FOLA 4931 | Mr. Abel Arango
TTh from 3:30 to 4:45pm.
Images of dispossession and homelessness are central in a corpus of novels that spans from the 1990s until today. Second-generation Central American novelists linger on questions of displacement as the characters in these narratives repeatedly find themselves without a permanent home or community. Together these works offer us a new way of understanding Central Americans’ liminality by serving as a site that details the tensions around who is permitted to enter and occupy everyday living spaces, and by extension, the nation-state. Discouraged to settle in their countries of origin and denied citizenship in the U.S., Central American populations are de-legitimized and rendered stateless. Against these conditions, we will explore homelessness as a counter-discourse that challenges and disrupts an outdated nation-state system that is grounded in regimes of nationality and citizenship. These novels have a subversive aim as they dismantle and generate alternative understandings of national belonging built upon the lines of territory, language and race. Instead we will take a transnational approach that suggests the nation-state is far from complete, given that the subjects in these novels redraw territorial lines, frustrate fixed nationalities, develop new subjectivities and ultimately claim a sense of place. The works we will cover include Héctor Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier (1996), Francisco Goldman’s The Ordinary Seaman (1997), Marcos McPeek Villatoro’s Romilia Chacón detective series (2001-2012) and Tanya Maria Barrientos’ Frontera Street (2002). Note: Only a few secondary sources will be in Spanish.