The driving interest behind my work, both in the classroom and in my research, is the relationship between politics, ethics, and literature. I do not think that literature serves to represent a political stance so much as poses the question of what an ethical relationship with the world might be, and -at times- how that might provide the possibility of a new kind of politics.
My current project concerns the relationship between testimony and representation. It focuses on poetry that was written during and after the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s in Chile and Argentina. This poetry tries to represent some of the violence, horror, and grief that was experienced during those years without repeating the representational violence that was being perpetrated by the military regimes. These works respond to a long Latin American tradition of political poetry, but in such a way that they reject traditional conceptions of a subject-driven politics; and also of the avant-garde, but with a political specificity and sense of humility that the vanguardias tended to lack.
My previous research project focused on the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Walter Benjamin and the relationship between writing and history in the experience of modernity. The book that came out of this project is called Reading Borges After Benjamin: Allegory, Afterlife, and the Writing of History and was published as part of the SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture in 2007.
Recent and Selected Publications
"Heavy Beasts and the Garden of Culture: Remembering Eco: Revista de la cultura de occidente," The New Centennial Review 5.2 (2005).
"The 'New Latin Americanism,' or the End of Regionalist Thinking?", The New Centennial Review 4.3 (2004).
"Against a Sepulchral Rhetoric of the Past: Poetry and History in the Early Borges," Latin American Literary Review 62 (2004).
Recent graduate courses taught:
La palabra poética y los límites del testimonio
(Spanish 881, fall 2005)
Recent undergraduate courses taught:
Twentieth century Latin American narrative and poetry
(Spanish 475 and 476)
Chilean Literature and Culture from the 1950s to the present