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Lecture Series: Border Temporalities. Doing Literature in a World of Walls |Efraín Kristal: Carlos Fuentes’ US-Mexican Border - a Line, a Frontier, and a Wound

Jul 12, 2023 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Organised by Susanne Klengel, project "Border Temporalities and/in Literature" Research Area 1: "Competing Communities". In cooperation with the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation. This event is part of the lecture series “Border Temporalities. Doing Literature in a World of Walls”.

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Efraín Kristal, University of Californa, Los Angeles (UCLA) / Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation.

In this lecture I’ll explore the vicissitudes of the US-Mexican Border in Fuentes’ narrative fiction, giving pride of place to La frontera de cristal, arguably Fuentes’ most in-depth literary exploration of the Mexican Border in a work of narrative fiction. That being said, La frontera de cristal is hardly a summa of Fuentes’ literary engagements with the US-Mexico border, as he has rehearsed various ways of approaching the border through fictional means. I’ll therefore discuss La frontera de cristal in the context of several other novels by Fuentes in which the border is prominently featured. In the process I’ll offer nods to some of the metaphors Fuentes has mobilized to refer to the Border: a line that can be moved or expanded into a larger entity, in novels such as Cristobal Nonato; a physical or psychological frontier that irrevocably transforms the lives of individuals and communities on either side of the border, such as in La region más transparente; or a wound that defines the geopolitical relationship between the two nations, as in Gringo Viejo. The lecture will also address how the temporal experiences of Fuentes’ characters are informed by the spaces they inhabit when their lives are intertwined with the vicissitudes of the border.

Efraín Kristal specializes in Latin American literature in comparative contexts, and in translation studies. He is Distinguished Professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), an honorary professor at the Universidad del Pacífico (UP) in his native Peru, a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and was a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He was visiting Professor at several institutions including Princeton University, Sciences Po (Paris), and the University of Göttingen. He studied comparative literature at UC-Berkeley, philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm) in Paris, and received a PhD in Spanish literature from Stanford University. He has published over one hundred articles, and edited several volumes including The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel. His most recent books are Tentación de la palabra. Convicción política y arte literario en las novelas de Mario Vargas Llosa (2018) and Querencias. Guerra, traducción y filosofía en Jorge Luis Borges (2022).

The event will be held in English.

Time & Location

Jul 12, 2023 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut
Raum 201
Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
14197 Berlin

Further Information

For questions, please contact Prof. Dr. Susanne Klengel (klengel@zedat.fu-berlin.de) or Marcela Osses (marcela.osses@fu-berlin.de).