Digital Map and Index of the Literature of Conflict 1914-2014
Based on the collaborative work in my "A Century at War: The Literature of Conflict 1914-2014," along with students I am creating a digital map that indexes war literature during the period beginning with WWI and ending with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This map will visualize the sites of conflict as well as the literary output of soldiers and civilians in relation to wars of U.S. involvement during the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Border Wars: Spatiality and the Representation of Violence in Contemporary Transnational Literature.
Building on research conducted for my classes on transnational literature and diaspora, this volume will address how contemporary transnational authors use a range of strategies to represent violence as implicitly linked to the borders they traverse. Drawing from the work of Julie Otsuka, Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and others, I seek to expose how structural inequities between countries demands representations of violence that acknowledge borders and boundaries as constitutive of that violence. The entry below is an abstract for a chapter of this work.
"Disposable Places for Disposable People: Spatiality in Junot Díaz’s 'Monstro'"
Junot Díaz’s “Monstro,” published in the first-ever Science Fiction special issue of The New Yorker, recounts the lives of several privileged Dominican-Americans visiting the Dominican Republic alongside of a description of the epidemiological pathway of an outbreak of an unknown disease across the border in Haiti. The island of Hispaniola has long been a study in extremes; the developed, economically savvy, and fertile Dominican Republic occupies the eastern half of the island, while poor, divested Haiti occupies the western shores. The unnamed narrator attends Brown University, but has come to the Dominican Republic for the summer with the excuse that he would help care for his ailing mother. He decides to extend his stay to hang out with his wealthy friend Alex and to woo a young woman named Mysty. This narrative of clichéd privilege is woven among passages describing the spread of the illness in relocation camps across the border in Haiti, where the landscape stands in stark contrast to the metropolis in which the narrator and his friends while away their time partying. “Monstro” is an attempt to grapple with Haiti’s infrastructural failings on a local, national, and international level in order to expose the extent to which the license to ignore suffering is only temporary. Rather than presenting a tale of selfless heroism in the face of a humanitarian crisis, Díaz offers us a narrator retrospectively aware of his own flaws and failings as a method of highlighting the reader’s complicity in distant suffering. By linking the fear of illness, blindness to a potential threat, climate change, and structural inequities, “Monstro” maps the network of affective and material denials that presage global disaster.
These Apparent Prodigies: Poems
A collection of poetry negotiating a childhood spent in an economically depressed area of Cincinnati, a complex relationship with a father, and the waning days of a love story.