Esther Whitfield

Esther Whitfield

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies
Phone: +1 401 863 3277
Esther_Whitfield@brown.edu

My work focuses on war metaphors in Latin American political speech, literature and the arts; and on Welsh writing in the Americas. I have also worked extensively on Cuban culture of the post-Soviet period and on contemporary Latin American and Caribbean literature more broadly.

Biography:

Esther Whitfield grew up in Cardiff, Wales. She received a B.A. in Modern Languages from Oxford University in 1994 and a Ph. D. in Romance Languages & Literatures from Harvard University in 2001. She taught for a year as a lecturer in Harvard's Program in History and Literature before joining the faculty of Brown's Department of Comparative Literature in 2002.  As of Fall 2013 she has a second appointment in the Department of Hispanic Studies.

Teaching:

Whitfield teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Latin American, Caribbean and European literature.

Research:

Her current research project is titled "War and Metaphor in the Americas."  It analyzes uses of "war" in Latin American political speech, literature and the arts since the mid-twentieth century, with specific reference to the militarization of social policy in Cuba, Guantánamo Bay and the "War on Terror," the "Dirty War" in Argentina and Mexico's ongoing drug wars.  A second ongoing project, from which she has published several articles, is "Remembering the Welsh of Patagonia." It addresses recent representations of nineteenth-century Welsh emigration to Patagonia, Argentina, and the intersections of these with debates on nationalism, language rights and ethnic studies in both Wales and Argentina.

Her first book, Cuban Currency: The Dollar and 'Special Period' Fiction (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), explores how the emergence of export markets for Cuban culture is inscribed in contemporary fiction.  She is co-editor, with Anke Birkenmaier, of Havana Beyond the Ruins (Duke University Press, 2011), a collection of essays on post-1989 Havana; and, with Jacqueline Loss, of an anthology of Cuban short fiction in translation, New Short Fiction from Cuba (Northwestern University Press, 2007). She wrote a critical introduction to Antonio José Ponte's Un arte de hacer ruinas (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005) and has published a number of journal articles and book chapters on contemporary Latin American fiction and the literary and cultural expression of Welsh emigrants to Patagonia.