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- PublicationReading Transatlantically in the Era of Trump(2020-07-04)According to a comprehensive study of the year 2018 published in the journal Democratization (“State of the World 2018”), democracy is in decline around the world. A retreat in democracy implies a weakening of the conditions that make it possible; that is, a drift towards autocratic rule, a disregard for the rights and protection of minorities, the curtailment of civic freedoms such as the right to assembly and to critical dissent, and a lack of commitment to the rule of law. As the report by Lührmann et al. makes clear, this retreat has been ongoing for at least a decade—as attested to by the breadth and depth of debates and publications on the matter in recent years—and is taking place primarily, though not exclusively, in democratic regions, most notably in Eastern and Western Europe and the United States.
- PublicationOperation Chaos and the 2020 Presidential Election(PopMeC Association for US Popular Culture Studies, 2020-11-02)It would be impossible to cover all of the questions and “hot topics” of American electoral politics in a single, or a single series of, films. But films are often very effective in explaining, one or two at a time, a variety of relevant issues, from voter suppression and legal machinations to the workings of an arcane and arbitrary electoral system. Film often manages to transmit the affective implications of fundamental issues that, in the minds of those who take advantage of them, would better remain obscure. Leaving aside series and documentaries—in which the will to explain and sometimes to denounce is perhaps more straightforward— and because it would be unwise to speak generically of such a prolific genre that continues to fascinate viewers, in this piece I will focus on just a number of films that, in dealing with the “behind the scenes“ of election campaigns, draw attention to a number of issues that remain unsolved and that continue to be extremely relevant today.
- PublicationRevolución feminista y políticas de lo común frente a la extrema derecha, María Eugenia R. Palop(Universitat de Barcelona, 2020-10-28)
- PublicationReview: Andy Connolly, Philip Roth and the American Liberal Tradition(Irish Journal of American Studies, 2020-09-16)The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States in November 2016 has been a happy time for fiction. Not only because of the amount of insightful and innovative literature that is being published since his inauguration, but also because of the prominent role that fiction has been awarded in the communal effort—admittedly, mostly by the liberal sector of the American public— to make sense of the present.
- PublicationThe Comeback of Populism. Transatlantic Perspectives(Taylor & Francis, 2021-05-13)This volume addresses what is arguably one of the hottest debates in recent years – the rise of right-wing populisms across the Western world in the 21st century – while at the same time framing it through one of its most obvious, but often least understood, consequence, which is the crisis of transatlanticism.
- PublicationIntroduction: On the Meanings of 'American Reality'(Palgrave Macmillan, 2022-08-24)This chapter begins by considering the dominant affective state that came into being after the election of Trump in 2016, namely shock and disbelief, and contextualizes it through two opposed yet complementary impulses. First, it illustrates how political and cultural derealization was actively promoted by Trump himself and his administration, to then consider the liberal biases that were already implicit in the widespread perception that reality was collapsing. In the context of the emergence of two and seemingly irreconcilable American realities, ever more polarized along partisan lines, the literary world felt compelled to respond and did so publicly. This chapter considers various initiatives but focuses in particular on the insights provided by writers Aleksandar Hemon, Jan Clausen, and Viet Thanh Nguyen, who denounced the exceptionalist rhetoric that was often employed and called for a more engaged and less self-deluded American literature. It then proceeds to map the emerging corpus of ‘Trump fiction’ and existing scholarly studies, and argues that the analyses offered in American Literature in the Era of Trumpism contribute not only to the continued understanding of the landscape of American literature after 2016, but also to the long-standing scholarly tradition of decentering the notion of ‘America.’
- PublicationCompeting Fantasies and Alternative Realities: Salman Rushdie's the Golden House(Cambridge University Press, 2021-12-13)This article examines one of the earliest novels of the Trump era, Salman Rushdie's The Golden House (2017), as part of a literary corpus that felt compelled to respond to the derealization of political culture by producing fictions commensurate to the new "American reality."Spanning the years from the first inauguration of Obama to the election of Trump, the novel depicts a nation that has "left reality behind and entered the comic-book universe,"a turn to fantasy that precedes the final irruption of a wealthy vulgarian who calls himself the Joker, and who subverts any previous sense of identity and of what is "real."Drawing from the notion of national fantasy as argued by Lauren Berlant (1991), Jacqueline Rose (1996), and Donald Pease (2009), the article suggests that Rushdie's novel performs and invites a rare self-examination in the context of early literary responses to the rise of Trumpism.
- PublicationEditorial: Writing in the Pause / Escribir en el tiempo de la pausa / Escriure en el temps de la pausa(Asociación 452ºF, 2021-07-30)This editorial is not about pandemics. Or not only. After a long year, when most predictions about how society would change turned out to be wrong —or were revealed as mere wishful thinking—, if one thing has become clear it is the perennial difficulty, as Walker Kaplan noted in a recent article in LitHub (2020), of writing "about the swamp while still being waist-deep in it". Experiences of social and political unrest, trauma, or crises in the broadest sense “need time to percolate” and it is usually easier to look at them from a distance, obliquely, or with some measure of historical perspective (Power, 2020). And this applies to fiction as well as to historical, sociological or political analyses. In other words, the challenges of the last year are compounded by the difficulty of accurately diagnosing the present because, as the philosopher Patricia Manrique notes, faced with the novelty of a “crisis” the usual reflex is to interpret it within the parameters of the already known. We tend to appeal to tired tropes and dull meanings, for example our understanding of “time” and “crisis”, in our attempt to name that which does not yet have a name. In these brief introductory notes, I turn to these three concepts —contemporaneity, crisis, time— as a means of providing a framework for approaching the eight articles that make up this monographic dossier. In their examination of literary texts that traverse the long twentieth century and reach into the twenty-first, they span almost a century, from Virginia Woolf’s first modernist novel, published in 1922, to works published as recently as 2019.