Aarti Madan
Salisbury Labs 003
+1 (508) 8316587
Affiliated Department or Office
BA Birmingham-Southern College 2004
MA University of Pittsburgh 2007
PhD University of Pittsburgh 2010

Aarti Smith Madan is an Associate Professor of Spanish & International Studies in WPI’s Department of Humanities & Arts. In addition to directing the Buenos Aires Project Center and co-directing Latin American & Caribbean Studies, she’s advised three cohorts of junior-year IQPs in Puerto Rico (2012), Costa Rica (2015), and Australia (2023) as well as a number of Minor and Major Capstone projects in Spanish and International Studies. Aarti completed her undergraduate degrees in Spanish and English from Birmingham-Southern College, where she had her first forays into experiential learning and became convinced of its life-long impact on students. Holding a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, Aarti centers her teaching and research on questions of national identity, spatial & environmental humanities, and global feminisms in Latin American literary and visual culture. In 2013, she was awarded the Moruzzi Prize for Innovation in Undergraduate Education and has continued to experiment with new pedagogies, most recently unessays and ungrading. In 2020, she formed part of a multiyear grant from the U.S. Department of Education to enhance WPI’s STEM curriculum with Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Aarti is the author of Lines of Geography in Latin American Narrative: National Territory, National Literature (Palgrave, 2017), essays in journals like ASAP/Journal, MLN, Romance Notes, and Dissidences, and book chapters on geo- and ecocritical practices in Latin America & India. Her current research project examines Argentine & Indian literary and cultural encounters over the last century (1926-2023). At present, Aarti serves as co-chair of the Department of Humanities & Arts’ DEI Committee and as faculty advisor to WPI’s chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She’s enjoyed a decade of volunteering with the Women’s Initiative of Central Massachusetts—Worcester’s premiere philanthropic organization in support of middle-school girls—and will serve as Chair of its Leadership Council from 2023-25. In her free time, she loves cooking with and for family and friends, getting lost in bustling cities, walking slowly through the woods, and soaking in sunshine and live music, preferably at the same time.

Scholarly Work

Un sensorium transpacífico: Güiraldes, Tagore y el peso de la modernidad.” India en Hispanoamérica: historia y variaciones de un imaginario cultural. Ed. Óscar Figueroa. México, D.F.: Universidad Autónoma de México (forthcoming).

“Panmela Castro’s Political Street Art: Gendered Geographies of Black Brazilian Resistance.”

ASAP/Journal 8.1 (2023): 41-69.

“Women’s Street Artivism in India and Brazil: Shilo Shiv Suleman’s Pan-Indigenous Environmental Movement.” The Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication. Eds. Scott Slovic, Swarnalatha Rangarajan, and Vidya Sarveswaran. New York & London: Routledge, 2019: 314-325.

“Mapmaking, Rubbertapping: Cartography and Social Ecology in Euclides da Cunha’s The Amazon: Land Without History.” Ecoambiguity, Community, and Development: Toward a Politicized Ecocriticism. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014: 161-177.

“Sarmiento the Geographer: Unearthing the Literary in Facundo.” MLN 126 (2011): 259-88.

Professional Highlights & Honors
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Planning/Seed Grant Program, “Ungrading in Higher Ed: The Experiences of Marginalized Students”, 2022

Faculty Learning Community Grant, “Ungrading the Unessay”, 2021

Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages Program (UISFL), U.S. Department of Education, “Enhancing STEM Curriculum with Latin American and Caribbean Studies”, 2020

Global Lab Faculty Fellow, “Transmedia Storytelling for Transpacific Studies: Migrant Narratives from the Global South”, 2019

Teaching Innovation Grant, “Centering Latin America in the WPI Curriculum”, 2019

Romeo Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education , 2013

Course Design Technology Grant, “VodBurner and Podcasts: WPI Students Making Spanish News”, 2011

Andrew Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh , 2009

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS, Portuguese), University of Pittsburgh, 2008

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS, Portuguese), University of Pittsburgh, 2007