Assistant Professor in American studies and Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean studies.
Publications & Works in Progress
"Interrogative Justice in Héctor Tobar's The Tattooed Soldier."
Modern Fiction Studies, Spring 2018
This essay recenters interpretation of Héctor Tobar's novel The Tattooed Soldier around the question of justice. Rather than take the novel's revenge narrative at face value and accept vengeance as the only imaginable form of justice for socialized state terror in Guatemala, I look to the extant political practices of Central American immigrants in Los Angeles (the city where the novel is set) to guide my analysis of the novel inclusive and utopic imaginaries of justice.
"Counterinsurgency's Ambivalent Enterprise"
Forthcoming, Theory & Event 2019.
This essay examines U.S. counterinsurgency theory and manuals used to train Central American militaries in the 1980s and 90s. Here I use affect theory to describe counterinsurgency's intellectual debts to the history and theory of revolutionary struggle. I argue that military intellectuals through the 1980s and 90s bore both an affective and epistemological ambivalence to ideas of revolution.
My current book project explores how thwarted ambitions for revolution in Central America give rise to ambivalent, outraged, cynical, and mournful affects for novelists, intellectuals, immigrants, and military technocrats living in the U.S. Out of these experiences of defeat and political disappointment, American intellectuals retreat into questions about the viability and legitimacy of state power. In "States of Defeat: U.S. Imaginaries of Central America," I argue that by deploying a mode of analysis that is speculative about the future and discouraged by the past, at once, these texts prefigure later war-on-terror era anxieties about state failure, the rise of non-governmental organizational forms, and raison d'etat secrecy and securitization.
A review of Fernando Ignacio Leiva's (2008) Latin American Neostructuralism: The Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development.
Reviews in Cultural Theory. January 2011
Courses from Dickinson College and Carnegie Mellon University
Latinx Popular Culture
Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018
This course builds students' skills in analyzing representation of Latinas/os/xs in a variety of different genres – music, film, sports, and television – for what they tell us about race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and language. We ask questions particularly at how Latinas/os negotiate mainstream media representations and create new forms of culture expression. Exploring how Latinas/os produce media representations that defy both narrow understandings of latinidad as well as dominant U.S. culture, class discussion will explore how identity is produced and contested through popular culture.
Through literature and film this course examines culture that either portrays awkwardess, depression, irritation, disgust, and/or develops an aesthetic practice that might induce such feelings in its readers and audiences. Through this course students will develop a critical approach to affective cultures and consider what kinds of social structures institute and naturalize certain emotional states, but disallow others.
Introduction to American Studies
This course offers entry points into the field of American Studies through historical documents, media, literary works, and selections from scholarly monographs. We offer various methodological approaches to some of the major turning points in American history: colonization, the Civil War, the origins of mass culture, the Vietnam War, the global economic downturn of the 1970s, and covert wars. Our guiding proposition is to examine American society in moments of extreme flux on the thought that these are times when both groups and individuals were engaged in active reexaminations of our experiment in democracy. At the same time, we will use photographs, films, music, visual art, and literary fiction to think about how creators and creative work respond to and shape both the turning points themselves, and how we now remember those turning points and their significance.
Eric Vázquez was born in México City and moved to the United States at the age of 6. He grew up in the suburban Midwest absent a strong Mexican immigrant or Chicana/o Community, under significant pressures to assimilate, and in an Anglo / Mexican bicultural family. The transit between these distinct experiences has shaped his scholarship.
He is an assistant professor in the American studies department and a contributor to the Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean studies program and the English Department at Dickinson College. He received support from the Ford Foundation Dissertation. His PhD is in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dickinson Faculty Roundtable on the 2016 elections
Brown Bag Faculty Lecture, Dickinson C, 2017.