Event Highlights: Latinidad on the Edge with Maia Gil’Adí

Drawing from her current book project, Doom Patterns: Latinx Speculations and the Aesthetics of Violence, Maia Gil’Adí, Assistant Professor of English and Latinx Literature at Boston University, shows how portrayals of violence and destruction paradoxically foreground pleasure in humor, narrative beauty, and the grotesque. The pleasure she identifies in Doom Patterns highlights the beauty found in the art object that problematically transforms violence into aesthetically pleasing texts for the enjoyment and consumption of the public, upending stereotypical accounts of “minority literature” by revealing the ongoing nature of imperial, racial, and ethno-national violence.

Toward the end of her talk, Gil’Adí examines Hernan Díaz’s novel, In the Distance (2017), to show how this Latinx novel in disguise challenges definitions of Latinx literature, speculative fiction, and canon formations. Telling the story of a young Swedish immigrant who attempts to make his way to New York from California in the mid-nineteenth century, Gil’Adí argues that In the Distance is invested in the reinvestigation of notions of “foreign/ness,” “citizenship,” and “nation” while positioning latinidad as a speculative generic mode.

This event took place on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, as part of a series of faculty lunch talks organized by the Center for Latin American Studies at BU.

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