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Callie Ward


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M/F 3-4pm PST

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20th and 21st Century Latin American Literature
human rights
law and literature

Callie Ward

Ph.D. candidate in Iberian and Latin American Cultures
2019-20 Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center

My current research centers on human rights and contemporary Latin American literature. Working in the growing interdisciplinary field of law and literature, I focus on subjects who have historically been excluded from human rights discourse, legal application of rights, media coverage, and access to legal support and resources. 

My dissertation, "Past Present: The Literature of Human Rights in Postdictatorial Brazil, Chile, and Argentina," examines the political implications of the stories we tell about the past. More specifically, I analyze the “literature of human rights” in contemporary Latin America: legal and literary narratives that have a truth-seeking function vis-à-vis the past and the potential to intervene in the present political and social climate. In each chapter, I interrogate the relevance of concepts such as “truth” and “trust” to memory studies and jurisprudence, as well as their impact on the development of public awareness and discussion – the necessary preconditions for democracy and political change. Considering legal (e.g., truth and reconciliation commission reports, laws, etc.) and literary narratives to be part of overlapping frameworks that drive social and political change, I examine literature’s relevance to human rights and its potential to disclose issues, subjects, and regions that legal systems might exclude.

In addition to my writing and teaching projects, I volunteer at the Immigration Center for Women and Children in San Francisco. I work on the asylum cases of women, minors, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who have immigrated from Mexico and Central America. I have also volunteered with Al Otro Lado in Tijuana, where I worked with migrants at the border.
My teaching experience at Stanford includes first and second-year Spanish classes as well as introductory seminars on Latin American and Iberian literatures and cultures. I also volunteer at San Bruno Jail, through the Stanford Prison Education Project, where I co-teach and participate in classes on issues of human rights in Latin America and the United States.


B.A., Hispanic Studies and English, University of Pennsylvania

Other Information

ILAC 127: After Dictatorship: Facts, Fiction, and Justice in Latin America
Winter 2020-21

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