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Francesca Dennstedt works in the area of gender and queer theory in contemporary Latin America literature with a focus in Mexico. Her work engages with questions of queer temporality, canon formation, and the nation through critical readings of contemporary Mexican women’s cultural production. In her doctoral dissertation, “Feeling Temporal Displacements: A Reparative Criticism through Women’s Cuir Cultural Production,” she identifies cuir moments scattered through time that use negative feelings to unmake heteropatriarchal formations and have the potential to reorient us to empathetic ways of doing cultural criticism. Throughout a diverse corpus that ranges from the analysis of literature to visual culture and fashion, from a Brazilian graphic novel to latinx poetry, she shows how the cultural production of these women operates as means of challenging normative temporalities, nationhood, and the intellectual sphere. Overall, through a dialogue with queer of color critique, transfeminism and decolonial practices, she innovates the way in which literature, feminism and queer theory have been linked in Mexican studies. Ultimately, her dissertation questions the usefulness of queerness as a lens of analysis in spaces marked by coloniality, instead proposing “cuir” as an affective category of cultural analysis that is always local, relational, and temporal.
My research explores the intersections between twentieth and twenty-first century Iberian cultural production and Translation Studies. My methodology is comparative in nature, across regional autonomous communities within Spain, as well as across the Atlantic, incorporating networks of Spanish exiles in Mexico. In my teaching and research, I apply a transnational and translational lens to the study of narrative, poetry, and film, with a particular focus on questions of multilingualism, un/originality, mobility, and world literature.
My dissertation, titled “Iberian Babel: Spain’s Translational Literatures, 1939-2018” traces how “original” (that is, not-translated) literature performs, stages, or makes visible acts of translation from the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War to the recent Catalan independence movement. I examine four main translational strategies deployed throughout critical historical junctures: pseudotranslation (texts that are deliberately, falsely presented as translations), utilized both in exile and domestically during Franco’s dictatorship; re-writings of canonical works of “world literature” within local Catalan contexts during Spain’s transition to democracy; self-translation, and multilingual literature amidst early twenty-first century economic and regional crises. My project reveals how translation is a central tool for negotiating memory and exile, tradition and modernization, region and nation, and self and other, in moments of crisis, rupture, and transition. An article inspired by the research carried out for the first chapter, centered on the relationship between pseudotranslation and exile in the work of Max Aub, is forthcoming from Hispania in December 2019. One of the primary contributions of my project is to work toward filling the lacuna of work on Translation Studies within the field of Hispanic Studies, but moving multi-directionally, also expanding these discussions in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies by offsetting their predominantly Anglophone corpuses, in turn broadening our understanding of the possibilities of the act of translation beyond interlingual exchange.