Cole Rizki

Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies
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Cole Rizki will be on pre-tenure sabbatical supported by an ACLS Fellowship
from June 2024-January 2026.

Research Summary

Cole Rizki is assistant professor of Latin American Studies in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and affiliate faculty with the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the Department of American Studies at the University of Virginia. In 2024-2025, Rizki will be on leave with the support of an ACLS Fellowship. Rizki is a Latin Americanist and transgender studies scholar whose research examines the entanglements of transgender cultural production and activisms with histories of state violence and terror throughout the Américas. As a scholar of contemporary Latin American gender and sexuality studies, visual culture, memory studies, history, and performance studies, his work makes central interventions across these disciplines. Primarily, he analyzes the work of contemporary politics and aesthetics by examining how political demands take shape and become legible through visual, embodied, and archival representations and practices. Rizki’s monograph in process titled Travesti Tide: Trans Politics Beyond Liberalism offers a new historical and cultural interpretation of trans politics as a response to illiberal state violence and its forms. In doing so, the monograph provincializes US-centric histories of state violence, the liberal democratic state form, and identity politics that continue to underwrite the field of transgender studies. At the same time, Travesti Tide revises the study of fascism, authoritarianism, and populism by highlighting how sex and gender are central to these forms of governance and power.

Rizki’s editorial work in trans studies is also widely recognized. He is invited guest editor of a special issue of NACLA: Report on the Americas on queer and trans activisms and resistance practices across the hemisphere (in preparation, expected March 2025). He is also co-editor of "Trans Studies en las Américas," a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly on Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Trans Studies (May 2019). Since 2020, Rizki serves as TSQ’s Translation Section Editor. He is an active member of multiple national and international professional associations, and he currently serves as an executive committee member of the Modern Language Association’s 20th and 21st Century Latin American Forum Executive Committee.

Rizki’s scholarly work has received multiple awards and recognitions. In 2024, his article “Gore Aesthetics: Chilean Necroliberalism and Travesti Resistance” (JLACS) received the “Sylvia Molloy Prize” for Best Article in the Humanities from the Latin American Studies Association (Sexualities Section). His article “Familiar Grammars of Loss and Belonging: Curating Trans Kinship in Post-Dictatorship Argentina” (JVC) was also short-listed for the International Association for Visual Culture and the Journal of Visual Culture Early Career Researcher Essay Prize and received honorable mention for Best Article from the Visual Cultures Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association. His work in Latin American trans studies, trans visual culture, and trans history has similarly been recognized as essential reading in trans studies and included as part of two trans studies syllabi published by Art Journal and Radical History Review’s digital venue “Abusable Past.” In 2024, Rizki received the “All-University Teaching Award” at the University of Virginia in recognition of his outstanding undergraduate and graduate-level teaching and mentorship. His writing appears or is forthcoming in TSQ, Radical History Review, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Balam, and the Journal of Visual Culture among others with book reviews in GLQ and Women & Performance.

Affiliate Faculty, Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality

Affiliate Faculty, Department of American Studies



Ph.D., Duke University, 2020
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
B.A., Smith College, 2008


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Winner of the “Sylvia Molloy Prize” (2024) for Best Article in the Humanities awarded by the Latin American Studies Association Sexualities Section.

“‘No State Apparatus Goes to Bed Genocidal then Wakes up Democratic:’ Fascist State Violence and Transgender Politics in Post-Dictatorship Argentina,” Radical History Review special issue “Fascisms and Antifascisms Since 1945,” no. 138 (October 2020) 82-107.

  • Finalist for the International Association for Visual Culture and the Journal of Visual Culture Early Career Researcher Essay Prize (2020)

Essays & Roundtables

“Estéticas de sobrevida. Arte de reparación / Aesthetics of Survival, Art of Repair” exhibition catalogue essay in ¿Cómo retratar a una sobreviviente? / How to Photograph a Survivor? Germán Menna (ed.) (forthcoming Summer 2024).

“Visualizing (trans)masculinities” Balam, no. 9, special issue “Nuevas masculinidades” (August 2023): 31-32, 250, 257. *Introduction to special issue of Balam, contemporary Latin American photography magazine in Spanish/English/Portuguese.

“Trans Visibility and Trans Viability: a Roundtable” Journal of Visual Culture vol 21, no. 2 (2023): 297-320.

“Trans-, Translation, Transnational,” Translation Section introduction, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly vol 8, no. 4 (November 2021): 532-536.

“Latin/x American Trans Studies: Toward a Travesti-Trans Analytic.” Introduction to special issue, “Trans Studies en las Américas,” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 6:2 (May 2019): 145-155.

Edited Volumes

Invited guest editor of NACLA: Report on the Americas special issue on queer and trans resistance to violence. Volume in preparation, details and call forthcoming. (Expected publication date March 2025).

“Trans Studies en las Américas,” Co-editor with Juana María Rodríguez, Denilson Lopes, and Claudia Sofía Garriga-López. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 6:2 (May 2019).

Editorial Positions

Translation Section Editor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, (2020-present)

Work that appears under Rizki’s editorship:

Book Reviews

Review of Mapping Memory: Visuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas. In special issue, "Views from the Larger Somewhere," Women & Performance, 30:3 (April 2021).

“Hemispheric Translations,” Review of Translating the Queer: Body Politics and Transnational Conversations. GLQ 25:1 (January 2019): 199-201.

Selected Grants & Awards

University of Virginia
Karsh Institute of Democracy Book Fellowship, Democracy Initiative, 2022-2023
Faculty Success Program, National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, Office of the Provost and Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Summer 2021
Duke University
Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Duke University, 2019-2020
Versatile Humanists Summer Internship Program, Duke University, Equality North Carolina, Summer 2019
Kenan Institute for Ethics Graduate Fellow, Duke University, 2018-2019
  • Dora Anne Little Service Award, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Duke University, Summer 2018
  • Robert K. Steel Summer Research Award, Graduate School, Duke University, 2017
Service Learning Faculty Fellow, Service-Learning Program, Duke University, 2016-2017
Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow, US Department of Education, 2015-2016
Latin American and Caribbean Studies Fellow, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center, Duke University, 2013-2014
Fulbright Teaching Fellow, US Department of Education, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010-2011



Transgender Studies in the Americas

Queer Theory and Cultural Production in the Americas

Survey of Latin American Literature II 


Transgender Studies in the Americas

Queer/Cuir Studies in the Americas
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New Cabell Hall 457
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