Research Interests
Early Modern Spanish and colonial and contemporary Latin American Cultural Studies (with a focus on Central America); Border Studies; Visual Culture; Gender Studies; Social theory; Multiliteracies approaches to the teaching of Spanish at all levels; learning assemblage design.
Research In Area of specialization
My areas of research specialization are Early Modern Spanish and Colonial Latin American literature, history, and culture, with particular focus on early modern theories of war, state violence, gender, and surveillance. I have published articles on those subjects in numerous journals, including Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Hispanic Review, The Sixteenth Century Journal, and Bulletin of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
CURRENT research In Area of specialization
I am turning my attention to Central American studies, from the vantage point of my prior work as an early modernist and colonialist. This is not an all together new direction for me: it reconnects with my early graduate study of Central American history, in which I studied the question of how state-organized violence informs subject formation, particularly gendered identities. 
My research in recent years has concentrated on the cultures of war in sixteenth century Spain. Through my work on military literature, I’ve  shown how military culture was productive of gendered subjects. I identified two subjectification processes through which masculine identities were reproduced: (1) the regime of morality (of martial virtue), and (2) surveillance systems of subjectification that operated in military social spaces. 
Among the insights that I bring to my future work is a recognition of the role of non-human actors/actants. Working with assemblage theory has allowed me to apprehend and describe how the formations of social entities (particularly, military institutions) emerge from the complex interactions of modular, non-discrete components that are themselves products of historical processes (e.g., local know-how, human decision making, inter-cultural exchanges, intellectual interactions, technologies, resource retrieval, and population dynamics of people and animals). 
The perspective I derived from working with assemblage theory in my study of organized violence has contributed to my realization of the need for a methodology that does not appeal to the notions of “the social,” “social force,” or “context” as a source of explanation, but which instead strives to map the human and non-human entanglements (what Bruno Latour calls dissagregation and agency redistribution) through which asymmetrical relations morph and endure.  
Drawing on assemblage theory, Latour’s actor network theory, and Jane Bennett’s vital materialist theory of distributive agency (which puts the agentic capacities of the non-human—e.g., viruses, pests, knowledge instruments, etc.—on par with human agency), I am pursing a study of Spanish and European interactions in Central America that brings non-human actants (e.g., viruses, air, water, etc.) into the foreground. This entails examining interactions among human actors (indigenous peoples, European migrants, and multi-ethnic peoples) and non-human ones (epidemics, extinction of flora and fauna, and natural disasters like earthquakes) in Central America, particularly in Guatemala, from 1519 to 1840.
The chosen temporal demarcation takes Cortés’ 1519 expedition to the Yucatan as its starting point and ends with the aftermath of the 1837 cholera outbreak in the early post-independence period. The latter year also marks a period of opposition by indigenous peoples to Guatemala’s first liberal regime, which had sought to put an end to the influence of the Church and to the division in governance between the República de Indios and the República de Españoles.  
My project contributes to the broader field of catastrophe studies by inquiring into how Mayan views of history (and time) as both cyclical and apocalyptic interacted with various Christian understandings of apocalypticism and millennialism (Franciscan, Lascasian, Jesuit, official millennialist, and so on). The project investigates the syncretic practices (e.g., divinatory rituals, processions, forms of healing and of policing, etc.) emerging from interactions among multicultural populations and non-human actants (e.g., viruses, mountains, trees, spiritual beliefs, and sacrificial sites [cenotes]) to inquire into the imaginaries of apocalypse. My work engages with the research of the Käte Hamburger Centre for Apocalyptic Studies.
A future direction for the project would include a comparative study of Guatemala’s colonial and post-independence responses to various epidemics and contemporary responses to COVID-19 in relation to other catastrophes, such as the collapse of state institutions and the proliferation of rhizomatic transnational drug cartels that operate through maras (gangs). Further research into the coping strategies of Guatemala’s Mayan populations in the midst of ecological devastation in the present would reflect a broader, long-term focus on surveying models of post-apocalyptic experiences and reactions.
Research on pedagogy
I approach the teaching of Spanish language and culture from the humanistic perspective of a teacher-scholar who combines the teaching of communicative competence with critical thinking. Thus, I view foreign language learning as continuous with, and integral to, a liberal arts education.
That perspective informs not only my teaching, but my current research in the field of foreign language pedagogy. I have underway an essay on social pedagogy in foreign language teaching that is based on my successful experiential learning project, the Young Authors and Illustrators Project. I shall also publish a paper that builds on my presentation at the 2021 Modern Language Association; the paper draws on assemblage theory and new materialism to reconceptualize the social space of foreign language learning. Most recently, I organized a panel for the upcoming MLA in Washington D.C., called: Critical Engagement in Language Pedagogy (forthcoming January 2022). The panel is among the sessions of the conference Presidential theme, which is Multilingual US. (Also see Public Presentations on Pedagogy.)  
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals
“The Social Spaces of Surveillance in Early Modern Spanish Military Architecture.” Spanish Journal of Cultural Studies. 21.2 (2020): 149-169
“Deploying the Classics: Military Humanism and Social Mobility in Spanish Military Manuals.” The Sixteenth Century Journal. 46.3 (2015): 603-623
“Early Modern Expressions of Nationhood in French and Dutch Translations of Bartolomé de Las Casas’ Brevísima relación.” Traversea. 4 (2014): 34-41 (N. Faber, student co-author)
“Masculinity, War, and Pursuit of Glory in Sepúlveda’s Gonzalo.” Hispanic Review. 80.3 (2012): 391-412
“Contesting the Word: The Crown and the Printing Press in Colonial Spanish America.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 89.4 (2012): 575-596. (Special Issue: Exploring the Print World of Early-Modern Iberia, ed. Alexander S. Wilkinson)
“Myth and Prophecy in Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda’s Crusading ‘Exhortación.’” Bulletin of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. 35.1 (12/2010): 48-68
“(En)gendering Ethnicity: The Economy of Female Virginity in Guatemala,” in Radical Philosophy Review 2.2: 1999
Invited Articles
“Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation. Ed. Margaret King, New York: Oxford University Press, 09/2016
Invited Book Review
Los De fato et libero arbitrio libri tres de Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Joaquín J. Sánchez Gázquez. Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique 3-4: 2016
Book Chapter
“(En)gendering Ethnicity: The Economy of Female Virginity in Guatemala,” Philosophy and Everyday Life. Ed. Laura Duhan Kaplan. New York: Seven Bridges Press, 2002
Online Publications
“Response to Friendship, Kinship, and the Law - in the Mediterranean.” Iberian Connections 7, no.3 (2021): https://iberian-connections.yale.edu/articles/response-najera/
“Gilles Deleuze: Coldness and Cruelty.” Iberian Connections, Workshop. https://iberian-connections.yale.edu/workshop/gilles-deleuze/​​​​​​​
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