University of Kansas, 1990, Ph.D. Major, Contemporary Spanish American Literature and Critical Theory
University of California-Berkeley, 1989, Ph.D. Minor, Historical Linguistics
University of Wisconsin, Madison, MA, Spanish Literature
University of Wisconsin, Madison, BA. French, Spanish, and Education
Professor Cordones-Cook has built her scholarship around four related and complimentary pillars: Gender Studies, Afro Latin American theater, Afro-Cuban Renaissance and Documentary filmmaking. Her research focuses on the convergence of arts and letters and social concerns, and has always concentrated on the marginal non-canonical voices, literature and culture of women and Afro-descendants: those who share an experience of oppression and repression. Cordones-Cook extensive scholarly work includes research and publications on Spanish American writers and artists such as Luisa Valenzuela, Nancy Morejón, Jorge Luis Borges, Rogelio Martínez Furé, Georgina Herrera, Manuel Mendive, Maité Vera, Eugenio Hernández Espinosa, Inés María Martiatu, Soleida Ríos, Eduardo Rivero Walker, Eduardo “Choco” Roca Salazar, Alberto Lescay, Roberto Diago, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, Gloria Rolando, Víctor Fowler Calzada, Rolando Estévez Jordán, Pedro Pérez Sarduy, Adriana Genta, Mercedes Rein, Carlos Maggi, Andrés Castillo, Albalucía Angel, Enrique Buenaventura, Liliana Heer, Cristina Escofet, Rosa María Crespo de Britton, Ruth Behar, Natalia Bolívar, Fátima de la Caridad Patterson Patterson, Roberto Zurbano, and Belkis Ayón among others. Her articles appear in major journals in the Americas and Europe: Revista Iberoamericana, Afro-Hispanic Review, Théatre, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, World Literature Today, Latin American Theater Review, Letras Femeninas, Chasqui, Hispanófila, Hispamérica, Revista de Estudios Canadienses, Plural, La Palabra y el Hombre, Anales del Caribe, Revista Unión, Revista del Vigía, Conjunto, Casa de las Américas, among others.
Professor Cordones-Cook has published over eighty journal articles and book chapters and thirteen books, four of her books had second editions and one third edition. Two of her books are accompanied by her documentaries. Presently she is as well working on the complete poetry of Nancy Morejón and a collaborative collection of essays on Ediciones Vigía and the art of book-making. She is as well preparing a manuscript on the generation of Afro-Cuban writers and artists who came of age with the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Cordones-Cook has been guest-editor for the leading professional journals in their fields: Letras Femeninas (2001), Callaloo (2005), Revista Iberoamericana (2011), and Afro-Hispanic Review (2018).
In addition to her written work, Cordones-Cook has developed other scholarly initiatives. She has carried out over eighty professional interviews overseas with Spanish American writers and artists. In 2007, she founded and developed at the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology a special collection of Ediciones Vigía limited edition art-object books and a collection of one-of-a-kind installation-books by Rolando Estévez. She has as well founded and has continued to develop the “Nancy Morejón Special Collection of Afro-Romance Literature and Culture,” which is housed at the MU Museum of Anthropology. This collection makes available to scholars an invaluable array of published and unpublished material, books, manuscripts, journals, including rare editions and films from the Afro-Romance cultures and traditions. In order to complement this collection she started producing and directing a series of videos of oral histories featuring autobiographical narrations and reflections of prominent Afro-Hispanic artists and writers (completed over thirty to date). She has as well filmed over one hundred hours of events in Cuba, the USA, and Canada on topics related to the Afro-Romance Diaspora culture and literature, such as conferences, interviews, ritual dances, and theatrical performances.
Building upon her research and in the process of filming oral histories and cultural events, Cordones-Cook started directing and producing documentaries on the most representative Afro-Cuban intellectuals who came of age after the 1959 Cuban revolution. She is building a unique encyclopedic audiovisual platform on which to share these Afro-Cuban writers and artists and their creations and engage a broader audience.
She has become an award winning filmmaker, including the 2014 Emmy nomination for directing and producing a historical documentary. So far she has completed twenty three documentaries and is currently making progress on other films. She is frequently invited as a featured speaker or to screen her films at prestigious academic and cultural institutions in the United States and around the world, including Harvard University; the Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Washington University; Barnard College; Smith College; New York University; the Museum of the African Diaspora of San Francisco; as well as overseas, including the "Fundación Internacional Jorge Luis Borges," Argentina; the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes of Havana; M.A.L.B.A. Museum of Buenos Aires; U.N.E.S.C.O. / Casa de las Américas and U.N.E.A.C., in Havana; Fundación Caguayo, in Santiago de Cuba; “Feria Internacional del Libro” in various cities in Cuba; the University of Birmingham, England; "Cabildo de Montevideo," the Universidad de la República, Uruguay; the Universidad de Cartagena, Colombia; La Sorbonne, Paris; the Université de Lyon 2, France; Humboldt University and the Instituto Cervantes, in Berlin; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Furthermore there have been festivals around Cordones-Cook documentaries. In addition to this broad spectrum of research, Professor Cordones-Cook has also been interviewed by numerous radio and television programs in the Americas and her work has been covered and reviewed by the international printed and visual media.
During her tenure at the University of Missouri Professor Cordones-Cook has brought to campus over forty five of the most distinguished national and international writers, artists and scholars, and has organized over twenty international conferences that have included academicians, students, and community members. The most recent high impact conference was Afro-Cuban Artists: A Renaissance (April 2016), an event that brought to MU the artwork of three of the most significant Afro-Cuban artists--Manuel Mendive, Eduardo “Choco” Roca Salazar, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal-- attracting distinguished artists and scholars from around the world.
For the near future, Cordones-Cook is preparing at the University of Missouri another international event on Afro-Cuban arts including painting, sculpture, theater, and poetry, with Juan Roberto Diago, Alberto Lescay Merencio, Fatima de la Caridad Patterson Patterson, and Nancy Morejón.
Named University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Research Professor (2017) and the Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of Romance Languages (2014), Juanamaría Cordones-Cook has been the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and grants: Emmy Award Nomination for historical documentary; MU Honors College Professor of the Year Award; Wayne State University Press Bestseller; First Place for “Theater of the World Award”, from the University of Buenos Aires; Telly award for documentary; First Place Award for Best Heartland Feature Documentary at the KC Film Fest; First Place for The 2016 International Latino Book Awards; The Centro Provincial del Libro y la Literatura y el Centro de Promoción literaria "José Soler Puig,” award for the documentary on Alberto Lescay (Santiago de Cuba); the Universidad de Oriente, Facultad de Educación en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades award for the documentary on Rogelio Martínez Furé (Santiago de Cuba).