The Enlgish Department Lecture Series is pleased to welcome Kirsten Silva Gruesz of UC Santa Cruz.
BA Swarthmore; PhD Yale. Kirsten Silva Gruesz is interested in the changing conditions of literary production and reception: who gets to say what’s good, or what’s worth remembering? What languages and linguistic registers have social power, and who gets access to them? These are the questions she asks about English- and Spanish-language materials from across the Americas, from the seventeenth century to the present. The mid-nineteenth century, on the one hand, and the post-NAFTA era, on the other, are the key periods for her research. She also writes about and teaches contemporary works by U.S. Latinas and Latinos, whose experiences are deeply rooted in the entangled histories of colonization and racism that link the U.S. to Mexico and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, with particular force. She is active in research clusters and initiatives both on campus and elsewhere: for example, in 2017 she co-directed a Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in America at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts titled “Other Languages, Other Americas.” In these and other professional contexts, she spreads the gospel of comparative and multilingual approaches to “American” literature and history.