Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies, Lewis & Clark College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2010
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Area and Cultural Studies, University of California / Davis
A Tianguis of Books, or Making Books Public: Networks of Encuentro in a ‘Continent in Movement’

My dissertation research investigates how Latin American collective-presses make and distribute books. I use the term “collective-press” to refer to alternative, independent, copyleft, non-profit presses that function as grassroots organizations. I examine how both the collective-presses and their books contribute to the formation of regional networks of ideas, experiences, projects, activists, writers, publishers, and readers that—in an unprecedented fashion—informally connects Latin America from Tijuana to Patagonia. Using ethnographic methods, I focus on presses in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and Peru, to examine how the books they produce contribute to the emergent political terrain and to the circulation of knowledge and political theory developed in Latin America. In analyzing the various aspects of the material production and circulation of the books, I examine how the books produced by the collective-presses are multiple in the sense that they may produce heterogeneous reading publics, reflect varied political impacts, and generate diverse intellectual influences. In this sense, I interrogate how the books produced by the collective-presses might reflect a fracturing of the dynamics of the “lettered city” through: 1. their unconventional modes of production; 2. their diverse sites of production; and 3. their informal and alternative modes of circulation. In focusing on the production and circulation practices of collective-presses across the continent, I seek to examine the material and political form of the book in order to explore how their practices are “making books public” through the expansion of the diversity of actors that come to be related with and by the books. How is authorship expanding through collective writing and the generation of new encounters within the books? How is circulation and signification expanding through the re-publication of different local editions of common texts? How is access and readership expanding through the promotion of copyleft and creative commons? In exploring these questions, I am examining how the book—in the ways it forms relations— functions to enable the emergence of networks that make up the what activist-writer Raúl Zibechi calls the “continent in movement.”