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Dr Melisa Moore

Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies


01392 724412

Research interests


Dr Melisa Moore welcomes enquiries about postgraduate supervision (for MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees) in any of the following fields of Latin American Cultural Studies: Peruvian Literature and Culture; Indigenism; José María Arguedas; Testimonial Writing; Intellectual and Cultural History; Visual Culture.

Transformative Practices: Politics, Poetics and Visual Culture in 1920s Peru

In this research, I explore the political and artistic tensions operating during the pivotal years of the ‘oncenio' (1919-1930), through a critical reading of politico-poetic written and visual texts by canonical and non-canonical writers, poets and painters, both Marxist and aprista, such as Mariátegui, Delmar, Adán, Portal and Codesido. (Populist) politics and the (popular) avant-garde arts interacted with and altered each other in diverse ways during these turbulent years. I consider the creative implications of this interplay for the formation of a new, semi-subaltern, sense of self and nationhood, and a ‘national-popular‘ (Gramsci) intellectual and cultural tradition, or hegemony, in 1920s Peru.

Memory, Myth and Historiography in ‘Indigenist' Narratives of Nation in Peru, 1920-1940

This project examines the political and poetic conceptions, and discursive strategies of indigenista intellectuals and artists in Lima, Cuzco and Puno from 1920-1940, alongside the emergence of a bold pictorial poetics in their work. I focus on paradigmatic and revisionist readings of the indigenous community by Mariátegui, Churata, Alegría and Arguedas, who drew on and added to, as they also contested, the colonial concept of an Andean Utopia through tropes such as myth and metaphor. My aim is to gauge the value of these texts as mechanisms for transmitting popular and personal memory, and recording (semi-)subaltern history.

Ethnography and Poetics as Medi(t)ation for José María Arguedas

This on-going research builds on my doctoral work on the relations between Arguedas's ethnographic pursuits and his polemical novel Todas las sangres, in the light of key social-scientific studies on migration and ‘mestizaje' in recent years. It does so by tracing the construction of a visual poetics, rooted in a rich Andean iconography, in his early narratives, in the context of anthropological reflections on the mnemonic function of these dynamic pictorial forms.

‘Subaltern' Authorship and Representation in Testimonial Writing

Of particular interest are the ways in which ethnic and gender roles and relations are interrogated and (re-)inscribed through hybrid textual forms, which draw on, and destabilize, popular and prescribed modes of representation and reception.

Research supervision

Postgraduate Supervision since 2001

  • Co-Supervision of PhD Thesis: ‘Rethinking José María Arguedas: Contemporary Interpretation and Social Change in Peru of ‘Todas las sangres', Fernando Aldave, from 2007.
  • Supervision of MA Dissertation (20,000 words), 2004.
  • I have also supervised work for the MA Dissertation

Other information

Conference Papers Given (Since 2001)

  • ‘Identidad y mestizaje en la obra literaria y antropológica de José María Arguedas'
    August 2001, Jalla, Jornadas Andinas de Literatura Latinoamericana.
  • ‘Critical Junctures: Politics, Poetics and Female Presence in the Avant-Garde in Peru'
    May 2004, Birkbeck College, London University, Annual Conference of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies; one of four speakers.
  • ‘Detractors and Devotees: Modernity, ‘Mestizaje' and the Rise of a New Intellectual Hegemony in 1920s Peru'
    February 2008, Bristol University, Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean Colloquium.
  • ‘Futuro perfecto: literatura, historiografía y nacionalismo (andino) en ‘El proceso de la literatura' de José Carlos Mariátegui'
    August 2008, Santiago de Chile, Jalla, Jornadas Andinas de Literatura Latinoamericana.

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