Raúl Coronado is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. His teaching and research interests are in Latina/o literary and intellectual history, from the colonial period to the 1940s. In a sense, this field and period allow—indeed force—us to rethink the literature of the Americas in a transnational, hemispheric framework. That is, Latina/o literature has usually been described as a twentieth-century phenomenon, emerging for the most part during the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and 70s. Yet a return to the literary-historical archive reveals a quite different genealogy. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Spanish Americans—including Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, and Colombians—sought refuge in the U.S. and used the printing press, especially in Philadelphia, Charlottesville, and New Orleans, to foment support for the independence of their Spanish American countries. Likewise, during the first half of the nineteenth century, the printing press arrived across what is today the U.S. Southwest and gave birth to a vibrant and often belligerent print culture. It was through these published texts that ideas associated with modernity were, for the first time, debated and developed in print among Latinas/os, ideas such as representative government, the rights of citizen-subjects, and the power of the press to reconfigure society. By returning to the archive, rethinking the category of literature, genres, and disciplines, and engaging with the theoretical-historical problematic of modernity and colonialism in the Americas, we can begin to imagine alternative historical geographies for a literature of the Americas, one where the seemingly impermeable barrier between U.S. and Latin American literary and intellectual history begins to disintegrate in U.S. Latina/o studies.
Histories of sexuality and of the academic disciplines, Latina/o intellectual and literary history, the comparative history of writing in the colonial and 19th century Americas, theories of modernity and postcolonialism.