Yeidy Rivero’s scholarship focuses on the ‘lowbrow’ medium of television—seemingly a drastic departure from her dedication to the ‘high-art’ of theatre during her undergraduate and M.A. days. Indeed, her thesis director at City University of New York-Stony Brook was perplexed when she announced that she was going to study television and pursue a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas at Austin (“Where did I go wrong,” he wondered). Of course, in similar fashion, all of her former undergraduate teatreros regularly trashed television but would have ‘sold out’ in a heartbeat to be in a telenovela. Many of these same friends migrated to New York City to work in theatre but survived financially on very lucrative gigs doing Spanish-language voice-overs. For Rivero and for her teatrero friends, television played an important part in their theatre lives, whether they acknowledged it or not.
Needless to say, Rivero’s theatre background has been a pivotal component in her studies of television in the Spanish Caribbean and Latin America. Her focus on race and ethnic
representation in television/media has been influenced by the anti-black racism she witnessed in casting practices in television in Puerto Rico and that also reverberated across the region. Drawing on the fundamental relationship between creative people and audiences in the theater world, Rivero’ has paid close attention to both of these groups in her research by regularly communicating with directors, actors, and audience members. Much of her work includes these diverse voices, such as in her examination of a telenovela (Yo soy Betty la fea), a situation comedy (¿Qué pasa U.S.A.?), and an adaptation of a US format (A Corazón Abierto). Similarly, her initial curiosity in researching Cuban commercial television (her current book project) gestated from conversations with actors, directors, and scriptwriters.
In many ways, Rivero’s publications and research agenda are a product of her long held interests and training in theatre. Rivero studies and teaches television/media with the eyes of a theatre-trained person and her interests reside with those who “do” television.
Recent Courses Taught
SAC 366: All in the Sitcom Family
SAC 381: Latinos/as and the Media
SAC 620: Television Genres
SAC 632: The Television Revolution