Emily Davidson

Director of Hispanic and Latino Studies

Emily Davidson

Office Location: Hauge Administration Building - 222-E

  • Professional
  • Biography

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Associate Professor of Hispanic and Latino Studies
  • Project Lead, Mellon Funded Latino Studies Working Group
  • Member, Task Force for Undocumented Students


  • Ph.D., Spanish, University of California, Davis, 2013
  • M.A., Spanish, Middlebury College, 2000
  • B.A, Spanish and Political Science, Pacific Lutheran University, 1998

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Greater Caribbean and Central American Studies
  • Latinx Studies
  • Spanish as a Heritage Language

Selected Publications


  • Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education Faculty Research Grant, AY 2020-2021.
  • Fellow, Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), University of Victoria, June 2017.
  • Nominee, PLU Excellence in Teaching Award, AY 2016-17, 2017-18.
  • Inspirational Woman Recognition, PLU Center for Gender Equity, 2016.
  • Grant Recipient, Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, National Endowment of the Humanties/ American Library Association, AY 2015-2016.
  • Margrit Mondavi Fellowship for Summer Research, UC Davis, 2012.
  • Graduate Fellowship for Summer Research in Latin American and The Caribbean, UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas, 2009.


If I had to describe my identity with a Facebook relationship status it would read: “It’s complicated”. I’m a mixed-race Latina with family from Panama, Cuba, and the United States. Like many scholars, my research and teaching is informed and inspired by my experiences and family histories.

I returned to PLU after completing my Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of California, Davis in 2013. As a Washingtonian and former Lute, I am thrilled to be “home” again. I received my B.A. in Spanish and Political Science at PLU in 1998, and then moved to Vermont and Spain, to pursue my M.A. in Spanish at Middlebury College in 2000. I lived in Madrid for five years, where I worked in international music production for Walt Disney Records. From 2003 to 2008, I taught at PLU as a Visiting Lecturer of Spanish, an experience which solidified my decision to pursue doctoral studies in Latin American literary and cultural studies.

My research examines how Panamanians construct national and racial identities through and against their national symbol and patrimony: the Panama Canal. I also am interested in how the 1989 US Invasion of Panama is included/excluded from canal history, and more specifically, how Panamanians cope with and negotiate the legacy of the invasion through cultural productions and memory practices. This research takes me not only to print and film archives, but also to cultural and educational institutions where people craft and share their own “canal memories.” Whether I’m analyzing nationalist novels studied in high schools, the oral histories at the West Indian Museum of Panama, or testimonial short stories of survivors of the 1989 U.S. Invasion of Panama, I uplift the centrality of narratives in negotiating the human experience.

My teaching interests encompass a wide range of subjects, from my specialties in Caribbean, Latinx, and Central American Studies, to my passion for teaching Spanish for Heritage Speakers. When I’m not teaching or writing, I enjoy yoga, hiking, cooking with my husband, and playing with our two rambunctious sons.