Faculty Profile

Eric Vazquez

Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies (2015)

Contact Information

vazquez@dickinson.edu

Denny Hall Room 17
http://www.ericvazquezphd.com

Bio

Eric Vázquez specializes on U.S. Latinx and Transnational American studies. His research interests include U.S. relations with Central America, warfare and culture, undocumented immigration, social solidarities, and cultures of capitalism. His courses focus on the comparative cultures, aesthetics, and politics of marginalized communities.

Education

  • B.A., Kenyon College, 2003
  • Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 2015

2017-2018 Academic Year

Fall 2017

ENGL 101 War Narratives
Cross-listed with AMST 101-03.Despite official troop withdrawals in both Iraq and Afghanistan the United States remains embroiled in seemingly endless conflicts through the War on Terror. Considering the difficulty of a public reckoning with war in the Middle East, this course will examine how Americans tell stories about foreign conflicts through various media. Looking at texts like Mohamedu Ould Slahi's Guatanamo Diary, and John Horne Burns' The Gallery; films like Apocalypse Now, Restrepo, and The Fog of War; 1960s protest music; photography; and new media visualizations of combat casualties we will ask: How to Americans in the 20th and 21st centuries incorporate the experience of violence, destruction, and inter-state hostilities into story form? How do storytellers cope with the difficulty of capturing pervasive destruction and annihilation, an enemy who is largely invisible, or experiences that do not match the national narrative about the war? How do the experiences non-normative sexuality and ethnic / racial disenfranchisement affect the mythology that surrounds American wars? This course will begin with World War II, proceeding to the Vietnam War, Low-Intensity Conflict in Central America, through to the War on Terror.

AMST 101 War Narratives
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-09.Despite official troop withdrawals in both Iraq and Afghanistan the United States remains embroiled in seemingly endless conflicts through the War on Terror. Considering the difficulty of a public reckoning with war in the Middle East, this course will examine how Americans tell stories about foreign conflicts through various media. Looking at texts like Mohamedu Ould Slahi's Guatanamo Diary, and John Horne Burns' The Gallery; films like Apocalypse Now, Restrepo, and The Fog of War; 1960s protest music; photography; and new media visualizations of combat casualties we will ask: How to Americans in the 20th and 21st centuries incorporate the experience of violence, destruction, and inter-state hostilities into story form? How do storytellers cope with the difficulty of capturing pervasive destruction and annihilation, an enemy who is largely invisible, or experiences that do not match the national narrative about the war? How do the experiences non-normative sexuality and ethnic / racial disenfranchisement affect the mythology that surrounds American wars? This course will begin with World War II, proceeding to the Vietnam War, Low-Intensity Conflict in Central America, through to the War on Terror.

AMST 200 Bad Feelings
Cross-listed with ENGL 222-01 and WGSS 201-02.For some intellectuals and artists, the work of culture should be to generate unpleasant experiences in readers and audiences. These critics and cultural producers express the hope that making audiences uncomfortable would translate into a discomfort with the social status quo, engendering critical attitudes towards the complacency of bourgeois culture, economic inequality, the conduct of war, and the exploitation and dispossession of marginalized communities. This course will take up these questions exploring them in the context of 20th and 21st century American culture (primarily film, literature, and visual art). Organized in a rough chronology students will explore theories of alienation and estrangement through Hegel and Brecht, through to disgust in 1960s agitprop art, Cold War cultural paranoia, and into cynicism and unhappiness—feelings thought to define post-September 11th and post-financial crisis America. We will ask, in what ways do negative emotions generate critical attitudes toward the ruling state of affairs? How do histories of racism, maldistribution, and marginalization give shape to the culture of bad feelings? Are audiences and readers warranted in attributing a certain cruelty or sadism in cultural producers of negative sentiments? In what ways could bad feelings contribute to sustaining injustice and inequitable social relations?

WGSS 201 Bad Feelings
Cross-listed with AMST 200-03 and ENGL 222-01.For some intellectuals and artists, the work of culture should be to generate unpleasant experiences in readers and audiences. These critics and cultural producers express the hope that making audiences uncomfortable would translate into a discomfort with the social status quo, engendering critical attitudes towards the complacency of bourgeois culture, economic inequality, the conduct of war, and the exploitation and dispossession of marginalized communities. This course will take up these questions exploring them in the context of 20th and 21st century American culture (primarily film, literature, and visual art). Organized in a rough chronology students will explore theories of alienation and estrangement through Hegel and Brecht, through to disgust in 1960s agitprop art, Cold War cultural paranoia, and into cynicism and unhappiness—feelings thought to define post-September 11th and post-financial crisis America. We will ask, in what ways do negative emotions generate critical attitudes toward the ruling state of affairs? How do histories of racism, maldistribution, and marginalization give shape to the culture of bad feelings? Are audiences and readers warranted in attributing a certain cruelty or sadism in cultural producers of negative sentiments? In what ways could bad feelings contribute to sustaining injustice and inequitable social relations?

ENGL 222 Bad Feelings
Cross-listed with AMST 200-03 and WGSS 201-02.For some intellectuals and artists, the work of culture should be to generate unpleasant experiences in readers and audiences. These critics and cultural producers express the hope that making audiences uncomfortable would translate into a discomfort with the social status quo, engendering critical attitudes towards the complacency of bourgeois culture, economic inequality, the conduct of war, and the exploitation and dispossession of marginalized communities. This course will take up these questions exploring them in the context of 20th and 21st century American culture (primarily film, literature, and visual art). Organized in a rough chronology students will explore theories of alienation and estrangement through Hegel and Brecht, through to disgust in 1960s agitprop art, Cold War cultural paranoia, and into cynicism and unhappiness—feelings thought to define post-September 11th and post-financial crisis America. We will ask, in what ways do negative emotions generate critical attitudes toward the ruling state of affairs? How do histories of racism, maldistribution, and marginalization give shape to the culture of bad feelings? Are audiences and readers warranted in attributing a certain cruelty or sadism in cultural producers of negative sentiments? In what ways could bad feelings contribute to sustaining injustice and inequitable social relations?

Spring 2018

AMST 101 Latina/o Popular Culture
Cross-listed with LALC 200-06. This course will examine how the increasing diversity of audiences, voices, and participants in popular culture point to deficits, needs, and changes in American culture. Focusing specifically on Latinas/os, we will analyze representation of Latinas/os in a variety of different genres – music, film, sports, and television – for what they tell us about race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and language. We will look particularly at how Latinas/os negotiate mainstream media representations and create new forms of culture expression. Exploring how Latinas/os produce media representations that defy both narrow understandings of Latinidad as well as dominant U.S. culture, class discussion will explore how identity is produced and contested through popular culture.

AMST 200 Fantasies of Valuation
Cross-listed with ENGL 222-04. The 2007 crisis is thought to have laid to rest widespread assumptions about the ceaseless abundance of financial markets. This faith, it has been argued, is built on fantasies of infinitely compounding abstractions that wager on hypothetical futures and turbulent risk. Fantasies, futures, and abstractions also describe the cultural function of literary texts. This course will examine not only how American literature represents practices like speculation and efforts to monetize risk, but also investigate literature and finance's common practice of producing fictions through an analysis of narrative: novels, film, and other forms of storytelling. Class will begin by examining 19th century novels about land and commodity speculation, but the majority of class will be devoted to literature composed in or about the 1980s and 90s, when financial capitalism is thought to have hit its apex. Fulfills AMST Representation or AMST Structures and Institutions. Cannot fulfill both.

LALC 200 Latina/o Popular Culture
Cross-listed with AMST 101-04. This course will examine how the increasing diversity of audiences, voices, and participants in popular culture point to deficits, needs, and changes in American culture. Focusing specifically on Latinas/os, we will analyze representation of Latinas/os in a variety of different genres – music, film, sports, and television – for what they tell us about race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and language. We will look particularly at how Latinas/os negotiate mainstream media representations and create new forms of culture expression. Exploring how Latinas/os produce media representations that defy both narrow understandings of Latinidad as well as dominant U.S. culture, class discussion will explore how identity is produced and contested through popular culture.

ENGL 222 Fantasies of Valuation
Cross-listed with AMST 200-07. The 2007 crisis is thought to have laid to rest widespread assumptions about the ceaseless abundance of financial markets. This faith, it has been argued, is built on fantasies of infinitely compounding abstractions that wager on hypothetical futures and turbulent risk. Fantasies, futures, and abstractions also describe the cultural function of literary texts. This course will examine not only how American literature represents practices like speculation and efforts to monetize risk, but also investigate literature and finance's common practice of producing fictions through an analysis of narrative: novels, film, and other forms of storytelling. Class will begin by examining 19th century novels about land and commodity speculation, but the majority of class will be devoted to literature composed in or about the 1980s and 90s, when financial capitalism is thought to have hit its apex. Fulfills AMST Representation or AMST Structures and Institutions. Cannot fulfill both.

AMST 402 Writing in American Studies
Students research and write a substantial research project, normally drawing on their work in 401. Prerequisite: 303, 401.