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Associate Professor, Department of Romance Studies


Ph.D 2004, University of Pittsburgh
M.A. 2000, University of Pittsburgh
B.A. 1998, Northeastern Illinois University

Research Interests

Emil’ Keme (aka Emilio del Valle Escalante) is an Indigenous K’iche’ Maya scholar, member of the Maya anticolonial collective Ixb’alamkyej Junajpu Wunaq’ and an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His teaching and research focus on contemporary Latin American literatures and cultural studies, with particular emphasis on Indigenous literatures and social movements, Central American literatures and cultures, and postcolonial and subaltern studies theory. He is the author of Maya Nationalisms and Postcolonial Challenges in Guatemala (2009; Spanish version: Nacionalismos Mayas by FLACSO, 2008). Keme is the 2020 recipient of Cuba’s prestigious Casa de las Americas Literary Criticism Prize for his book Le Maya Q’atzij/Our Maya Word. Poetics of Resistance in Guatemala (2021; Spanish version: Le Maya Q’atzij/Nuestra palabra Maya by Cuba’s Casa de las Americas Press). The book offers a critical analysis of the contemporary Maya literary movement in Guatemala and highlights how Maya poetics become a field of discursive struggle for historical memory and Indigenous rights.