Mary Beltrán specializes in critical and cultural studies-driven scholarship at the intersections of film and television studies, Latina/o and critical race studies, and gender studies. Informed by her prior careers as a journalist and social worker and her own bicultural upbringing, Dr. Beltrán writes and teaches on U.S. Latina/o media studies, racial diversity and the U.S. media industries, mixed race and media culture, feminist media studies, U.S. television and film history, and media activism and independent media production.
Dr. Beltran’s scholarship has explored such topics as the evolution of Latina/o film and television production and stardom since the 1920s, the implications of the rising visibility of mixed-race actors and characters, and strategies on the part of television networks to appeal to more diverse audiences. She is the author of Latina/o Stars in U.S. Eyes: The Making and Meanings of Film and TV Stardom (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and co-editor, with Camilla Fojas, of Mixed Race Hollywood (NYU Press, 2008). Her recent and forthcoming publications include “Fast and Bilingual: The Fast Franchise’s Lucrative Embodiment of U.S. Borderlands,” “SNL’s ‘Fauxbama’ Debate: Facing Off Over Millennial Mixed(-Racial) Impersonation,” and “From the Bronze Screen to the Computer Screen: Latina/o Web Series and Independent Production,” co-authored with RTF graduate student Vittoria Rodriguez. She is currently working on a new book on the history of Latina/o representation and authorship in U.S. entertainment television.
Dr. Beltrán serves and has served on the editorial boards of such journals as Cinema Journal, Feminist Media Studies, Critical Mixed Race Studies, Celebrity Studies, and Communication Monographs. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. In the RTF Department, Dr. Beltrán serves as the faculty advisor for Flow, the department’s online journal of television and media studies. Since 2005 she also has served as one of the faculty advisors for The Velvet Light Trap, the film and media studies journal collectively edited by graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin and University of Wisconsin-Madison.