Micah McKay

Assistant Professor of Spanish


  • PhD, Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MA, Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MA, Translation Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • BA, Spanish, Truman State University

Research Areas

  • Latin American literature (20th/21st centuries)
  • Film studies
  • Ecocriticism
  • Environmental humanities
  • Discard studies
  • Biopolitics
  • Neoliberalism
  • Urban studies
  • Critical animal studies
  • Posthumanism


Micah McKay specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Latin American literature and culture, and his research interests lie at the intersection of environmental discourse and cultural production. His book Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture (University of Florida Press, 2024) examines the presence of trash, garbage dumps, and waste workers in Latin American narrative and film. He is also co-editor of Environmental Cultural Studies Through Time: The Luso-Hispanic World (Hispanic Issues On Line, 2019). His other research interests include biopolitics, critical animal studies, posthumanism, and urban studies. In addition to classes on the Environmental Humanities, he teaches introductory survey courses on Latin American culture and literature and advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on narrative, film, and literary theory. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program.

Selected Publications


Trash and Limits in Latin American Culture. University of Florida Press, 2024.

Edited Volume

Environmental Cultural Studies Through Time: The Luso-Hispanic World. Co-edited with Kata Beilin and Kathleen Connolly, Hispanic Issues On Line, vol. 24, 2019.

Peer-reviewed Articles and Chapters

“The Salvage Poetics of Ben Clark’s Basura.” Beyond Human: Decentring the Anthropocene in Spanish Ecocriticism, edited by Maryanne L. Leone and Shanna Lino, University of Toronto Press, 2023, pp. 244-66.

Bare Life and Biopolitics in El Rey de La Habana.” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, vol. 77, no. 1, 2023, pp. 34-46.

“Discard Studies and Spanish Narrative.” A Companion to Spanish Environmental Cultural Studies, edited by Luis I. Prádanos, Tamesis, 2023, pp. 263-68.

Trash, Culture, and Transdisciplinarity.” LACIS Review, no. 1, 2022.

On the Nature of the Border: Trash Thresholds in Luis Alberto Urrea’s By the Lake of Sleeping Children.” Latin American Literary Review, vol. 48, no. 96, 2021, pp. 13-21.

“‘Pasto sin fin del basurero’: Trash and Disposal in the Poetry of José Emilio Pacheco.” Latin American Literary Review, vol. 47, no. 93, pp. 49-58.

Una imagen deliciosa sobre los escombros: la producción y estética de las ruinas en Trilogía sucia de La Habana.” Romance Notes, vol. 59, no. 2, 2019, pp. 349-60

Trash and the Coming Community: Portrayals of Trash and Trash Workers in Argentina and Brazil.” Environmental Cultural Studies Through Time: The Luso-Hispanic World, Edited by Kata Beilin, Kathleen Connolly, and Micah McKay, Hispanic Issues On Line, vol. 24, 2019, pp. 45-64.

The Littered City: Trash and Neoliberal Urban Space in El aireBariloche, and La villa.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 41, no. 3, 2017, pp. 597-620.

“‘Deus, salve a América’: Ignácio de Loyola Brandão’s Zero and the Production of Trash.” Chasqui: revista de literatura latinoamericana, vol. 46, no. 2, 2017, pp. 144-60.

Documenting Jardim Gramacho: Estamira (2004) and Waste Land (2009).” Luso-Brazilian Review, vol. 53, no. 2, 2016, pp. 134-52.