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Oswaldo Zavala
Campus Affiliation: CUNY Graduate Center
Phone: (718) 982-3708
Research Interests: Contemporary Mexican Narrative, U.S.-México Border Studies, Literary Theory, Latin American Cultural Studies, Politics of Literature and the Literary Field.

Oswaldo Zavala is an Associate Professor of contemporary Latin American literature at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the College of Staten Island. He specializes in 20th and 21st century Mexican narrative. He received a B.A. in Spanish and Communications at the University of Texas at El Paso (1999), a master's degree in Hispanic Literature at the University of Texas at Austin (2002) and a dual doctorate in Hispanic literature at the University of Texas at Austin and in comparative literature at the University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle (2006). His work has appeared in academic journals and books in México, the U.S., Spain and France, exploring post-national imaginaries, representations of violence and the political at the US-Mexico border, and the radicalization and exhaustion of discourses on modernity in the Latin American narrative of the last two decades.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

 

EDITED BOOKS

With Viviane Mahieux (University of California at Irvine). Tierras de nadie: el norte en la narrativa mexicana contemporánea. [No Man's Lands: The North in Contemporary Mexican Narrative.] México: Tierra Adentro, 2012.

With José Ramón Ruisánchez (University of Houston). Materias dispuestas: Juan Villoro ante la crítica. [Materias dispuestas: Juan Villoro and the Critics.] Barcelona: Candaya, 2011. 



REFEREED ARTICLES 

 "La genealogía otra de la modernidad latinoamericana: Daniel Sada y la literatura mundial.” [The Other Genealogy of Latin American Modernity: Daniel Sada and World Literature.”] Latin American Literary Review. 40.79 (2012): 23-44.

"El ensayo Entre Paréntesis: Roberto Bolaño y el olvido de la modernidad latinoamericana.” [“The Essay In Parentheses: Roberto Bolaño and the Erasure of Latin American Modernity.”] Revista Iberoamericana. LXXVIII.240 (2012). 637-656.

"Le mythe de l'hybridité à la frontière : Une approche critique du récit du nord du Mexique." [The Myth of Hybridity at the Border: An Ethical Approach to the Narrative of the North of Mexico."] Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. (Forthcoming). 18 manuscript pages. (Revised version in French of "The Absolute Border: Eduardo Antonio Parra and the Mythology of the North in Tierra de nadie.")

"La síntesis y su trascendencia: Sergio Pitol, la escritura autobiográfica y el fin del occidentalismo." ["The Synthesis and Its Transcendence: Sergio Pitol, Autobiographical Writing and the End of Occidentalism."] RILCE. Revista de Filología Hispánica 28.1 (2012): 256-271. 

"La imaginación rebelde: Ricardo Flores Magón y el anarquismo como estética de vanguardia." ["The Rebellious Imagination: Ricardo Flores Magón and Anarchism as an Avant-Garde Aesthetics."] Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 45 (2011): 333-347. 

"Una narrativa de silencios: A pesar del oscuro silencio y la transgresión del campo literario." ["A Narrative of Silences: A pesar del oscuro silencio and the Transgression of the Literary Field."] Explicación de Textos Literarios. 36.1-2 (2008): 21-39. 

"El humanismo y sus heterotopías: Foucault, Borges y la (reincidente) muerte del Hombre." ["Humanism and Its Heterotopias: Foucault, Borges and the (recidivist) Death of Man."] Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana. 34, 68 (2008): 55-78.

"La frontera absoluta: Eduardo Antonio Parra y la mitología del norte en Tierra de nadie." ["The Absolute Border: Eduardo Antonio Parra and the Mythology of the North in Tierra de nadie."] Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea. 14, 39 (2008): 81-88.

"(Re)fundación mítica de Comala: la nueva cartografía de la narrativa contemporánea del norte de México." ["The Mythical (Re)founding of Comala: the New Cartography of Contemporary Narrative of the North of México."] Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea. 14, 36 (2008): 53-60.

"El tigre en el espejo: Los minutos negros de Martín Solares y el relato policial borgeano." ["The Tiger in the Mirror: Martín Solares's Los minutos negros and the Borgesian Detective Short Story"]. Altertexto 5, 10 (2007): 29-40.

"La genealogía del infinito literario: el legado de Roberto Bolaño." ["The Genealogy of Literary Infinity: The Legacy of Roberto Bolaño."] Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea 12, 31 (2006): 33-39.

"El otro Absalón: Gastón Baquero y la desintegración del grupo Orígenes." ["The Other Absalom: Gastón Baquero and the Disintegration of the Orígenes Group."] Pterodáctilo: Revista de Arte, Literatura y Lingüística 3, 3 (2005): 58-64.

 

CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

"Los otros nombres de la flor: secretas y remotas afinidades en 'La cena' de Alfonso Reyes.'" ["The Other Names of the Flower: Secret and Remote Affinities in 'La cena' by Alfonso Reyes.'"] In Estar en el presente: literatura y nación desde el Bicentenario. Gwen Kirkpatrick and Enrique E. Cortez, eds. Lima-Berkeley: Lationamericana Editores and Centro de Estudios Literarios Antonio Cornejo Polar, 2012. 147-161.

"De la metrópolis (re)fundada a la dispersión de lo (post)nacional: la narrativa mexicana en el fin de siglo 1958-1999." ["From the (Re)Founded Metropolis to the Dispersion of the Post-National: Mexican Narrative at the End of the Century 1958-1999."] El patrimonio cultural de México: el siglo XX. Jorge Ortega e Ignacio Sánchez Prado (eds.). México: Conaculta, 2010. (Forthcoming). 16 manuscript pages.

"Los intervalos del futuro: Ciudad Juárez en la revolución." ["The Intervals of the Future: Ciudad Juárez in the Revolution."] Conciencia mexicana. Bicentenario de la Independencia y centenario de la Revolución. Rodrigo Pereyra Espinoza (ed). Lubbock: Céfiro Press and Cálamo, 2010. 218-228.

"Les fantômes de Rulfo : le nouveau récit du nord du Mexique." ["Rulfo's Ghosts: The New Narrative of the Mexican North."] Littératures d'aujourd'hui : contemporain, innovation, partages culturels, politique, théorie littéraire. Domaines européen, latino-américain, francophone et anglophone. Jean Bessière (ed). Paris: Honoré Champion, 2011. 53-66. 

"La tradición que retrocede: La cresta de ilión, Amparo Dávila y la radicalización de la alteridad." [The Tradition that Retreats: La cresta de ilión, Amparo Dávila and the Radicalization of Alterity."] In Ningún crítico cuenta esto… Género y transgresión en la obra de Cristina Rivera Garza. Oswaldo Estrada (ed). México: Eón, UC-Mexicanistas and U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2010. 223-237.

"La última ronda de la modernidad: Los detectives salvajes y el mezcal «Los Suicidas.»" ["The Last Round of Modernity: The Savage Detectives and the Mezcal «The Suicides.»"] Roberto Bolaño: Ruptura y violencia en la literatura finisecular. Felipe A. Ríos Baeza (ed). Eón y Benemérita Autónoma Universidad de Puebla, 2010. 201-218 (Reprinted version).

"Para desestabilizar nuestro optimismo: 'Por mi madre, bohemios' y la exterioridad discursiva de Carlos Monsiváis." [Destabilizing Our Optimism: 'Por mi madre, bohemios' and the Discursive Exteriority of Carlos Monsiváis."] In La conciencia imprescindible: Ensayos sobre Carlos Monsiváis. Gilberto Jezreel Salazar Escalante (ed). México: Tierra Adentro, 2009. 193-213.

"El futuro que ya fue: Jorge Volpi y la novela histórica del presente." ["The Future That Is Past: Jorge Volpi and the Historical Novel of the Present."] In En busca de Jorge Volpi: Ensayos sobre su obra. José Manuel López de Abiada, Félix Jiménez Ramírez and Augusta López Bernasocchi (eds.) Madrid: Verbum, 2004. 345-54. 

 

CREATIVE WORKS

NOVEL

Siembra de nubes. [Cloudseeding.] México: Praxis and Cuarto Creciente, 2011. 205 pp. 

SHORT FICTION

"Diles que no me maten." ["Tell them not to kill me"] Rio Grande Review 34. (2009): 85-90 (juried)

"Una fábula." ["A Fable."] Literal 19-20. (2006): 44-49 (invited). 

"Epígono de Pierre Menard." ["Pierre Menard's Epigone."] Los mejores cuentos mexicanos: edición 2004. Eduardo Antonio Parra, ed. México: Joaquín Mortiz, 2004. 187-201 (juried).

"Descubrimiento imperial: Los espejos de Carlota de Habsburgo." ["Imperial Discovery: Charlotte of Habsburg's Mirrors."] Día siete 3, 123. (2002): 56-61 (invited).

 

NON-REFEREED BOOKS, ARTICLES, AND PROCEEDINGS

"La literature del 11-S." ["The Literature of 9-11."] Proceso. 1819. Sept. 12, 2011. 46-48. 

"La guerra discursiva por las drogas." ["The Discursive War for Drugs."] Proceso.com. Nov. 5, 2010.

"Otra historia universal (y fronteriza) de la infamia: periodismo y literatura sobre 'las muertas' de Ciudad Juárez." ["Another Universal (and Border) Story of Infamy: Journalism and Literature on "the Dead Women" of Ciudad Juárez."] Acts of the XVI Congress of the International Association of Hispanistas: Nuevos caminos del hispanismo... Vol. 2 (CD). Pierre Civil and Françoise Crémoux, eds. Madrid and Frankfurt: Iberoamericana, 2010. 

"Pasado oscuro." ["Dark Past." Interview with Francisco Goldman.] Proceso. 1618. Nov. 4, 2007. 48-50

"La otra historia." ["The Other History."] Proceso: edición de 30 aniversario. 2006. 222-226.

"La corrupción como materia prima: entrevista con Martín Solares." ["Corruption as a Raw Material: interview with Martín Solares."] Proceso. 1563. Oct. 15, 2006. 60-61.

BOOK REVIEWS

El arte de la ironía: Carlos Monsiváis ante la crítica. Mabel Moraña and Ignacio Sánchez Prado (eds). Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana. 34, 68 (2008): 286-289. 

Mexico's Ruins: Juan García Ponce and the Writing of Modernity. Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández. Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos. 31, 3 (2007): 545.

Efecto Tequila. Élmer Mendoza. Pterodáctilo: Revista de Arte, Literatura y Lingüística. 3,4 (2005): 132-134.

 

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS AND LECTURES

Book presentation of Materias dispuestas: Juan Villoro ante la crítica. (Barcelona: Canadaya, 2011) With the presence of José Ramón Ruisánchez (The University of Houston) and Mexican author Juan Villoro. The Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures, The Graduate Center. Nov. 14, 2011.

"Canto a un dios neoliberal: Jorge Volpi y el crack del campo literario mexicano." ["Song to a Neoliberal God: Jorge Volpi and the Crack of the Mexican Literary Field."]. Imaginaries of the Mexican Cultural Field in the Neoliberal Age. The Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures. The Graduate Center-CUNY. Nov. 3-4, 2011 (Panel organizer and presenter).

"Literatura y narcotráfico." ["Literature and narcotrafficking."]. Universidad Autónoma of Baja California Sur. La Paz, México. Oct. 7, 2011 (Invited).

"Tres hipótesis críticas sobre la narconovela." ["Three Critical Hypothesis on the Narconovela."] The Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures. The Graduate Center-CUNY. April 29, 2011 (Invited).

"'El corrido no es un cuadro adornando la pared': Música, verdad y mitología en la narconovela". ["'The Corrido Is Not a Frame Decorating the Wall:' Music, Truth and Mythology in the Narconovela."] Congreso Internacional Literatura, Música y Baile. University of California Mexicanists' Association. Mérida, Yucatán. March 31-April 2, 2011 (invited).

"Trabajos (a favor) del reino: incapacidad crítica y explotación comercial de la novela del narco." ["Works (in favor) of the Kingdom: Critical Inability and Commercial Exploitation of the Narco Novel."] XVI Congress of Contemporary Mexican Literature, University of Texas at El Paso. March 3-5, 2011.

"Cartografías del siglo XXI." ["Cartographies of the XXI Century"]. Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nov. 19, 2010 (invited).

"Borges y Bolaño: el olvido de la modernidad". ["Borges and Bolaño: Forgetting Modernity."] I Congreso de Narrativa Hispanoamericana Contemporánea Roberto Bolaño. Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). Nov. 10-12, 2010.

"A orillas del futuro: Ciudad Juárez en el bicentenario." [At the Edge of the Future: Ciudad Juárez in the Bicentennial."]. XXIX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Toronto, Canada. October 6-9, 2010.

"Manual para ser detective salvaje: la obra póstuma de Roberto Bolaño". ["A Savage Detective's Handbook: Roberto Bolaño's Posthumous Works."] Economías de la Imaginación Americana. El Colegio de México and Universidad Iberoamericana. Aug. 19-10, 2010.

"Secretas y remotas afinidades: actualidad de la narrativa de Alfonso Reyes." ["Secret and Remote Affinities: The Presence of Alfonso Reyes' Narrative."] XXXVIII International Congress of the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature (IILI), "Independencias: Memoria y Futuro," Georgetown University. June 9-12, 2010. 

"El tigre en el espejo: Los minutos negros de Martín Solares y el relato policial borgeano." ["The Tiger in the Mirror: Martín Solares's Los minutos negros and the Borgesian Detective Short Story"]. The Mexican Studies Group of the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies. The Graduate Center-CUNY. May 3, 2010.

"El secreto del mundo en Ciudad Juárez: 2666 y la violencia en la era neoliberal." ["The Secret of the World in Ciudad Juárez: 2666 and Violence in the Neoliberal Era."] Crime Narratives in Modern Latin America: From Detectives to Narcos, Columbia University. April 30-May 1, 2010 (invited).

"El feminicidio post-nacional: La parte de los crímenes." ["The Post-National Feminicide: La parte de los crímenes."] XV Congress of Contemporary Mexican Literature, University of Texas at El Paso. March 4-6, 2010.

"El olvido de la modernidad: Roberto Bolaño y la literatura mundial." ["Forgetting Modernity: Roberto Bolaño and World Literature".] XXVIII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. June 11-14, 2009.

"Le mythe de l'hybridité à la frontière : Un approche critique du récit du nord du Mexique." ["The Myth of Hybridity at the Border: A Critical Approach to the Narrative of the North of Mexico."] Journées d'étude « Hybridité culturelle : reconsidérer la notion et ses applications en critique littéraire ». Université de Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle. June 3 and 5, 2009 (invited). 

"Genealogies of Sergio Pitol." Departamento de Letras, Universidad Iberoamericana. April 13, 2009 (invited).

"Writing in the Age of the Fugue: Roberto Bolaño at the End of Modernity." American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Harvard University. March 26-29, 2009.

"La tradición que retrocede: La cresta de ilión, Amparo Dávila y la radicalización de la alteridad." ["A Receding Tradition: La cresta de ilión, Amparo Dávila and the Radicalization of Alterity."] XIV Congress of Contemporary Mexican Literature, University of Texas at El Paso. March 5-7, 2009.

"La última ronda de la modernidad: Los detectives salvajes y el mezcal «Los Suicidas.»" ["The Last Round of Modernity: The Savage Detectives and the Mezcal «The Suicides.»"] Congreso Internacional Literatura y Bebida: Aguas Santas de la Creación, University of California Mexicanists' Association. Mérida, Yucatán. January 15-17, 2009 (invited).

"El secreto (compartido) del mal: Bolaño, Borges y el nazismo." ["The (Shared) Secret of Evil: Bolaño, Borges and Nazism."] VIII Andean Congress of Latin American Literature (JALLA), University of Chile, Santiago de Chile. Aug. 11-15, 2008.

"La imaginación rebelde: Ricardo Flores Magón y el anarquismo como estética de vanguardia." ["The Rebellious Imagination: Ricardo Flores Magón and Anarchism as an Avant-Garde Aesthetics."] XXXVII International Congress of the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature (IILI), Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México. June 24-28, 2008. 

"La mirada exógena: agencia e ideología en El testigo de Juan Villoro." ["The Exogenous Gaze: Agency and Ideology in Juan Villoro's El testigo."] The Mid-America Conference on Hispanic Literature (MACHL), University of Wisconsin at Madison. October 4-6, 2007.

"Otra historia universal (y fronteriza) de la infamia: periodismo y literatura sobre 'las muertas' de Ciudad Juárez." ["Another Universal (and Border) Story of Infamy: Journalism and Literature on "the Dead Women" of Ciudad Juárez."] XVI Congress of the International Association of Hispanistas (AIH), University of Paris III. July 9-13, 2007. 

"Rulfo's Ghosts: The New Narrative of the Mexican North." Journées d'étude sur les littératures contemporaines, Université de Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle. March 30-31, 2007 (invited). 

"De México a Mágico: El lenguaje infinito de Daniel Sada." ["From México to Mágico: The Infinite Language of Daniel Sada."] XI Congress of Contemporary Mexican Literature, University of Texas at El Paso. March 2-4, 2006.

"La genealogía del infinito literario: El legado de Roberto Bolaño." ["The Genealogy of Literary Infinity: The Legacy of Roberto Bolaño."] X Congress of Contemporary Mexican Literature, University of Texas at El Paso. March 3-5, 2005.

"El futuro que ya fue: Jorge Volpi y la novela histórica del presente." ["The Future That Is Past: Jorge Volpi and the Historical Novel of the Present."] International Congress of Literature: "Geographies of Carlos Fuentes," Brown University. April 18-20, 2002.

 

COURSES TAUGHT AT THE GRADUATE CENTER

Fall 2009: CL 89100, "History of Literary Theory I." Seminar description: This course is a study of the development of thought about literature in the classical, medieval, and early modern periods. We will analyze various ars poetica and discuss the nature of literary representation, mimesis and imitation, truth and beauty, and the cross-disciplinary encounters of literary discourse with that of philosophy, religion and politics. We will read a wide range of texts from Plato, Aristotle and Horace, to Dante, Vico, Lessing, Sidney, Schiller, Dryden, Hume, and Kant. We will also consider the influence, relevance and usefulness of these texts in contemporary literary theory and criticism, extrapolating to current trends of deconstruction, postcolonial, cultural and gender studies, post-structuralism and new historicism.

Fall 2011: SPAN 87100, "South of the River, North of the Desert: Contemporary Mexican Narrative in the Margins of Modernity." Seminar description: The north of Mexico, and especially the border with the U.S., has been portrayed either as a region of a problematical but celebrated cultural hybridity, or as an expansive slum of extreme poverty and senseless violence. An essential objectification of the border seems to be articulated out of these two radical poles without assessing practices of cultural agency and resistance, which in turn reveal dynamics of power constituting hegemonic and centralized discourses of nationalism. In the last two decades, however, a trend in Mexican narrative has emerged challenging these notions while privileging the north as the complex space for political, historical, economical and sociological (re)narration of the nation. This seminar analyzes the works of narrators as they search for counterhegemonic representations of this region: Heriberto Frías, Nellie Campobello, Jesús Gardea, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Roberto Bolaño, Carlos Montemayor, Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, Yuri Herrera, Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda, and Élmer Mendoza. These authors' works will be examined vis-à-vis debates on modernity, violence, aesthetics, political discourse and national identity through selections by Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Roger Bartra, Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Rancière, and Alain Badiou.

Fall 2012: SPAN 86400, "Last Evenings of Modernity: The Writings of Roberto Bolaño." Seminar description: Chilean author Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) is being hailed as the most important Latin American writer of the last twenty years. His complex and ambitious œuvre innovates and simultaneously breaks with Latin America's modern narrative tradition. From his nouvelles to his masterpieces The Savage Detectives (1998) and the posthumous 2666 (2004), Bolaño's writing traces Western civilization's failures, from the aftermath of World War II to the tragic daily life at the U.S.-Mexico border today. His texts can be read as the final epic from Latin America at the crudest and most dramatic crossroads of its recent history: a discontinuous series of police stories investigating the mass killing of women at the borderland, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the obscure link between art and crime, and an extended chronicle denouncing genocide, injustice, poverty, exploitation, racism and political corruption in the neoliberal world. Bolaño's works, which include remarkable novels, poetry, short stories and essays, radicalize and bring to a point of exhaustion the most important aspects of Latin America's modern literary tradition. This seminar explores how Bolaño's works are the culmination of Latin America's century-old quest for modernity that was central to the most important writers of the 20th century. Read together with a variety of contemporary authors and literary theorists such as Borges, Sebald, Perec, Foucault, Bürger and Bourdieu, Bolaño's works neutralize the anxieties of Western influence to achieve a literature that effectively erases cultural and sociopolitical boundaries to produce a series of works that can only be labeled "Latin American" problematically, challenging various conceptions of Western canons and pioneering the avenues of 21st century Latin American literature.