+44 (0)113 343 6631
Summary: Latin American culture and politics, especially urbanization, poverty and populism in Venezuela. Landslides in Andean towns and cities, conflict and cultural discourse.
Location: 2.35 Michael Sadler
Teaching Commitments: 2018/19: Revolutionary Icons in Latin American Culture; Issues in Hispanic Cinemas; Modern Spanish-American Literature
My research is situated at the intersections between culture and politics in contemporary Latin America, focusing on the conflicts that drive urbanization in diverse geographical and historical contexts. To date, my work has examined the ways in which these tensions are mediated in visual and textual discourse, and how such discursive practices contribute to the production of social imaginaries and urban configurations in a postcolonial environment.
I am currently working on a monograph, tentatively entitled Representing the barrios: Culture, Politics and Urban Poverty in Twentieth-Century Caracas. This is based on my doctoral research, undertaken at the University of Cambridge with the support of a Mallinson Scholarship. Tracing the evolution of the barrio as a phenomenon and an identity, the book analyses materials including novels, short stories, films, newspaper reports, political essays, poetry and song lyrics. In doing so, it unpicks the entangled relationship between populist politics, the oil industry and urban poverty, considering how this relationship developed in a country whose cities house around 90% of the population.
Developing from this is a second project called 'Viscous Cities' that interrogates the cultural history of urban landslides in the Andes, particularly in Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. The research is animated by a series of initial provocations: What happens to towns and cities that are destroyed by landslides? How do their communities survive after the event of their destruction? Who determines the forms and the lifespans of their afterlives? In exploring these questions, I seek to elucidate how landslides are bound up with the uneven processes of urban development, especially in the absence of physical markers and concrete infrastructure.
You can follow my work on Twitter: @rsejarman
"Melodrama at the Margins: Poverty, Politics, and Profits in Golden Age Venezuelan Cinema", Modern Languages Review Vol 112 (3) July 2017, 545-665
"Bolivarian Landslides? Ecological Disasters, Political Upheavals and National Futures in Contemporary Venezuelan Culture" EcoZon@ Vol 8 (1) April 2017, 22-41
"Against Utopia: Fantasies of Emancipation in Ana Teresa Torres's Nocturama (2006)" Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, vol 24 (1), 2015, 19-32
Talks and Presentations
March 2018: "Of Literature and Landslides: Making Sense of Catastrophes in Contemporary Andean Writing", Vigdís Finnbogadótir Institut of Foreign Languages, University of Iceland
March 2017: "The Nature of Revolution: Disasters, Citizenship and Countercultures in Bolivarian Venezuela", School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University
November 2016: "Bolivarian Landslides: Disaster, Revolution and the Future in New Venezuelan Narratives", Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
Selected Conference Papers
May 2018: "A Home for the Damned? Disasters, Weirdness and (Un)Belonging in Literary Renditions of Torre David", International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Barcelona
April 2018: "'Chronicle of a Landslide Foretold: Investigating the "Tragedia de Armero" in Testimonial Colombian Detective Fiction", American Comparative Literature Association, UCLA
April 2017: "Naturalizing Urbanization: Disaster, Detritus and Progress in 1930s Venezuelan Visual Culture", International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Lima
June 2016: "'Si la naturaleza se opone, lucharemos contra ella': Gendered Violence and Ecological Catastrophes in Contemporary Venezuelan Culture", Eco-Criticism in Times of Crisis, University of Leeds
May 2016: "Bolivarian Landslides? Representations of Ecological Disasters and Political Upheavals in Contemporary Venezuela", International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, New York
May 2016: Queering the barrios? The Politics of Poverty and Sexuality in Contemporary Venezuelan Cinema, Creative Spaces, ILAS, University of London
Media and Communications
My latest media work includes contributions to BBC Wales, BBC World Service, BBC History Magazine and The Conversation. I am also interested in Spanish-English translation and have a professional portfolio that includes literary and academic texts. In 2015, I edited 'Voices from the Venezuelan City', a digital anthology of short stores in translation for Palabras Errantes.
I welcome inquiries for PhD supervision on the following topics: Venezuelan culture and history, Latin American film and literature, urban cultures, disaster cultures, revolutionary cultures and history.
SPPO3035: From Bolívar to Chávez: Revolutionary Icons in Contemporary Latin American Culture
SPPO2100/1: Issues in Hispanic Cinemas
SPPO2430/1: Modern Spanish-American Literature