Mario Santana

Associate Professor of Spanish Literature and the Center for Latin American Studies
Wieboldt 217
PhD, Columbia University, 1994

My research and teaching concentrate on contemporary Iberian literatures, with particular emphasis on narrative, visual culture (film and television), and translation.  I am also interested in literary historiography, critical theory (hermeneutics and reception, gender studies, narratology, systemic and institutional approaches to literature) and cultural studies. 

In my view, the critical analysis of individual cultural objects is not at odds with attention to larger historical and social phenomena, although I am also convinced that the tasks of the literary scholar are not identical to those of the historian or the social scientist.  Thus, my teaching emphasizes the rigorous analysis of materials and issues from a perspective that is both informed by interdisciplinarity and engaged in the examination of the epistemological and methodological tools proper to our own discipline.

Within the field of Iberian Studies, I see the need to question the paradigm of national literature (traditionally centered on the autochthonous cultural production in the official State language) in order to account for the internal complexity of multilingual cultural realities in the Iberian peninsula, as well as the interliterary relations (with both continuities and disruptions, consonances and resistances) between Iberia and Latin America. It is in this vein that in Foreigners in the Homeland: The Spanish American New Novel in Spain, 1962-1974 (Bucknell UP, 2000) I charted the course of Hispanic interliterary relations during the sixties and seventies through the analysis of the reception of the Latin American Boom Novel as the leading model for fictional writing in Spain. 

I have also written essays on media and memory in Catalan and Spanish television, the role of translation in Iberian interliterary relations, the fiction of Jaume Cabré, the novel of historical memory, the impact of translation in the Spanish literary system, and the institutionalization of Iberian Studies in the United States.

I am the faculty coordinator for the programs of Basque and Catalan Studies at the University of Chicago, and the current president of the North American Catalan Society (NACS).

Recent publications

“Education and Citizenship in the Construction of the Spanish State: From the Constitution of Cadiz to the Creation of the Ministry of Public Education (1812-1900).”  With Antonio Pérez.  The Routledge Hispanic Studies Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spain.  Ed. Elisa Martí-López.  Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2021.  339-354.

“Timely Matters in Jaume Cabré’s Jo confesso.”  Catalan Narrative 1870-2015.  Ed. Jordi Larios and Montserrat Lunati.  Cambridge: Legenda, 2020.  250-262.

“Iberian Studies: The Transatlantic Dimension.”  Transatlantic Studies: Latin America, Iberia, and Africa. Ed. Cecilia Enjuto-Rangel, Sebastiaan Faber, Pedro García-Caro, and Robert P. Newcomb. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2019. 56-66.

“La memorialització de la Història en la ficció contemporània.”  Història i poètiques de la memòria: La violència política en la representació del franquisme.  Ed. Gabriel Sansano, Isabel Marcillas Piquer and Juan-Boris Ruiz-Núñez. Alacant: Universitat d’Alacant, 2017.  61-74.

“Screening History: Television, Memory, and the Nostalgia of National Community.”  Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 21.2 (2015): 147-64.

“Translation and Literatures in Spain, 2003-2012.”  1611: Revista de Historia de la Traducción 9 (2015).

“La inversión del wéstern en Gary Cooper que estás en los cielos, de Pilar Miró.”  Gynocine: Teoría de género, filmología y praxis cinematográfica.  Ed. Barbara Zecchi.  Zaragoza and Amherst: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza & University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2013.  215-24.

“Implementing Iberian Studies: Some Paradigmatic and Curricular Challenges.”  Iberian Modalities: A Relational Approach to the Study of Culture in the Iberian Peninsula.  Ed. Joan Ramon Resina.  Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013.  54-61.

“Jaume Cabré: Les veus del Pamano i la novel·la de la memòria històrica.”  Journal of Catalan Studies 14 (2011): 47-59.

“On Visible and Invisible Languages: Bernardo Atxaga’s Soinujolearen semea in Translation.”  Writers in Between Languages: Minority Literatures in the Global Scene.  Ed. Mari Jose Olaziregi.  Reno: Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, 2009.  213-29.

Recent Courses in RLL
  • BASQ/CATA/SPAN 29220/39220 Espacio y memoria en el cine español (Autumn 2017, Winter 2020, Spring 2022)
  • BASQ/CATA/SPAN 31700 La novela histórica del presente (Spring 2021)
  • BASQ/CATA/SPAN 33370 Fronteras de la ficción en la literatura ibérica contemporánea (Winter 2019)
  • BASQ/CATA/SPAN 41500 Fundamentos de análisis literario (Winter 2024)
  • CATA/SPAN 26555/36555 Self-determination and Democracy in Spain: The Case of Catalonia (Autumn 2018)
  • CATA/SPAN 33920 Lengua, cultura y ciudadanía en la España contemporánea (Winter 2018)
  • SPAN 21500 Introducción al análisis literario (Autumn 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Autumn 2021)
  • SPAN 21805 Iberian Literatures and Cultures: Modern and Contemporary (Spring 2023)
Affiliated Departments and Centers: Center for Latin American Studies