Olivia Eljaiek-Hendricks


Olivia Eljaiek-Hendricks is a fourth year doctoral student in the Department of English at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Lawrence University, where she studied violin and played in the conservatory’s symphony. Through continued musical study at Emory, Olivia became interested in the cultural and political work made possible by the overlap of 20th century U.S. literature and music. In particular, she is interested in how music and literature layer upon each other to create affectively and politically charged representations of the body—especially bodies exoticized by nationality/regionality and marked by illness and disability within U.S. mainstream culture.


Olivia’s current research critically re-approaches figures and story lines from her childhood musical training, which she has retrospectively observed as raising questions regarding U.S. selective appropriation of Latin American icons (e.g., Astor Piazzolla, Madonna in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita.) Her project engages a cultural studies approach to consider how and with what consequence U.S. musicals, operas, short stories, and novels configure these iconic Latin American bodies alongside disability and illness narratives.

Research Interests:

  • 20th century U.S. literature
  • U.S. cultural studies
  • literature and music
  • embodiment
  • U.S. representations of Latin America
  • disability studies
  • performance studies