Ph.D. Candidate in Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Mellon Dissertation Fellow, Stanford University
Monica VanBladel is a Ph.D. Candidate in Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University, where she works on 20th- and 21st-century Latin American literature. She is currently writing a dissertation on the use of religious figures and concepts, from both Catholic and indigenous mythologies, in modern Mexican novels. These novels critique the systemic and ideological violence of both the PRI’s revolutionary state and its neoliberal successor, and the project argues that these creative and critical representations of collectivity, by drawing on the multiple religious traditions of the region, produce a new theorization of the social in which traditional religion is a necessary interlocutor – against liberal democracy’s self-declared secularity. Literary analysis of this mythico-political thinking shows authors Rosario Castellanos, Carlos Fuentes, and Yuri Herrera working past mere critique of the national-popular state to imagine alternatives to their fractured national community. Such a theorization speaks to current debates in Latin American cultural studies about regional and universal models for political subjectivity; it also has implications for postsecular methods in the humanities more broadly.
Before coming to Stanford, Monica earned her B.A. in Philosophy and Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Notre Dame, and then worked in legal services in Washington State.
Previously served as graduate coordinator of the Humanities Education Focal Group (https://dlcl.stanford.edu/groups/humanities-education-0), as well as materia, a research group investigating various strands of post-anthropocentric thought (https://materia.stanford.edu)