Elda Maria Roman

Associate Professor of English
Email emr@usc.edu Office THH 404 Office Phone (213) 740-2808

Research & Practice Areas

Latinx and Black Cultural Production, Race and Ethnicity, Class, 20th and 21st Century American Literature, Television and Film, Popular Culture, Women of Color Feminism

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Center for Latinx and Latin American Studies,
  • Consortium for Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Public Culture,
  • Latinx Media Working Group,


As a scholar in literary and cultural studies, I research the effects of race and class across groups, disciplines, and genres. My book Race and Upward Mobility (Stanford UP, 2017) examines class dynamics in African American and Mexican American literature, television, and film from the 1940s-2000s. In this book, I analyze narratives about socioeconomic stratification and demonstrate how these narratives give form to social patterns intertwined with issues such as residential segregation, violence by law enforcement, underrepresentation in workplaces and in the media, and alarmist discourse against the racialized poor and immigrants. I continue to examine how cultural production participates in shaping the way we think about socioeconomic hierarchies and group boundaries and my current project explores redistributive efforts and narratives about fears of changing demographics. I grew up in Rhode Island and was the first in my family to attend college. I received my B.A. from Brown and my Ph.D. from Stanford. At USC, I teach classes on race and class, literature and media. 


  • Ph.D. English, Stanford University, 6/2013
  • B.A. English, Brown University, 5/2005
  • B.A. Latin American Studies, Brown University, 5/2005
  • Book

    • Román, E. (2017). Race and Upward Mobility: Seeking, Gatekeeping, and Other Class Strategies in Postwar America. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Book Chapters

    • Román, E. (2023). Incorporation and Disruption: What Fictional Narratives Reveal about the Realities of the American Dream. The Routledge Handbook on the American Dream (Vol. 2) New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Román, E. (2018). “Post” Ethnic Forms. American Literature in Transition: 2000-2010, pp. 17-29. Cambridge, UK: ed. Rachel Greenwald Smith. Cambridge University Press..

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Román, E. (2017). Latino Literature. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Link to entry

    Journal Article

    • Román, E. (2020). The Future of Demographobia, Latinxs, and the Realist-Speculative Convergence. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. Vol. 45 (2), pp. 185-199.
    • Román, E. (2019). From walking out to walking in: Activist goals, neoliberal constraints, and the discourse of Latino entrepreneurship. Latino Studies. Link
    • Román, E. (2017). Rerouting the Rise: Upward Mobility in Junot Díaz’s Fiction. Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics. Vol. 17
    • Román, E. (2014). Mortgaged Status: Literary Representations of Black Home Ownership and Social Mobility. Contemporary Literature. (Winter 2014)
    • Román, E. (2013). ‘Jesus, When Did You Become So Bourgeois, Huh?’ : Status Panic in Chicana/o Cultural Production. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicana/o Studies. Vol. 38 (2)

    Magazine/Trade Publication

    • Román, E.Struck or Shaken. Air/Light. Issue 5. April 12, 2022. Link


    • Román, E. (2007). “Alicia Gaspar de Alba,” “Ana Castillo,” “Cristina Garcia,” “Achy Obejas,” “Beatriz Rivera,” “Helena María Viramontes. The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers Volume Two: The 20th Century.
    • Society of Fellows, University of Southern California , 2020-2022
    • Salz-Pollak Fellowship, University of Southern California, Fall 2021
    • McElderry Fellowship, University of Southern California, 2019-2020
    • Woodrow Wilson Early Career Enhancement Fellowship, 2016-2017
    • RICSRE Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University, 2012-2013
    • RICSRE Graduate Dissertation Fellowship, Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University, 2011-2012
    • Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, 2010-2011
    • Ford Predoctoral Fellowship, Ford Foundation, 2007-2010
    • Beinecke Scholarship, 2004-2010
    • Future of Minority Studies Mellon Fellow, Cornell University, 2010/06-2010/08
    • Ernesto Galarza Prize for Excellence in Graduate Student Research, Stanford University, 2009-2010
    • Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, 2003-2005
    • Minnie Helen Hicks Premium, Brown University English Department, 2004-2005
    • Phi Beta Kappa, 2004-2005
    • Preston Gurney Literary Prize, Brown University English Department, 2004-2005