Professor of Hispano Literature
He has numerous publications on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature. His most recent essay, Anachronism and Baroque Abandon: Carpentier’s, Cortázar’s, and Botero’s Decolonial Columns, is in collaboration with Monique Roelofs, with whom he is working on a book-length study of anachronism in contemporary Americas literature.
At Hampshire, he regularly offers courses on Latin American narrative and culture, Latin@ literature, world literature, and translation studies.
Given the importance of letters to the Latin American colonial enterprise and nation-building project, literature is a privileged site to think through contemporary rhetorics of modernity, decoloniality, and neoliberalism. We will begin with the critique of modernity by Borges and Cortazar and then turn to the temporal dislocations introduced by Juan Rulfo, Clarice Lispector, Jamaica Kincaid, Manuel Puig, Garcia Marquez, Diamela Eltit, Pedro Lemebel, Juan Vasquez, and Samanta Schweblin, as they confront the pressures of the marketplace and imagine alternative knowledges and socialities. We will also explore these implications in several works of film and visual art. Alongside the above artifacts, we will read selections of the postmodern and postcolonial projects of Anzaldua, Fanon, Franco, Lugones, Mignolo, Rama, Richard, among others.
"Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal." exhorts T.S. Elliot. This course connects the reading and writing processes so that they are reciprocal and reinforcing. Every week we will alternate between reading a mosaic of U.S. American short fiction and analyzing the ways in which these narratives make their point, and practical writing exercises in order to build linguistic, literary and cultural skills. During the final month, you will workshop your own narratives, fiction or non-fiction, allowing you to give and receive feedback on the process and products of your practice. You will be expected to provide clear, thoughtful, constructive oral and written feedback on your peers' efforts too. The aim is to become a better critical reader by being attuned to how narratives work, and to create something new that is haunted by the past. Writers are made by their libraries.
Childhood is no more an essential category than is gender; it is constructed. The course focuses on recent Latin American films that are not marketed to children, but feature minors (menores de edad) as organizing figures. It explores the way in which the child has been used to (re)envision collective histories and imagine different national futures and/or social change, but also to consider the problems that can arise from staging the child as a redemptive figure. The films depict four types: the "problem" and "at risk" child; travelling children; the child witness to political trauma; and "queer" children. In the process, the course highlights current Latin American history. Pertinent historical readings, theoretical essays, and critical articles supplement our screenings.
This course is devoted to the writings of the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges, one of the best and most important writers of the last century. Famous for his erudite fictions that speculate on time, history, knowledge, identity, reality, and the imagination, Borges taught us to think literature. He also delighted in spoofing erudition, in the conspiratorial wink against the purveyors of Culture. This playful side has its shadow, for much of his writing revolves around violence-iniquity, to cite one of his early titles. We will explore this duality of seriousness and fun selectively in his stories, poems and essays.