Martín Vega Olmedo

Assistant Professor of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures

Department: Department of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures
Office Address: Balch 213
Office Phone: (909) 607-2806

Martin Vega Olmedo will be on leave during the fall semester.

Martin Vega Olmedo

Academic History

PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

BA in Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine

Areas of Expertise

I focus on the indigenous literatures and cultures of the Americas, particularly from central Mexico. My current research currently revolves around the intersections of race and gender during and after the European invasion and conquest of Mexico. Works in progress include an article on the status of indigenous women governors in the passage to colonial Mexican society and another on the use and abuse of maguey (agave americana) plants in the 17th century. My book project deals with beauty and regimes of color in the Spanish-Mesoamerican colonial matrix.

Personal Interests

My research program stems from a longstanding interest in Nahua language and culture from the pre-Hispanic period to the present. The language of the Mexica (Aztecs) and surrounding communities in central Mexico, today there are about 1.5 million native Nahuatl speakers in Mexico, according to the last Mexican census in 2010. Global pressures to modernize economically and culturally have endangered virtually all of Mexico’s 68 currently spoken and officially recognized indigenous languages, including Nahuatl. Because languages offer us new ways to see the world, especially when a language is far different from our own, I am interested in projects of language revitalization—in my case this includes the incorporation of Nahuatl in the Spanish curriculum and issues of translation. Along with Eduardo de la Cruz Cruz, I have translated Amy Sara Carroll’s poetry, in The Desert Survival Series (2017), from English/Spanish into Nahuatl:


I'm a native of southern California and the son of working class Mexican immigrants who, I’m proud to say, have done more than their part to make America great (as immigrants do). After completing my PhD at the University of Michigan in 2016 I spent a year at Harvard University as a College Fellow, followed by another year at Miami University in Ohio as a Visiting Assistant Professor.