International Latino Book Awards, Honorable Mention, Best Biography (English)
American Educational Research Association, Division B: Curriculum Studies, Outstanding Book Award
“A welcome and needed work at a time when academia is reenvisioning its discursive fields. It breathes new life into Reinaldo Arenas’s literary corpus by treating it as a cultural object that may be appreciated by different academic disciplines.”—Carlos Riobó, author of Caught between the Lines: Captives, Frontiers, and National Identity in Argentine Literature and Art
“Imagines a thoroughly unique, productively innovative critical and scholarly approach to understanding one of twentieth-century literature’s most misunderstood and misread giants. This book models powerfully alternative ways to think not only about Arenas but also about ourselves, as writers, as teachers, and as activists.”—Ricardo L. Ortiz, author of Latinx Literature Now: Between Evanescence and Event
Focusing on the didactic nature of the work of Reinaldo Arenas, this book demonstrates the Cuban writer’s influence as public pedagogue, mentor, and social activist whose teaching on resistance to normative ideologies resonates in societies past, present, and future.
Through a multidisciplinary approach bridging educational, historiographic, and literary perspectives, The Dissidence of Reinaldo Arenas illuminates how Arenas’s work remains a cutting-edge source of inspiration for today’s audiences, particularly LGBTQI readers. It shows how Arenas’s aesthetics contain powerful insights for exploring dissensus whether in the context of Cuba, broader Pan-American and Latinx-U.S. queer movements of social justice, or transnational citizenship politics. Carefully dissecting Arenas’s themes against the backdrop of his political activity, this book presents the writer’s poetry, novels, and plays as a curriculum of dissidence that provides models for socially engaged intellectual activism.
Sandro R. Barros, assistant professor in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education program at Michigan State University, is the author of Competing Truths in Contemporary Latin American Literature: Narrating Otherness, Marginality, and the Politics of Representation. Rafael Ocasio is Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish at Agnes Scott College. He is the author of A Gay Cuban Activist in Exile: Reinaldo Arenas and Cuba’s Political and Sexual Outlaw: Reinaldo Arenas. Angela L. Willis is professor of Hispanic studies and Latin American studies at Davidson College.
Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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