Jason Grant’s (Ph.D. French ‘22) dissertation titled “Sharing Space: Urban Encounters, Vulnerability, and the Right to the City in Modern French Literature” looks at what he terms "collisions," fleeting chance meetings that urban life uniquely makes possible, revealing the sort of shared vulnerability that simultaneously exposes city dwellers to danger and to untapped possibilities, political as well as ontological.
Amanda Ndaw’s (Ph.D. Spanish ‘21) dissertation, A Moving Target: The Border and Senegalese Gendered Migration to Spain, is one of great importance and originality in the field of Gender and Spanish-African Studies. In it she explores how the departure and arrival of Senegalese migrants deeply affect both Spain’s civil society and the migrant’s subjective experience and reality. Amanda’s work addresses questions of borders, gender violence, and ethnicity in literature and films produced during the last decades in Spain and Senegal, and it is deeply rooted in the disciplines of history, sociology, and political science.
Martín Ruiz Mendoza’s (Ph.D. Spanish ‘22) dissertation, Violence, Conflict, and Historical Reconciliation in Cultural Production: Colombia in Transition, offers an approach to Colombia’s violent history from a new conceptualization based on non-hegemony and non-homogenous narratives of conflict, memory, national unity and reconciliation as seen in different modalities of cultural production (fiction, theater, film, and art). Situated within current debates in Latin America about violence, “postconflict,” and human rights, Martín’s project is an intervention into the historical crossroads following the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla, which occurred between 2012 and 2016. Martín’s dissertation denies the all-compassing approaches to violence that typically frame it through dominant voices, the cultural elite, or through dichotomous and reductive patterns such as victim/victimizer or good/evil. While primarily focused on Colombia, the dissertation goes well beyond national confines as it delves into human rights, political violence, and memory, which resonate well beyond its geographical specificity.
Travis Williams (Spanish Ph.D. ‘22) dissertation, Corpus and Archive: The Figuration and Disfiguration of Public Spaces in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, examines the political-theological legacy of sovereign power in twentieth-century Mexico. Tracing this legacy through representations of the figure of the People in the decades following the 1910 Mexican Revolution, he demonstrates how secular national-popular iconography of this period drew on a humanist-Christian consciousness of lost immanence to project an image of national unity, predicating notions of history and national identity on a retrospective consciousness of loss. Travis proposes the need to deconstruct this paradigm and disentangle the thinking of history, community, and being-in-common from the national-popular imaginary and the notions of lost immanence that animate it.