Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea


Monday, April 4, 2022, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


114 Kresge Foundation Room, Barker Center

Speaker: João Paulo Cuenca, Writer and Filmmaker
Moderated by: Lucas Mertehikian, PhD Candidate, Harvard University

Argentine-Brazilian writer and filmmaker João Paulo Cuenca will read segments from his latest book "I Found Out I Was Dead" as well as discuss the creative process for his next book.

João Paulo Cuenca is a Argentine-Brazilian writer and filmmaker born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is the author of six books and some of his novels have been translated into eight languages. “I found out I was dead” won the Machado de Assis Prize of best novel of the year, awarded by Brazil's National Library in 2017. In 2007, he was selected by the Hay Festival and by the organizers of the Bogotá World Book Capital as one of the 39 highest profile Latin American writers under the age of 39. He has also been selected for the very first ever issue Best of Young Brazilian Novelists of the literary magazine Granta in 2012.

Lucas Mertehikian is a PhD candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures. His dissertation "Fake Originals. Collecting Latin America" offers a new lens on Latin America with a focus on collecting efforts carried out by American scientists, diplomats, and scholars from the 1840s to the 1970s. Specifically, he analyzes three collections as case studies —Harvard University’s Latin American botanical collection, Dumbarton Oaks pre-Columbian art collection, and Princeton University’s Latin American literary manuscripts collection. In each chapter, Lucas starts by focusing on the unexpected trajectory of one single object to look into the collection at large. His central argument is that studying challenges traditional understandings of Latin American identity as seen from idealistic points of view (from José Rodo’s arielismo to Ángel Rama’s transculturación), while at the same time reexamining Latin America-US relationships.

Presented by Crossroads Seminar Series - organized by Prof Josiah Blackmore, Ana Laura Malmaceda, Eduarda Araujo, João Marcos Copertino, and Omar Salomão