I teach contemporary Caribbean literature and art at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I currently direct the UW Center for Visual Cultures. I am currently working on two book projects: one on community and moral philosophy tentatively entitled The Problem with Community: Evil and the Caribbean Novel, and the other on the spectral and the senses in contemporary Caribbean art.

My first book Vulnerable States: Bodies of Memory in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction (The University of Virginia Press, 2007) studies the metaphorical power of the vulnerable body within what Edouard Glissant calls “the Poetics of Relation.” It discusses illness, gender, childhood, detection and abjection in works by Patrick Chamoiseau, Jamaica Kincaid, Severo Sarduy, Michelle Cliff, Maryse Condé, Magali García Ramis, Giselle Pineau and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez.

My second book Community and Culture in Post-Soviet Cuba (Routledge, 2014) analyzes contemporary literature and art in Cuba from the point of view of sociality and postmodern ethics. I analyze contemporary literature and art produced in Cuba since 1991, and attribute the extraordinary survival of the Cuban Revolution to a social contract based on deeply ingrained notions of gender, community, and ethics. I study novels by Leonardo Padura, Jesús Díaz, Abel Prieto, Ena Lucía Portela, Abilio Estévez, Antonio José Ponte, Guillermo Rosales, and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez; art by Carlos Garaicoa, René Peña, Abigail González, and Angel Delgado.

I am the curator of an exhibit called Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today (Chazen Museum of Art, March 6-June21, 2015). It includes photography-based installations, digital photomontage, and “intervened photography” by eight contemporary Cuban artists. The exhibition reflects on the technological, philosophical and aesthetic changes that affect photography today, and explores the way our contemporary experience of the medium allows for creative ways to understand or envision alternative Cuban realities.

I have served as guest editor for the Spanish Comparative Literature journal 1616 for a special issue on World Literature from the perspective of Latin American literature, and co-editor with Vicky Unruh (University of Kansas) of a special issue of Contracorriente dedicated to Post-Detection Padura.

I am co-editor with Ursula Heise from UCLA of the Routledge series Literature and Contemporary Thought. I have also published articles in The Latin American Literary Review, The Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, The Hispanic Review, The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, among others.
PhD, Columbia University, 2001
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Cuban literature and photography, Caribbean comparative literature and visual culture. Caribbean theory. Moral philosophy. Sociological approaches to art and literature.
Personal Interests
Literature. Photography. Travel. Swimming.