The Fall 2020 Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture: Juan Villoro, "The Obsidian Mirror: Literature and Archaeology in Mexico"


Thursday, October 15, 2020, 6:00pm to 7:30pm

This event will be virtual, to register click here.

Speaker: Juan Villoro, Author and Journalist, El Colegio Nacional (Mexico)

Mexican authors Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco, Salvador Novo, Rubén Bonifaz Nuño, and Rosario Castellanos, among others, have sought to use language to explore and recover the links between Mexico’s Indigenous peoples and its contemporary society. Focusing on Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past, Juan Villoro will explore the intimate and evocative relationships among literature, archaeology, and culture.

Juan Villoro (b. 1956, Mexico City) is a prize-winning novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter whose work addresses an impressive array of topics with insight, dark humor, and irony: canonical Mexican literature; the Zapatista insurrection in Chiapas; the legacy of Mexico’s Cristero War; the intersections of popular television and fiction genres; and the social and cultural functions of spectator sports like boxing and soccer. He is one of Mexico's most prolific living authors and a world-renowned public intellectual. Villoro’s journalistic and literary work has been recognized with such international prizes as the Iberoamerican Awards José Donoso and Manuel Rojas, both awarded in Chile; in Spain, the Herralde Prize for his novel El testigo, and the LIBER Prize for the most distinguished Latin American writer; in Argentina, the ACE Award for his play Philosophy of Life; and in Cuba, the José María Arguedas Award for his novel Arrecife. His journalism has been recognized with the Rey de España and Ciudad de Barcelona Awards. He was also the winner of the Manuel Vázquez Montalbán International Award for his football chronicles God is Round; and Mexico’s Xavier Villaurrutia literary award. His novels have sold more than one million copies, and they have been translated into a dozen languages.

Villoro has been a professor of literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and a visiting professor at Yale University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and at the New Journalism Foundation, created by Gabriel García Márquez. From 1995 to 1998 he directed La Jornada Weekly, a supplement of the newspaper La Jornada. He is a columnist for the newspapers Reforma (Mexico) and El País and El Periódico de Catalunya (Spain). His most recent book is The Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico (2018). Villoro became a member of Mexico’s El Colegio Nacional in 2014.

Presented in collaboration with Harvard Divinity SchoolMoses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project, and Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

See also: Virtual, Mexico