Joseph Wager (he/his/él) is a PhD Candidate (ABD; expected June 2024) in Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University. He is writing a dissertation focused on the form of the stories about desaparecidos, what is said about desaparecidos, in contemporary Colombia and Mexico. The dissertation places social-scientific inquiry, the work of activists and collectives, and legal instruments in dialogue with art installations, films, novels, performances, and poems. Underpinning this combination is 1. the idea that human-rights changes stem from how individual and collective actions resist institutionalization or translate into institutions and 2. that the form of cultural products is crucial to the realization of such processes.
He has been the instructor for “Advanced Spanish Language: Cultural Emphasis" and the First-Year Cycle of Spanish Language (Quarters I, II, III) at Stanford University. Joseph has co-taught “Modern Latin American Literature” with Héctor Hoyos and “The Labor of Diaspora and Border Cultures” with José David Saldívar, in addition to being an assistant for “Migration in 21st Century Latin American Film” with Ximena Briceño and “Introduction to Latin America: Cultural Perspectives” with Nicole Hughes. Before Stanford, he taught several courses at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá on literature, including the "Introduction to Literature" survey to more than 40 students.
Recent presentations include "Disappearance and Development: Thinking Cultural Heritage through the Cauca River" at the University of Cambridge as part of A Dialogue on Disappearance: The Missing in a Global Perspective; "The Sound of Wind Farming: Rethinking Clean Energy with Wayuu Cultural Practices" (with Daniel Hernández) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada; and "Migration and the Sound of Disappearance: Sin señas particulares and Paradigms of Representing desaparecidos" at the UC Mexicanistas annual conference in Irvine, California.
Joseph has participated in and organized events and discussions, including: the working group Praxis, conversations with lawyers at The Rights Pod, the workshop series Law and Literature in the Global South, and the student-run Caribbean Studies Reading Group. He has worked with Human Rights First and Al Otro Lado, and contributed to the Court Listening Project. He received the Community Impact Award from the Stanford Alumni Association.