Stony Brook University
Fluvial poetics in the Amazon: displacement, infrastructure, modernization
Javier Uriarte is an Associate Professor of Latin American literature and culture in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University. He holds a Licenciatura en Letras from the Universidad de la República of Uruguay, and a PhD from New York University. He is interested in theories of space and place, war studies, environmental studies, and in the intersections between literary studies and history, geography, philosophy, and politics. He specializes in the study of travel narratives, territorial imagination, war and representation, the Amazon, state consolidation and cultural production in nineteenth century Latin America, infrastructure and water, representations of nature and labor. In his first book, The Desertmakers, he carries out a comparative study of the role that war played in the processes of state consolidation in the Southern Cone and Brazil in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The Spanish version of The Desertmakers won Uruguay's 2012 National Prize for Literature in the unpublished literary essay category.
The project in which Uriarte will work during his stay at MIAS, "Fluvial Poetics in the Amazon: Displacement, Infrastructure, Modernization", proposes a comparative exploration of diverse narratives of the Amazon during the first two decades of the last century, in close dialogue with the field of environmental humanities. The aquatic imaginary is an essential part of Amazonian peoples, but it has also intrigued intellectuals, travelers and statesmen who have written about the region, trying to understand and/or transform it. In this new project I am interested, then, in studying the presence, roles and connotations of rivers in the writings of various intellectuals during the first decades of the 20th century. The uses and connotations of rivers can let us learn different ways of telling aquatic stories, of conceiving of navigation, fluidity and displacement. The Amazon is a fragile and sometimes confusing or dissonant chorus of voices that speak through its waterways. Listening attentively to them in order to disentangle and dive into its various meanings and poetics is one of the objectives of this project.
2020. The Desertmakers: Travel, War, and the State in Latin America, New York, Routledge.
2019. Intimate Frontiers: A Literary Geography of the Amazon, Co-edited with Felipe Martínez-Pinzón, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press.
2021. “Cuerpos, sexualidad y modernización: la Guerra del Pacífico y el trazado de fronteras biopolíticas en Chile”, Revista Iberoamericana, LXXXVII/275, pp. 533-546.
2019. “Euclides da Cunha en la Amazonía: pensar el desplazamiento, controlar los espacios, anunciar la guerra”, Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana, Año XLV, No 90, pp. 15-28.
2021. “Temporalidad, guerra y nostalgia imperial en las Memorias del Visconde de Taunay”, in Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik (ed), Sensibilidades conservadoras: El debate cultural sobre la civilización en América Latina y España durante el siglo XIX, Madrid/Frankfurt: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, pp. 279-303.