Rina Benmayor

    Personal profile


    Rina Benmayor is a Professor Emerita in the School of Humanities and Communication and a member of the CSUMB founding faculty.  She helped build the major in Human Communication and the Department, serving as its Chair from 1996-2001.  She was one of the first Service Learning faculty, served on the Faculty Senate, ASEC, and many other institutional committees and bodies.  She recently directed the CSUMB Founding Faculty Oral History Project, 1994-98, housed in the Library’s Digital Commons. 
    Rina was among the first faculty on campus to incorporate digital technologies into Humanities classes. In Latina Life Stories, students created their own digital life stories.  Her Oral History and Community Memory classes collected more than 400 student conducted recordings on the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Latinx histories of Salinas Chinatown, leaders of Seaside’s African American community, memories of Old Town Salinas between the Wars, Veterans of Fort Ord, and more.  She created and directed the CSUMB Oral History and Community Memory Archive, now housed in the Library’s Special Collections unit.  She also taught classes in Travel Narratives, World Literature, and Service Learning.
    Her research and publication interests focus on oral history and memory, identity and citizenship, Latinx literature and culture, digital storytelling, and Sephardic studies.  She is the author of Romances judeo- españoles de Oriente (Gredos, 1979); and co-author of Latino Cultural Citizenship (Beacon Press, 1997), and Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (Duke University Press, 2001).  She co-edited Memory, Subjectivities, and Representation: Approaches to Oral History in Latin America, Portugal, and Spain (Palgrave, 2016), recipient of the 2016 Oral History Association Book Award.  She began her publication career with a book on medieval Judeo-Spanish ballads.  In retirement, she returns to Sephardi studies with her most recent project, in collaboration with Dr. Dalia Kandiyoti (CUNY), an oral history of Sephardi applicants for Spanish or Portuguese citizenship and a book of essays on this topic.  She received an NEH Faculty Award to write an article on emotion and citizenship for this volume. 

    Related documents


    • Digital Humanities
    • Oral History
    • Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication