Guillermina De Ferrari

Position title: Senior Fellow (2018-2023)

Halls-Bascom Professor of Spanish and Art History, Department of Spanish & Portuguese and Department of Art History, UW–Madison

Portrait image of Guillermina De Ferrari in front of book shelves with text at left side of image

Broken Tropics, Arts of Contingency

Caribbean culture is a particularly useful laboratory in which to reflect on what the good life means today. The archipelago dramatically combines historical, environmental, and economic centrifugal forces. Factors like insularity, hurricanes, the legacy of slavery, and neocolonial experiments in both late capitalism and late socialism shape the way Caribbean subjects perceive and manage their lives. Analyzing contemporary art and visual culture from Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico from the perspective of moral luck, I explore how the synergy between ethics and contingency intervene in the construction and disruption of the collective, how people reshape and reinvent the social and material world, and how the arts envision forms of being in the world in conditions that unite historical, environmental, and social imperilment.

Guillermina De Ferrari is Halls-Bascom Professor of Spanish and Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. She specializes in Caribbean literature and visual culture. She is the author of Vulnerable States: Bodies of Memory in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction (2007), Community and Culture in Post-Soviet Cuba (2014), and Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today (2015). She is co-editor of Futures of Comparative Literature (2017), The Routledge Companion to Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Latin American Literary and Cultural Forms (2022). She is co-editor of the Routledge Series Literature and Contemporary Thought.