Why CGU? California was a big draw—I grew up in the Bay Area and have always
thought of California as my “tierra natal”—my homeland. I was also excited by
CGU’s small scale paired with its cooperative arrangements with the Colleges.
Teaches: My “specialty” in literary and cultural studies is itself a broad, transnational
and transdisciplinary field—Hemispheric Americas Studies, which is a
comparative analysis of US and Latin American culture and history that shows
how those regions’ histories have been intertwined.
Teaching style: I try to be as transparent as possible. As an undergraduate I felt in
awe of my professors and never thought I could possibly aspire to be one. Part of
the reason was I respected intellectual life so much, but part of that was because
some of my professors tried to wow us with the mystique of their knowledge. I try
to demystify what I do. That involves explaining where my analytical moves come
from. I also lean more heavily toward discussions than toward lectures. Students
learn more when they have the opportunity to test their ideas in conversations.
Research: I am working on a translation and critical edition of El Sol de Jesús
del Monte, a Cuban antislavery novel written in 1852 by Andrés Avelino de
Orihuela, an immigrant to Cuba from the Canary Islands. I am also working
on a comparative analysis of representations of slave rebellion in Cuba and the
United States, a book called Blazing at Midnight: Slave Rebellion and Social
Identity in Cuban and U.S. Culture.
Inspiration: The 99%. The Nation magazine. “War Is Over (If You Want It).”
Universal and free health care. The documentary Inside Job (2010), which explains
the reasons for the current “Great Recession” and exposes the complicity
of certain scholars in the field of economics with the economic meltdown. Immigrants
also inspire me. Watch the film Sin Nombre, and you’ll never be the same.
Interests outside his field: Cycling. I ride my bike to work whenever I can. I am
also a student of capoeira, which is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that takes years
to learn. I am also quite smitten with playing the guitar. I am a rank amateur, but
learning the instrument is helping me to adopt an entirely new perspective on