Book Discussion: Jean Franco’s “Cruel Modernity “

UntitledJoin Professors Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Chris GoGwilt, and Cynthia Vich in a discussion with acclaimed author and cultural critic Jean Franco on her latest book Cruel Modernity (Duke UP, 2013). The discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 2, from 5:00-7:00pm in Rm. 430BC, Fordham Law School (140 West 62nd Street) in New York. A reception and book signing will follow.

This discussion is co-sponsored by the departments of Modern Languages and Literatures and English, the programs in Latin American and Latino Studies, Comparative Literature, Peace and Justice Studies, American Studies and Women’s Studies, and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Fordham School of Law.

Description: In Cruel Modernity, Jean Franco, the acclaimed Latin American literary and cultural critic, examines the way cruelty in its various forms—genocide, torture, disappearance, and rape—has become during the modern period the instrument of armies, governments, rebels, and rogue groups throughout the Americas. Drawing on a wealth of testimonial archives, state, police, and human rights commission reports, literary accounts, art and film, Prof. Franco shows how these cruel practices, which have fostered an extreme form of masculinity whose unspeakable brutality has been exercised mainly against indigenous populations and women, have become institutionalized and normalized in the Americas for the purposes of creating what its perpetrators perceive as modern societies. [Some sections of the book include discussion on Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the work of Edwidge Danticat, among other topics related to the Caribbean.]

Jean Franco is Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a former president of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). She is the author of numerous books, including The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America in the Cold War (Harvard UP, 2002) and Critical Passions (Duke UP, 1999).

Prof. GoGwilt is author of The Passage of Literature: Genealogies of Modernism in Conrad, Rhys, and Pramoedya; Prof. Vich has written extensively on Peruvian indigenista movements and on violence in literature and film; and Prof. Cruz-Malavé writes on gender and sexuality in Caribbean and Latino literatures.

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