Associate Professor in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, Faculty of Arts
I teach mostly Spanish American literature, along with other aspects of Spanish American cultural life (film, intellectual history). I contribute to a first-year course on literature, teach half of a… read more
I work on Spanish American literature and cultural history, all my writing being informed by insights gleaned from critical theory-above all from the work of Derrida.
My current project is a book provisionally called Moments of Modernity: In Spanish America. I look at five instances of the modern from five different spheres of cultural-intellectual life (science, natural law, civic associationism, mining, and literature) in the Spanish American colonies before Independence, i.e. before the second decade of the nineteenth century. Part of the project undoubtedly involves saying: 'Look, there are moments of the modern there where one does not expect to find them.' But another large part involves questioning the very idea we have of modernity, and perhaps above all shaking the all-too-comforting notion that modernity is a simple thing that arrives en masse rather like a refrigerated ship into a new port for the first time.
I teach mostly Spanish American literature, along with other aspects of Spanish American cultural life (film, intellectual history). I contribute to a first-year course on literature, teach half of a second-year module on literature and film, and do a final-year module called Spanish American Narrative.
I also teach Spanish language, principally now translation from Spanish into English.
My previous work has mostly been on Spanish American literature. I published a book called Tradition and Modernity in Spanish American Literature with Palgrave Macmillan in 2007. That book is a meditation on the relationship between two impossibly large and vague things which yet have real purchase in life and letters: Tradition, on the one hand, and Modernity, on the other. The book is also, however, a meditation on the relationship between literature and the new kid on the block in Latin American studies, i.e. cultural studies. In the book I deal with certain theoretical issues and then move on to look at Spanish American modernismo, at Borges, Vallejo, Rulfo, and Carpentier's great novel on the impact of the French Revolution in the Caribbean, El siglo de las luces. I published an edited volume of essays on Vallejo in 1997, The Poetry and Poetics of Cesar Vallejo.
My recent work includes a short monograph, Otherwise Engaged: After Hegel and the Philosophy of History, on what to make of Hegel's Philosophy of History, especially when the voluble rejections of Hegel's philosophy of the modern age sound suspiciously like confirmations of Hegel's logic. I also co-edited a volume of essays, 1812 Echoes: The Cadiz Constitution in Hispanic History, Culture and Politics, on the legacy of Spain's 1812 Constitution.