Lecturer of Spanish

My background combines formal education in the natural sciences and the humanities. Trained in biology, I worked in the environmental field for several years, primarily in Argentina. I was then able to trace the evolution of environmental actions in Latin America over time, which led to my teaching of interdisciplinary courses, ultimately framed under sustainability as an emerging paradigm. Over time, I have piloted and extensively integrated the use of technology as a pedagogical and presentational tool. I approach teaching as s journey of constant inquiry and view interdisciplinarity as a means to re-enable the connections that are often fractioned in our scholarly models.

In my work I endeavor to bring together the worldviews of science and humanities through teaching, technology, transdisciplinary research and mentoring. The context for my work is sustainability and human natures, in the multicultural landscape of Latin America. I draw from diverse fields including literature and plastic arts; geography and discourse analysis, to enable students to see the connections and interactions of social and cultural life within their environments and those of others. Pedagogically, I employ a diverse range of approaches including experiential learning, project-based and problem-based learning, and digital humanities, to broaden the traditional scholarly vision of higher education.

Languages spoken:

  • English (native/near native)
  • Spanish (native/near native)
  • Italian (native/near native)
  • French (professional use)
  • Portugese (professional use)

Research and/or Creative Works


Scholarly Books and Monographs

2013 Re-engraving Assayer’s Initials in Potosi Cobs. English-Spanish edition. Co-authored with Emilio Paoletti. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken. Print.

Chapters in Scholarly Books and Monographs

2017. “From Management to Governance: Rethinking Water Policy and Privatization on Easter Island.” The Politics of Freshwater: Access, Conflict and Identity. Tamar Mayer & Catherine Ashcraft, Eds. Abingdon: Rutledge.

(Accepted) “The Gift of a Different Gaze: A Social-Environmental Imagination of Collective Meaning in Helen Escobedo’s Open-Space Installations, 1997-2010.” Natura Loquens/Natura Agens. Carmen Flys & Juan Ignacio Oliva, Eds..

Journal Articles

2015 “Sustainability as a Pedagogical Principle in Liberal Arts Education: Explorations from the Foreign Language classroom.” International Journal of Sustainability Education. 11 3: 23-34. Web http://ijsed.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.275/prod.74

2013 “Resignifying Environmental Epistemology through Latin America’s Artistic Representation: A Sustainability Perspective from the Humanities.” The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social & Cultural Context, 8. 3: 175-188. Web. http://ijsesc.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.273/prod.41

2012 “Designing a Virtual Social Space for Language Acquisition.” International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE) 3. 3: 21-42. Web. http://www.igi-global.com/article/designing-virtual-social-space-language/70397

2012 “Articulación del mito Eva Perón en la narrativa de Tomás Eloy Martínez: un performance político materializado en el cuerpo.” pergencias, Revista de estudios lingüísticos y literarios, 10. 2: 20-29. Web. http://pergencias.arizona.edu

Conference proceedings

2015 “Voces silenciadas, sabiduría olvidada. Limitaciones discursivas de la representación cultural en la era de la globalización.” [Silenced Voices, Forgotten Wisdom. Discursive Limitations of Cultural Representation in the Era of Globalization.] LASA Southern Cone.

Awards and Recognition

  • Association of Borderland Studies runner-up Graduate Award for “Transforming the Border, Transforming the Migrant: Biometrics and the Borderization of the Imagination,” 2014
  • College of Humanities Graduate Scholarship and Dissertation Award, University of Arizona, 2010-2013
  • College of Humanities Spanish Department Finalist, ABOR Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2012
  • Tinker Summer Pre-dissertation Research Grant in Latin American Studies (Chile), 2012 
  • Graduate Diversity Fellowship, The University of Arizona, 2010-2011 
  • Graduate College Doctoral Fellowship, The University of Arizona, 2010-2013 (each semester)
  • Faculty Development Grant, digital humanities, Middlebury College, 2009 
  • Faculty Development Grant, Foreign Language Acquisition, Middlebury College, 2008

Associations and Affiliations

  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)
  • Network of Science in Text & Culture in Latin America (Arts &Humanities Research Council Cambridge University)
  • Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology (NEALLT)
  • Association for Borderland Studies (ABS)
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Ed (AASHE)
Maria Woolson

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Environmental humanities, 20th and 21st century Latin American literature and cultures, interrelated areas of transnational politics, ethnicity and cultural identity, ecocriticism, visual and performance studies, postcolonial theory, pedagogy, Spanish language
Global change is increasingly understood as systemic, eco-social and complex. This challenge require that institutions deepen the capacity to foster leadership and catalyze systemic responses to both local and regional problems. For such visions to be realized, students will need competencies for working across boundaries and differences ranging from diverse disciplines and methods, to identities and cultures; and many of those skills will come from humanistic perspectives that are often overlooked in favor of technical orientations. This talk will highlight ways in which the humanities and the arts contribute to a robust understanding of the sustainability paradigm while fostering a dialogue across disciplines, and discuss opportunities to create actionable pathways for engaging the 2015 United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).


  • Ph.D. Spanish, The University of Arizona


  • (802) 656-0723
Office Location:

542 Waterman

Office Hours:

Spring 2018: MWF 12:00-1:00

  1. M. Woolson: SnapPages

Courses Taught

  • SPAN 001: Elementary I
  • SPAN 002: Elementary II
  • SPAN 051: Intermediate I
  • SPAN 052: Intermediate II
  • SPAN 140: Analyzing Hispanic Literatures
  • HCOL 185: Honors College Sophomore Seminar: Environment, Ecocriticism, and Being Global