The King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center Announces: Postdoctoral Fellows for Spring 2021
Diego Baena received his PhD. from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University in 2020. He also holds a BA in History and Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Baena worked for a year as a bilingual tutor with Chicago Public Schools.
His dissertation, entitled “La literatura y sus pueblos: demopoéticas de la España liberal (1834-1854) [Literature and its Peoples: the Demopoetics of Liberal Spain, 1834-1854],” explores the intersection between popular literacy, various forms of popular media, censorship, and dissident political cultures in nineteenth-century Spain, with a special focus on the era of liberal rule known as the Período Isabelino. His principal focus as a researcher has been on republican, “utopian” socialist, or otherwise anti-establishment authors and political cultures from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and on forms of popular media ranging from the folletín novel, to the popular theater of the género chico and the largely anonymous forms of “minor” graphic and performed literature known as literatura de cordel.
While one part of Dr. Baena’s research to date has focused on representations of urban and transatlantic migration, popular education, knowledges, and working-class caring economies in the works of Emilia Pardo Bazán and Rosalía de Castro, his more recent endeavors seek to question the perceived relationship between, on the one hand, what is generally called ‘Literature’ in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and, on the other, what is broadly called “popular” or “mass” culture, seeking also to disquiet the at-times arbitrary distinctions that have tended to be imagined between so-called “high” and “low” aesthetic and political forms.
Dr. Baena is currently preparing publications on the Madrid bohemian literary scene and on the intersection of cholera pandemics and working-class revolts in mid-nineteenth-century Spain. He has also published in the Madrid-based cultural magazine, CTXT.
Sebastián Figueroa received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020. He also holds an MA in Modern Languages from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, and a BA in Language and Communication from Universidad Austral de Chile.
His dissertation, “Landscapes of Extraction: Capital and Nature in 21st century Latin American Literature and Film,” analyzes the relationship between resource extraction and ecological crisis in a series of novels and documentary films from contemporary Latin America about mining, agribusiness, and manufacture during the first decades of the 21st century.
Dr. Figueroa works on the intersections between class, race, gender, and ecology in Latin American cultural production. He is currently working on a book manuscript titled, Poéticas de la extracción. Literatura, naturaleza y capitalismo en América Latina, in which he analyzes the relationship between capitalist development, resource extraction and ecological crisis in Latin American literature from the 20th and 21st centuries. He has written about extraction and landscape in Patricio Guzmán’s documentary films and monocrop agriculture in Juan Cárdenas’ fiction. He has also written about the poetics of exile in Roberto Bolaño, filmmaker Jaime Barrios, and Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes. Sebastián Figueroa’s research interests range from critical theory, cultural studies, and film theory to environmental humanities.
Dr. Figueroa has taught as a visiting professor at Haverford College, and as adjunct at Universidad Austral de Chile and Universidad de Los Lagos. He received a scholarship from the Government of Chile to pursue graduate studies in Mexico (2008-2011), and the Beca de Creación Literaria (Chile, 2013) for the collection of poetry Dracma (published in 2016 by Serifa, Valdivia). In 2011, he founded Donceles, a bookstore and cultural hub in Valdivia, Chile. He was assistant editor in Revista Austral de Ciencias Sociales and Estudios Filológicos, and book review editor in Hispanic Review.