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Óscar Fernández
Óscar Fernández


Born in San José, Costa Rica, Dr. Fernández specializes in inter-American studies, literary theory, and the intersection of culture, sexuality, and representations of disease in literature.

With more than 15 years of university teaching experience in private and public institutions in Oregon, he has taught at Reed College and Portland State University. His teaching trajectory, in both English and Spanish, has been delineated along four primary paths: (1) interdisciplinary and general education studies; (2) literary theory and Comparative Literature studies, with an emphasis on Latin American literature; (3) Spanish language and Heritage-language pedagogy; (4) advanced rhetoric and composition in both English and Spanish. His teaching philosophy challenges students to see the world differently and to question unexamined approaches. In this pedagogical "contact zone" of alternative and taken-for-granted worlds, he positions his teaching practice, his students, and himself.

Portland State University (PSU) students honored him with M.E.Ch.A.'s Community Service Award (2006). As head of the Spanish section in World Languages & Literatures at PSU and lead organizer for Cine-Lit ("cinema and literature") 2007, a preeminent film and literature international conference, he secured $75,000 in funds from the Northwest Film Center, the Oregon Council for the Humanities, Portland/Guadalajara Sister-City Association, and Centro Mexicano de Oregon. He is a translation and interpretation volunteer for BRAVO Youth Orchestras (an afterschool music program in North Portland). As a qualified medical interpreter in the metro area, Dr. Fernández gives voice—with knowledge and care—to Latinxs and Hispanics negotiating complex health-related issues.

Dr. Fernández is a University Studies core faculty member at PSU. In 2014-2015, he co-authored and piloted a new Freshmen Inquiry (FRINQ) course—Immigration, Migration, and Belonging (IMB)—for PSU's University Studies. He works with Mercy Corps Action Northwest to bring immigration-related workshops to our IMB students. He facilitates student-to-student workshops for two Portland Public Schools programs: International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) and College for Youth. In 2016, he established a Race and Social Justice Dialogue Series. In 2017, he was named University Studies' first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator and currently facilitates diversity and inclusion workshops for faculty, staff, and students.

His published work appears in Comparative Literature Studies, Oregon Literary Review, and PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association). Dr. Fernández is a holder of a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Practicum Grant, a Folger Institute Faculty Weekend Grant from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and more recently, a 2017 grant recipient from Bringing Theory to Practice's 2017-2018's "Campus Dialogue Grants: Realizing Higher Educator Greater Purposes."

Dr. Fernández earned his BA in English Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The Pennsylvania State University.

Subject Matter Focus

FRINQ: Immigration, Migration, and Belonging

Dr. Óscar Fernández

University Studies
office: CH 117W
phone: (503) 725-5832