.

Laura teaches courses in Spanish and English on the discursive articulation of indigenous identities (‘Becoming Yndio’); native Andean Empire narratives (‘Telling the Story of the Incas’); myths and cautionary tales about the unknown in Spanish and Portuguese colonial America (‘On Shipwrecks,    Cannibals, Demons, and Gold’);  postcolonial theory; and contemporary representations of colonial Latin America. At the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program she has team-taught the course ‘Genocide, Resistance, and Resurgence: Native Peoples of the Americas’.

Her book in progress, Restoring the Illegible: Unexpected Uses of Writing in Early Colonial Peru analyses the ways in which indigenous peoples of the Andes appropriated and conceived of alphabetic writing in relation to their own various pre-Hispanic forms of inscription in the long first century after the Spanish conquest of Peru (1532-1648). Her scholarly interests extend to early modern literature and history of Spain, Portugal and the New World, translation studies, postcolonial studies, religion studies, and the ethnography of writing.

Laura’s research has been awarded a John Carter Brown Fellowship (2016), and an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Volkswagen Stiftung Fellowship (Freie Universitat-Berlin, 2017). ​

Laura is an affiliated faculty at Northwestern's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.