Gabriela Polit-Dueñas
1 University Station, B3700
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 232-4539

I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas in Austin. I came to UT in 2008. I moved from Long Island – New York where I lived for 6 years. I taught at the State University of New York from 2002 to 2008. I got my Ph.D. from New York University in 2002. I have an M.A. in Political Science from The New School for Social Research (1996) and a Licenciatura (B.A.) in Philosophy from the Universidad Católica del Ecuador – Quito.

My first book, Cosas de hombres. Escritores y caudillos en la literatura latinoamericana del siglo XX (Argentina: 2008, Beatriz Viterbo Editoras) is an analysis of the aesthetics of masculinity in novels about strong men. I analyze how writers use the figure of the tyrant to criticize a political regime, while displaying an attraction to his particular masculine identity. The book also explores how female and male writers negotiate in different ways their own identity as authors when it comes to represent power.

My interest in the connection between politics, violence and representation led me to look carefully at the ways in which the traffic of illegal drugs is portrayed in literature.  Narrating Narcos. Culiacán and Medellín (Pittsburgh University Press, 2013) is a comparative case study of the ways in which this phenomenon is lived and represented in two of the most important cities linked to the history of narcotrafficking in Mexico and Colombia.

My current research focuses on recent non-fiction works dealing with urban violence, displacement and poverty. Being a journalist has become a dangerous business in several areas of Latin America. In my new project I focus on the works of some journalists and cronistas who write about the most pressing problems that affect the region. While in my previous work I explored the representation of violence in contexts of armed conflict, political turnmoil and illegal business, in my current work I focus mainly on the affective experience of writing. I am interested on the way in which cronistas listen to the subjects of theirs stories; I want to analyze how their narrative shows the ways in which they care and respect these subjectes. The works I anazlye speak of a human bonding between subjects, authors and audiences, and portray new political horizons.

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