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Juli Highfill

Professor of Spanish
On leave 2014-2015

Office Location(s): 4222 MLB 1275
Phone: 734.763.5249

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Romance Languages & Literatures
  • Fields of Study
    • 19th and 20th century Spanish literature
    • The historic Spanish avant-garde
    • Early Spanish film, 1920-1940
    • The Spanish Republic and Civil War
    • Material and visual culture
  • About

    My recent book, Modernism and Its Merchandise: The Spanish Avant-Garde and Material Culture, 1920-1930, examines how the vanguardists engaged with their technological and commercial world. Enthralled with mass-produced products of the Machine Age, they incorporated these material objects into their literary and visual works; and in so doing, they launched a broad inquiry into the relations between mind and matter, people and things, words and world. This book traces that dissonant but productive inquiry by focusing on the merchandise, machines, and fashions of the 1920s, and concluding with objects of ruin and decay. The insights that arise from these encounters with material things, I suggest, anticipate the knowledge emerging today in the fields of material culture, technology studies, and network theory.

    In my new book project, Images in Flight: Popular and Political Affect in Spanish Cinema, 1920-1940, I explore cinematic experience in a time when film as mass spectacle was still relatively new. The writers of the Spanish avant-garde were preoccupied with what happens in the intimate yet public space of the "sala de cine." They sought to understand the emotional flows and the powerful identifications that bind viewers to the figures on screen.  In this study I examine theoretical essays, poems and narratives that address spectatorial experience, while also discussing films viewed and produced in Spain, including silent films and the first talkies.

    Recent and Selected Publications

    Modernism and Its Merchandise: The Spanish Avant-Garde and Material Culture, 1920-1940. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.

    "Moda y modelo de la literatura de avanzada: La venus mecánica de José Díaz Fernández.  Trans. Roger Colom. Una generación perdida: Literatura de avanzada, 1926-36. Ed. César de Vicente Hernando.  Miami: Stockcero, 2013. 145-65.

    "Geometría y angustia: García Lorca, Busby Berkeley, y el Crack de Wall Street."  Lars, cultura y ciudad 15 (2009): 70-75.

    "War-likeness: The Pugilist in Francisco Ayala's Vanguardist Narratives." Special issue, España en armas: Cultures of War in the Iberian Penninsula. Vanderbilt E-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies 5 (2009): 114-33.

    "Metafiction and Beyond: Collective Consciousness in Misericordia." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 40 (2006): 265-82.

    "Metaphoric Commerce:  The Greguerías novísimas and Their Circumstance."  Special Issue, Matters of the Market.  Eds. Christine Henseler and Alejandro Herrero-Olaizola.  The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 9 (2005): 119-36.  (Reprint in Spanish:

    "Ramón Gómez de la Serna in the Atomic Age." Romance Quarterly 52.3 (2005):  233-52.

    Portraits of Excess:  Reading Character in the Modern Spanish Novel.  Boulder, Colorado:  Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, University of Colorado, 1999.

    Recent graduate courses taught: 

    Popular and Political Affect in Spanish Film and Literature, 1920-1930
    The Spanish Historic Avant-Garde: Politics, Aesthetics, War
    Which Side Are You On?  Vanguardia y compromiso, 1918-1940
    Narrative Negotiations: Public and Private
    Literary Commerce in the Modern Spanish Novel
    Avant-Garde Objects / Avant-Garde Texts, 1918-1936
    Writing Under the Regime: The Spanish Novel, 1939-1975

    Recent undergraduate courses taught: 

    The Spanish Civil War
    International Cinema and the Spanish Avant-Garde, 1920-1936
    Lorca and Historical Memory
    Survey of Spanish Literature I: Poetry and Everyday Life
    Everyday Life Under the Franco Regime
    The Poet in the City: Lorca in New York, Borges in Buenos Aires
    Questioning Everything: Spanish Literature, 1898-1931
    From Biblical Crowds to Smart Mobs (freshman honors seminar)

  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1993
  • Awards
    • LSA Michigan Humanities Award, granted December 2010, for research leave in winter, 2012
    • Development Grant, Freshman-Sophomore Honors Seminar, 2004
    • Exc. in Educ. Award, LSA, 2001
    • Research Grant, Prog. for Cultural Cooperation, Spanish Ministry of Culture, 2000
    • Awards for Excellence in Education, 1995-96
    • Rackham Summer Fellowship, 1995
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • 19th and 20th century literature, the Spanish and Argentine historic avant-gardes, material and visual culture, early cinema in Spain, literary and cultural theory
  • Selected Publications:
  • Books