By Veronica Perez
As a Mexican-American who comes from a family of activist in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Diana Rios has a great concern for the Latino community at large. As an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, Rios focuses her research areas on mass media, Chicano and Latino studies, ethnicity and race, and gender and women studies.
That combination of subject and expertise has led to her most recent book titled, “Soap Operas and Telenovelas in the Digital Age.” Telenovelas are Latin American soap operas. Rios said she “wanted to write a telenovela book that did not just talk about telenovelas from America, but from all around the globe.”
The concept behind this particular book was one that she wanted to do for many years. “Because telenovelas are such an important cultural and economic vehicle there is a need to examine them to learn more about them and critique them so that they can be enjoyed, and so that the audience can become media literate and has a general awareness of the gender roles, and the cultural background that they possess,” Rios said. By obtaining contributors from all around the world, Rios along side her co-editor was able to put this book together in a collaborative way.
Rios also had her own contributions to the book titled, “Fuego en la Sangre Fires Risky Behaviors: A critique of a Top-Rated Telenovela and its Sexual Content.” In this particular analysis, Rios, along with the two other authors, offers a background description on how Fuego, a Mexican-made telenovela, which debuted in Mexico during 2008 and aired in the U.S. in 2008-2009, appeals to audiences and offer a critique of this popular telenovela.
During her time at UConn, Rios has served as director and associate director for the Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies (IPRLS). Rios teaches in the department of Communications and is involved with students in the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies cultural center.
Rios has won several awards including three professional association awards for her contributions to UConn. Outside of UConn, Rios served as officer of the International Communication Association, which is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching and application of all aspects of communication. Rios also served as a board member for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) that focuses on professors who teach mass communication and journalism. Through AEJMC, Rios has won Presidential Citation awards for her contributions to the association.