Associate Professor — Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Latin American Literature and Film, particularly in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay; Inter-American Cultural Studies; early-to-mid 20th century cultural history, celebrity studies, popular culture, discourse analysis
After earning my doctorate from UC Berkeley in 2002, I worked for seven years as Assistant Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University, coming to UT Austin in 2009 as an Associate Professor of Latin American Literature and Film. My teaching and scholarship focus on encounters between popular culture, literature and cinema in Latin America, particularly in Brazil and the Southern Cone. In addition to publishing articles in such journals as Hispanic Review, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, and Luso-Brazilian Review, I have written two books documenting and analyzing the early impact of Hollywood on Latin American intellectuals: Avances de Hollywood: Crítica cinematográfica en Latinoamérica, 1915-1945 (Beatriz Viterbo, 2005), and Latin American Writers and the Rise of Hollywood Cinema(Routledge, 2008; paperback edition 2010).
My latest research project centers on what I am calling the "jazz imaginary" in Latin America. Provisionally titled Strange Riffs: Latin America and the Cultural Politics of Jazz, this book examines on one hand the ways Latin American cultural discourse (music criticism, literature, film) has shaped jazz as a performative practice of vital symbolic importance to the region from the 1920s to the present day. Conversely, I am analyzing how analogous North American and European discourse has come to locate Latin American musical expressions, however problematically, within the jazz canon.
SPN 350K • Latin Noir: Film/Crime Lat Am
45660 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BEN 1.124
(also listed as LAS 370S)
Taught in Spanish. Important themes in Iberian or Latin American societies and examines their treatment in audiovisual and media production. Students will be able to analyze the language of audiovisual and media cultures and discuss their implications
SPC 320C • Gringomania: U.S. In Lat Am
45700 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.124
(also listed as LAS 328)
Since the 19th century, the United States has had an especially pervasive and crucial influence on the Latin American imagination, as North-South “contact zones” have become increasingly more fluid in an age of migration, mass media, and globalization. This course, therefore, will approach Latin American culture through one of the region’s enduring figures and obsessions. Through an analysis of a range of cultural texts—primarily fiction and poetry but also film, music and essays--students will explore how Latin American writers and artists have used the United States and “gringo” tropes not just to come to terms with international politics, popular culture, crime, technology and race, but also to talk about themselves.
SPN 350K • Latin Amer Film And Culture
46145 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.202
(also listed as LAS 370S)
This course will provide students with an overview of Latin American cinema from the perspective of cultural history. As a survey of film production in the region, we will be watching a wide selection of pictures, from the early sound era to contemporary cinema. Specifically, through a combination of close viewing and supplementary texts, we will study how the medium develops from fledgling industries in the early 20th century to the more sophisticated studio systems (particularly in Argentina and Mexico) of the 1930s and 1940s; later in the semester, we will see how the "New Wave" of Latin American cinema in the 1960s planted the seeds for the vital mode of expression that the cinema has become in the last decade. As we analyze each chronological stage of Latin America film, we will examine how historical trends and foreign industries (particularly Hollywood) have impacted the medium in the region.
ILA 389 • Cultural Politics Of Imitation
46605 • Fall 2014
Meets M 500pm-800pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as LAS 392S)
The course will examine Latin American culture (particularly cinema) through what critics such as Néstor García Canclini and Nelly Richard have called the “paradigm of imitation,” a prism encompassing a wide range of cultural practices, from appropriation to outright impersonation. After studying a selection of theories of imitation, ranging from Aristotle to Glissant and Bhabha, we will shift our focus to texts (mostly films, from both Brazil and Spanish America) that exemplify and at the same time challenge the commonly held notion that imitation is by definition a subordinate or even abject colonialist strategy. As we will see, celebrity and power play prominent roles in generating a rich diversity of Latin American imitative practices, as the pervasiveness of transnational mass culture enables local agents to scramble and resignify metropolitan and hegemonic discourses and institutions in ways that support and at the same time subvert local and national identity projects, often along lines of race and gender.
Grades will based on two presentations (40% of final grade), participation (20%) and a final research paper (40%). The class will be conducted in Spanish and Portuguese.
Chingolo (Lucas Demare, 1940)
El circo (M. Delgado, 1943)
Hollywood es así (dir. J. Délano, 1944)
Aventurera (dir. Alberto Gout, 1950)
Carnaval Atlântida (dir. Carlos Manga, 1954)
Alias Gardelito (dir. Lautaro Murúa, 1961)
Madame Satã (dir. Karim Ainouz, 2002)
Tony Manero (dir. Pablo Larraín, 2008)
VIPS (dir. Toniko Melo, 2010)
El último Elvis (dir. Armando Bo, 2012)
ILA 389 • Pop Vanguards In Latin America
46575 • Fall 2013
Meets TH 930am-1230pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as LAS 392S)
This comparative course will study the avant-garde in Latin America as a crucial mode of 20th century cultural production encompassing literature, visual culture, popular music and politics. The seminar will begin with the concept of “vanguard” as it emerged in the early 20th century, paying particular attention to arrival of modern technologies and the concomitant rise of new models of cultural production, based in part on revisionist elaborations of criollismo, négritude, mestiçagem and latinidad. After examining the importance of both new mass media (particularly film and radio) and local vernacular practices in the development of cultural vanguards in the 1920s, students will study links between vanguardism and populist political regimes of the 1930s-1960s. Finally, students will analyze the radical projects of the New Latin American Cinema and other “neo-avant-garde” movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and how they at once dialogue with earlier vanguard production and establish a new creative matrix for contemporary Latin American filmmakers, artists, and intellectuals.
The course will draw primarily from works in Spanish and Portuguese; adequate reading knowledge and oral comprehension of these two languages is required. Student will be required to two give two oral presentations over the course of the semester, and to turn in one 18-25-page paper at the end of the semester.
Texts will include the following (subject to change):
Manuel Maples Arce, "Manifiesto Actual N. 1 (Manifiesto Estridentista)"
Oliverio Girondo, Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía
Juan Marín, Looping
Oswald de Andrade, "Manifesto antropófago" and other selected texts
Mário de Andrade, Macunaíma (selections)
Nicolás Guillén, Motivos de son
Julio Cortázar, El perseguidor and other selected texts
José Agrippino de Paula, PanAmérica (selections)
Limite (dir. Mário Peixoto)
¡Que viva México (dir. S. Eisenstein)
Los olvidados (dir. Luis Buñuel)
São Paulo, Sociedade Anônima (dir. Luís Sérgio Person)
Memórias del subdesarrollo (dir. Tomás Gutierrez Alea)
Terra em Transe (dir. Glauber Rocha)
La hora de los hornos (dir. Octavio Getino & Fernando Solanas)
El Topo (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Macunaíma (dir. Joaquim Pedro de Andrade)
La mujer sin cabeza (dir. Lucrecia Martel)
SPN 380K • Transnationalism Lat Am Cinema
46695 • Fall 2012
Meets T 100pm-400pm MEZ 1.212
(also listed as LAS 392S)
This course will explore the theme of transnationalism in Latin America primarily through cultural theory and the medium of film. From its inception in the silent era until the present day, Latin American cinema has continually dialogued with other nations and industries—particularly Hollywood, which has historically depended on Latin American actors, writers and technicians, not to mention the region’s vast symbolic repository of “otherness.” Using a number of U.S. films as points of comparison and sources of influence, students will examine how Latin American film history (both in Spanish America and Brazil) has been shaped through its constant exposure to foreign cultures and imaginaries. Whether through appropriation of North American and European cinematic models, focus on problems of exile or cultural imperialism, or, more recently, collaboration with international production companies, Latin American filmmakers have elaborated diverse methods of interrogating local and national identities through frequently contentious encounters with their “neighbors,” both near and far. The course, therefore, traces the evolution of transnationalism as a politically complex, multi-faceted and collective enterprise, manifested not only in the visual language of film, but also through language and popular music—the latter a crucial and often underappreciated source of subjectivity since the beginning of the sound era.
Students in this course will be expected to watch two full-length feature films prior to each class. In addition, they will regularly be assigned one or two theoretical/critical readings and the occasional work of fiction and/or poetry, depending on the specific topic.
Each student will give two presentations over the course of the semester: the first a 20-minute lecture centering on one of the films they have watched outside of class, and the second a 15-20 minute paper previewing/summarizing their final research paper; the professor will give written feedback on both presentations. The final research paper will be between 18-25 pages in length, and will focus on some innovative aspect of transnationalism and at least one of the films we have watched during the semester.
Below is a preliminary list of the films to be covered in the course:
El tango en Broadway (Louis J. Gasnier, 1934)
Allá en el Rancho Grande (Fernando de Fuentes, 1936)
Down Mexico Way (Joseph Santley, 1941)
The Gang’s All Here (Busby Berkeley, 1943)
It’s All True (Orson Welles [Bill Krohn et al], 1942 )
Aventurera (Alberto Gout, 1950)
Carnaval Atlántida (José Carlos Burle & Carlos Manga, 1952)
Guys and Dolls (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1955)
El jefe (Fernando Ayala, 1958)
Orfeu Negro (Marcel Camus, 1959)
Yo soy Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964)
El perseguidor (Osias Wilenski, 1965)
El Super (León Ichaso & Orlando Jiménez Leal, 1979)
Gaijin--os caminhos da liberdade (Tizuka Yamasaki, 1980)
El exilio de Gardel (Fernando Solanas, 1985)
The Mambo Kings (Arne Glimcher, 1992)
Terra estrangeira (Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, 1996)
Tudo é Brasil (Rogério Sganzerla, 1997)
Bolivia (Adrián Caetano, 2001)
Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2006)
Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, 2008)
SPN 381M • Film/Lit/Celeb In Lat Amer
46590 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 100pm-400pm BEN 1.118
The main purpose of this course will be to introduce students to film in Latin America as a polemical subject, a literary topic, an aesthetic model and as a cultural practice in its own right. The central theoretical focus of the course will be celebrity and celebrity studies, since fame—what Jesús Martín-Barbero calls the simultaneously hegemonic and “empowering” aperture of celebrity—has consistently been one of the main prisms through which Latin American writers and filmmakers have imagined themselves and their work. Indeed, the star system (particularly Hollywood, but also those of Mexico, Argentina and Brazil) has arguably functioned as a kind of grey eminence in much contemporary Latin American literary and cultural production. In this course, therefore, students will read/view and discuss a broad selection of 20th and 21st century Latin American literature and films that foreground cinematic production, mass media, spectatorship and fame.
REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:
Students’ grades will be based on: active class participation, including exercises such as leading class discussion (40%); and a final research paper (60%).
Classes will be taught in Spanish. Reading knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese is required. Class participation and the final paper may be in Spanish, Portuguese or English.
TEXTBOOKS AND/OR CLASS MATERIALS (tentative):
Horacio Quiroga, “Miss Dorothy Philips, mi esposa” and other stories
Clemente Palma, XYZ
Jaime Torres Bodet, Estrella de día
Carlos Fuentes, Zona sagrada
Guillermo Villarronda, Poemas a Walt Disney
Clarice Lispector, A hora da estrela
Manuel Puig, El beso de la mujer araña
Alberto Fuguet, Las películas de mi vida
El tango en Broadway (dir. Louis Gasnier)
Carnaval Atlántida (dir. José Carlos Burle)
Reportaje (dir. Emilio Fernández)
Cinema de lágrimas (dir. Nelson Pereira dos Santos)
Tony Manero (dir. Pablo Larraín)
SPN 325L • Intro To Spn Amer Lit Snc Mod
47015 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as LAS 370S)
In this course students will read representative Spanish American texts from the late 19 th to the early 21 st century. Although students will be exposed to a wide range of literary works, the emphasis will be on short fiction, crónicas, and poetry. In addition to learning about the main literary genres and artistic trends in the region-including literature's overlap with art, music and film-students will examine how Spanish-American writers have positioned themselves in the popular milieu of the street, the public square, the circus, the brothel, the stadium, etc. Besides examining common themes like race, gender and violence, we will ask ourselves how these public spaces and practices and "real-life" encounters challenge writers' conception of themselves and, indeed, that of literature itself.
Required reading assignments will come from Voces de Hispanoamérica (3 rd ed) as well as electronic texts (Blackboard).
Grades will be based on regular and active class participation (20%), one mid-term examination (15%), two papers (40%) and one final exam (25%). Class participation includes regular, on-time attendance and active participation in class discussions; students will receive a participation grade once every three to four weeks. Study questions will be made available on Blackboard at least 24 hours prior to every class. Students should prepare written answers to these questions, as the instructor will ask for responses in class, and may at any time ask to read and evaluate written responses.
SPN 380K • Pop Perf And Lit In Latin Amer
46715 • Fall 2010
Meets T 300pm-600pm MEZ 1.104
(also listed as LAS 392S)
T 3:00-6:00 PM
MEETS WITH: LAS 392S, 40400
Since the advent of modern mass culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, live spectacles such as carnival, circus, sporting events, and popular music have continued to play a prominent role in the Latin American imaginary. One of the main goals of this seminar is to examine the persistence of such popular performance in Latin American and Caribbean narrative, poetry, theatrical expression and cinema in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Rather than seeking to isolate performance from the literary archive, however, we will also explore how the archive has confronted and assimilated live performance. In this seminar, therefore, students will study a range of texts (from such authors as Machado de Assis, Nicolás Guillén, Raúl González Tuñón, Julio Cortázar, Bernardo Kordon, Guillermo Meneses, César Aira and Edwidge Dandicat) that deal thematically with different aspects of popular spectacle, reading them as cultural practices emblematic of artistic creativity, political praxis, social, racial and sexual conflicts, and contentious encounters with modernity.
* Regular class participation (20% of final grade)
* Two presentations on reading assignments (30%)
* One final research paper (50%)