Campus Box 1077
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
William Acree received his BA from Berry College and his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research in the fields of Latin American literary and culture studies has a strong historical focus centering on the late colonial period and the nineteenth century. A good example of this approach can be found in his first book, Everyday Reading: Print Culture and Collective Identity in the Río de la Plata (1780-1910) (Vanderbilt University Press, 2011), a cultural history of the development of print culture throughout the nineteenth century in Latin America’s most literate countries—Uruguay and Argentina. Related areas of interest include themes of war and writing, the sociology of reading, and popular and material culture throughout the 1800s.
Acree’s proclivity for getting dirty tracking down sources in dusty archives or in old ranch houses, and his interest in the quotidian and the lasting impact of what are often ephemeral cultural products, inform his research for a book on the Creole circus in parts of southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Just what was this “creole” circus? Traveling performers put on short plays at circus shows (usually consisting of acrobatic tricks and music) in the countryside, small towns, and later port capitals. Almost as soon as they began, this popular theater with native-son characters became the main attaction of the circus, and the most popular form of entertainment in the late 1800s.
Representative publications include the co-edited volumes Building Nineteenth-Century Latin America: Re-rooted Cultures, Identities, and Nations (Vanderbilt University Press, 2009), and Jacinto Ventura de Molina: los caminos de la escritura negra en el Río de la Plata (2nd rev. ed. Iberoamericana / Vervuert, 2010), as well as “Jacinto Ventura de Molina: A Black Letrado in a White World of Letters, 1766-1841” (Latin American Research Review), “Luis Pérez, A Man of His Word in 1830s Buenos Aires and the Case for Popular Literature” (Bulletin of Spanish Studies, “‘El primer negro de el mundo en la carrera de las letras’: Raza, revolución y el vocero de la ‘república nigro-literaria’ en el Río de la Plata” (Afro-Hispanic Review) and articles in Latin American Theatre Review and Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. His research has been supported by a J. William Fulbright Scholar award, a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship, and grants from the Mellon and Tinker Foundations.
At Washington University in St. Louis his classes include surveys on Spanish American literature, seminars on nineteenth-century Latin America and popular literary culture, part of “The Argentine Experience” FOCUS course, and a research writing and methodology practicum. He is particularly interested in the writing process and working with students to cultivate strong reading and writing skills. Previously Acree taught Latin American literature at San Diego State University.