Fall 2020, organized virtually by Assistant Professor Rhi Johnson
October 23, 2020
Speaker: Melissa Dinverno (associate professor)
"Curating Literary and Cultural Studies: Scholarship in the Context of the Public Humanities"
Within current conversations on public-facing scholarship in the U.S., in this talk, I look at the act of translating academic work in our field (literary critical studies, cultural criticism, scholarly editions, conference talks, etc.) into other realms and for different publics. We will talk about the ways that the research we produce for academic audiences can be shaped into work that impacts public understandings of writers, literature and culture, historical and cultural memory, institutions, and critical categories. I will take as a specific point of departure Suites y el viaje de la percepción, a museum exhibit that I recently curated on one of my research areas within Peninsular Studies, Lorca's avant-garde poetic collection, Suites. I will share some of the challenges of reconceptualizing that scholarly work for a general public, the different aspects of curation, the varying types of work and methods it required of a literary and cultural scholar, the challenges of working with an interdisciplinary transnational team, and the thrill of creating something from our research both in spatial terms and for a broad international public. Given the Zoom discussion-format of the fall colloquium, the talk aims to prompt small-group discussion about the translatability of what we do for a general public either in the U.S. or abroad, the wide skill set that we have built in our field, and the need for our work to reach beyond the academy.
November 6, 2020
Speaker: Daniel Runnels (Ph.D. candidate)
"A Critique of Anarchist Thought in Latin America: On Violence and Non-Violence"
This presentation considers the Latin American anarchist archive at the start of the 20th century. Not content with accepting overly simplified characterizations of the movement – neither by the popular imaginary nor by anarchists themselves – I look to writings on violence by anarchist thought leaders to ask what insights can be drawn from debates on ethics, politics, and the relationship between the two.
December 4, 2020
Speaker: Andrew Bentley (visiting lecturer)
"The Archive as Space and Cultural Artifact in Postwar Guatemala"
The archive is a focal point of culture in postwar Guatemala, imbued with state violence, the politics of memory, and social (in)justice. This presentation combines a spatial analysis of the Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN) with its literary representation in El material humano (2009) to conceptualize the archive as a space and artifact that reconfigures the social imaginary.
Spring 2021, organized virtually by Professor Reyes Vila-Belda
February 12, 2021
Speaker: Nathan Douglas (Ph.D. candidate)
"Love Letters: What Almodóvar's La ley del deseo (1987) Tells Us about Literary Criticism"
Literary criticism: what's love got to do with it? Recent debates have polemicized the place of Marxism and psychoanalysis in literary criticism, often conflating their negation-based methods with a surly affective disposition that can be isolated, excised, and cured through more loving attachments. This talk unpacks a Lacanian response by way of Pedro Almodóvar's film La ley del deseo (1987). Reading the instances of love letters, love, and the letter in Almodóvar's film, I argue that Lacan's largely misunderstood work on love ("There is no sexual relationship") offers a way forward. Rather than pathologize the difference between literary criticism and "the way we read now," I move, with Joan Copjec, for a method "literate in desire."
March 19, 2021
Speaker: Ryan Giles (professor)
"Try All Things: Parody, Heresy, and Error in the Libro de buen amor"
This paper will examine how the Archpriest of Hita, in the Libro de buen amor, parodies the letters of Paul. Most strikingly, he twice ironically cites the Apostle's admonition: "Try all things, hold fast that which is good." I will show how this verse was commonly understood during the Middle Ages as warning against "sensory" and "carnal" readings of sacred texts that Church Fathers and scholastics explicitly associated with heresy. In his poem, the Archpriest challenges readers by repeatedly engaging in this kind of heretical misreading of scripture, as he creatively experiments with error and misinterpretation.
April 9, 2021
Damián V. Solano Escolano (Ph.D. candidate)
"Experiencia, discurso y martirio en testimonios de guerrilla en Centroamérica (1970-1990)"
El propósito de este trabajo es desmenuzar la retórica de los testimonios centroamericanos guerrilleros, considerando el contexto de insurgencia en el que fueron concebidos. El discurso martirial, además de funcionar como elemento vertebrador entre la disposición textual y los efectos políticos en la realidad extratextual, posibilitó un punto de encuentro entre la Teología de la liberación y los movimientos revolucionarios de inspiración marxista. Como prueba de fidelidad militante, los testimoniantes exhiben su sufrimiento en la guerrilla, rinden homenaje a los caídos y proclaman predisposición a un sacrificio que, como tal, contribuya a la revolución que está en marcha.