Conversations with Cal Poly Authors presents:
Transnational Narratives from the Caribbean: Diasporic Literature and the Human Experience
Dr. Elvira Pulitano, Professor, Ethnic Studies Department
in conversation with
Dr. Karen Muñoz-Christiam, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures Department
Elvira Pulitano, professor in Ethnic Studies, and Karen Muñoz-Christian, associate professor of Spanish, will discuss Pulitano’s book, Transnational Narratives from the Caribbean: Diasporic Literature and the Human Experience, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday February 17th. There will be time for audience questions and light refreshments will be served.
Dr. Pulitano’s book, published by Routledge in 2016, offers a timely window on issues of diasporic identity by affirming the importance of narrative as a discursive mode to understand the human face of contemporary migrations. She explores the work of four well-known writers currently living in the United States: Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, Edwidge Danticat, and Caryl Phillips. Contesting restrictive, national, and linguistic boundaries when discussing literature originating from the Caribbean, Pulitano situates the transnational location of Caribbean-born writers within current debates of Transnational American Studies and investigates the role of immigrant writers in discourses of race, ethnicity, citizenship, and belonging.
In addition to Caribbean studies, Dr. Pulitano’s research and teaching interests include theories of race, ethnicity, migration, and human rights discourse. A Fulbright scholar from Italy, Dr. Pulitano holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of New Mexico where she specialized in Native American literatures and postcolonial studies. Prior to her appointment at Cal Poly, she taught in Switzerland at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne.
Dr. Pulitano’s conversational partner will be Dr. Karen Muñoz-Christian of Cal Poly’s Modern Languages and Literatures Department. Dr. Muñoz-Christian was awarded Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015-16 and in addition to teaching Spanish language with passion she specializes in contemporary fiction of the Spanish Caribbean. Her particular focus is on novelists in Cuba during the “special period,” an era of searing scarcity commonly seen as beginning with the dissolution of the Soviet Union after 1989. Her article on Ena Lucía Portela’s “Cien botellas en una pared” recently appeared in the International Journal of Cuban Studies. Dr. Muñoz-Christian enthusiastically strives to connect literature to lived experience and contemporary events in the world, and will do no less for the audience as Dr. Pulitano’s conversational partner. The diverse disciplinary expertise these two bring to this conversation is sure to open fascinating windows via literature onto the inexorable nexus of personal experience and political and national identity.
This public dialog is part of the Conversations with Cal Poly Authors series at Kennedy Library. Listen to podcasts of past conversations on SoundCloud.