Clara Román-Odio, recipient of the Senior Faculty Trustee Teaching Excellence Award (2017), joined the Kenyon faculty in 1992. Professor of Spanish, Latin American Literature and Latino Studies, Román-Odio’s research aims at understanding the impact of decolonial theory, critical gender and race studies on cultural productions from Latin American and the U.S.-Mexico borderland. Her scholarship in transnational feminisms and oral history examines how women of color helped to shape and transform the spaces where society produces its laws and social norms. Author of several books and numerous scholarly publications in her areas of expertise, Román-Odio recently had her Ohio Humanities Digital Exhibition Latinos in Rural America (LiRA) included in The Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Series. 

'Spiritist Women in Puerto Rico (1880-1920)'

Recipient of the PEN of Puerto Rico International Award  in the Category of Essay, second place Literature Prize in the the Category of Research and Criticism from the The Instituto de Literatura Puertorriqueña, and the 2023 International Latino Book Award (Honorable Mention) in the Category of Non-Fiction - Women's Theme.  

In her award-winning book, Román-Odio rescues and examines the literature of pioneer spiritists who, as practitioners of Spiritism, helped transform Puerto Rican society during its disruptive colonial transition from Spain to the United States. A related digital project: "Spiritism by Puerto Rican Women: From Remarkable Pioneers to Contemporary Heirs" preserves this element of Puerto Rican history, religious culture and literature.

Areas of Expertise

Latin America / Latino cultural productions, border studies, transnational feminisms


1993 — Doctor of Philosophy from UNC Chapel Hill

1983 — Master of Arts from Purdue Univ West Lafayette

1981 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ Puerto Rico Mayaguez