B.A., Swarthmore College; M.A., Pennsylvania State University; M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University
Founders Hall 101
Octavio R. GonzálezAssistant Professor of English
Queer literary studies, including representations of HIV/AIDS; transatlantic Modernism, including the Harlem Renaissance; and the 20C Novel.
I am currently working on my book manuscript, tentatively titled "Misfit Minorities, Modernist Misfits: Resisting Uplift in the Twentieth-Century Novel," which focuses on novels by "modernist misfits," or modernist writers relatively "minor" compared to canonical Modernism. These modernists converge on a narrative figure that I call the "misfit minority," a figure of double exile who feels estranged from their cultural heritage as well as from majority culture. This double exile is registered as resistance to bourgeois norms of sexual and social respectability, and resistance to "uplift," or the onward march toward assimilation.
An essay based on a chapter of "Misfit Modernists" recently appeared in Modern Fiction Studies (Winter 2013), called "Isherwood's Impersonality." There I focus on the anti-political, self-abnegating queer ethos of impersonality in the fiction of Christopher Isherwood, which is at odds with his political advocacy for gay rights in the latter part of the 20th C.
My other modernist research and teaching focuses on the novel and narrative form in the transatlantic tradition, especially the queer modernist tradition, with a deepening interest in U.S. literature, including the Harlem Renaissance,
My work in contemporary queer studies focuses on the politics of representation of HIV/AIDS and queer subcultures of sexual risk. This past spring, I was invited to present my current work on HIV/AIDS at UC-Berkeley, as part of a symposium on popular culture and public health, and at the New England Americanist Colloquium at Harvard. Also along these lines, I am presenting on the "ACT UP-Boston Archive" at the Modern Language Association annual convention, in January 2016, in Austin.
I am also at work on a "digital humanities" scholarly project, on the speculative novel Never Let Me Go by contemporary writer Kazuo Ishiguro, which looks at the novel through an innovative "distant reading" methodology -- the use of block quotations in scholarly and popular reception -- to analyze the analytical procedures of "close reading" that inform contemporary literary criticism.
My first poetry collection, The Book of Ours, appeared in 2009 from Momotombo Press, in the Letras Latinas series from the University of Notre Dame. I was invited to give a reading on this material and works in progress, at Wellesley's Zeta Alpha Literary Society in October 2015.