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(Sept. 10, 2018) Essay on MFA Generation in Latino Studies

Check out the essay I recently published in Latino Studies entitled, “Generation MFA: Neoliberalism and the shifting cultural capital of US Latinx writers.”

This essay describes the emergence of an MFA generation of Latinx writers as a neoliberal phenomenon that offers critics another lens by which to understand the production and critical reception of US Latinx literature. I argue that, with academic institutions training and credentialing authors through creative writing programs, the market and culture of an MFA education informs generational shifts within the US Latinx canon. The disciplinary training of writers such as Ernesto Quiñonez, Rich Villar, Dagoberto Gilb, Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, and Sandra Cisneros provides a glimpse into the limited agency of these authors within racist and neoliberal institutions, particularly how they understand their positioning within the academy as writers of color. Looking at the variable and fluid status of authors within the US Latinx canon helps us think through the strengths and weaknesses of critical practices within US Latinx literary studies, as well as open up the possibility of alternative historiographies for contemporary US Latinx literature.