Emergency and Emergence in the Signs of the Americas

Fri November 13th 2020, 1:00pm
Event Sponsor
DLCL, English, Latin American Studies
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Emergency and Emergence in the Signs of the Americas

Please join us for a virtual workshop with Dr. Edgar Garcia, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago. We will discuss two pieces. The first of these two pieces is a chapter from his Signs of the Americas (University of Chicago Press, 2019), a study of the life of such indigenous sign systems as pictographs, hieroglyphs, petroglyphs, and khipu in the contemporary poetry, arts, legal philosophy, and environmental activism of the AmericasThe second of these pieces is a short essay from a collection of essays on the K’iche’ Maya story of creation, the Popol Vuh. These essays were written during the stay-at-home orders of the current pandemic. They examine what the Popol Vuh has to teach its readers about emergencies. Specifically, the essays focus on the relation of the present public health crisis to the ongoing crisis of colonialism. And they also focus on how the authors of the Popol Vuh wish to teach their readers to reframe such ongoing emergency in terms of social, political, and intellectual emergence; to rethink crisis in terms of creativity and world creation.


The first 25 Stanford community members to RSVP to the workshop will receive a free copy of the book (it is also available for electronic viewing through Stanford Libraries) Please respond here, all RSVPs will be sent a copy of the accompanying additional article and Zoom link: https://forms.gle/53cFss9jFN11HyPF6


Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas, primarily during the 20th century. Winner of the 2018 Fence Modern Poets Series award, his collection of poems and anthropological essays on hemispheric migrations—Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography (which also received an award from the Illinois Arts Council)—was published by Fence Books in 2019. His book of scholarship on the contemporary life of the seemingly antiquated sign-systems of the AmericasSigns of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictographs, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu—was published by the University of Chicago Press in November 2019 (a selection of this work received honors from the Modern Language Association in 2020). He also co-edited an anthology on the transnational contexts of American literature, American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (Columbia University Press, 2016). He regularly collaborates with visual artists. One such collaboration—with Eamon Ore-Giron, titled Infinite Regress—was published by Bom Dia Books in Berlin in February 2020. Currently, he is working on two books: one is a rethinking of risk and migration in humanistic frameworks (as opposed to statistical ones; an article-length portion of this project will appear in the November 2020 issue of Modern Philology); the other is a collection of essays on the K’iche’ Maya story of creation the Popol Vuh. Garcia is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.