Jennifer Harford Vargas

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Jennifer Harford Vargas

Assistant Professor of English
Bryn Mawr College

Jennifer Harford Vargas is an Assistant Professor of English at Bryn Mawr College.  Her research and teaching interests include Latina/o cultural production, trans-American studies, theories of the novel, undocumented migrant narratives, and testimonio forms in the Americas. She is the co-editor of Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination with José David Saldívar and Monica Hanna, which is forthcoming with Duke University Press.  Her work has appeared in MELUS, Callaloo, and Colonialism, Modernity, and the Study of Literature: A View from India.

The Spectrum of Dictatorial Power in the Latina/o Imaginary

This project examines representations of dictatorship in contemporary novels by Latina/o writers to claim that these novels sketch out a complex spectrum of dictatorial power by exposing the links between authoritarianism, racism, and imperialism in the Americas. While race in the U.S. is constructed along the black-white binary and race in Latin America is constructed along a color continuum, the novels it examines use brownness as an in-between racial formation that challenges the dictatorship of white supremacy. It analyzes how these novels represent the specter of Latin American dictatorships in present day Latino communities alongside the oppressions that haunt people of color in the United States. The novels thus shift our politics of perception vis-à-vis dictatorship and interrogate intersectional modes of power that dictate marginalization.