Dr. Melissa A. Fitch (Ph.D. 1995 ASU) holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor, based in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She is also a faculty member of the Program in Human Rights Practice.
Dr. Fitch's work encompasses the period marked by the rise of mass media at the turn of the last century to the present-day influence and pervasiveness of popular culture, film and mass media, social media, and digital culture. Since 2010, she has been researching the mutual cultural influences between the Americas and Asia, particularly with regard to China and India. She is the author of Global Tangos: Travels in the Transnational Imaginary (Bucknell UP, 2015) and Side Dishes: Latin/a American Women, Sex and Cultural Production (Rutgers UP, 2009). In 2015 she was named one of three university-wide 1885 Society Distinguished Fellows, based on her research, teaching, and service. Since 2010, she has received three Fulbright Awards: the first a Fulbright-Hays Award to China in 2010 (declined); the second the Chinese University of Hong Kong during AY 2011-12 (accepted) and the third to spend AY 2016-17 in New Delhi, India as a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar. She currently serves as a global Fulbright specialist. Fitch has given more than 50 keynote addresses, invited lectures, and conference presentations on her research in India, China, Singapore, Japan, Bhutan, Russia, Macau, Hong Kong, Spain, Argentina, Italy, France, Chile, and the US. More recently, she has been addressing the impact of Covid-19 on higher education and the subsequent transformations to teaching and research within the humanities. In 2013 she received the UA Creative Teaching Award and in 2008 she received the University of Arizona's Five Star Teaching Award, the institution's highest teaching honor. In 2004 she received the UA General Education Teaching Award. In 2019, she received the UA Excellence in Global Service Award.
Since 2002 she has been editor-in-chief of the academic journal Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (University of Texas Press). She was named Outstanding University Educator by the Arizona Languages Association in 1997. Her essays have been published in Latin American Theater Review; Gestos: Teoría y práctica del teatro hispánico; Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana; ADFL Bulletin; Luso-Brazilian Review; Romance Languages Annual, ADE Bulletin and in the books Dale Nomás! Dale que va! (Buenos Aires: Editorial Nueva Generación, 2006); Latino/a Popular Culture (NYU Press, 2002) and Interventions: Feminist Dialogues on Third World Women's Literature and Film (Garland, 1997). She is co-author of the book Culture and Customs of Argentina (Greenwood, 1998). Professor Fitch directed the UA Study Abroad program in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2001, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain in 2004, in Segovia, Spain in 2007, and in Chile in the fall of 2014. She has lived in South America, Europe, and Asia.