Fernando Gómez Herrero
Department of Cultures & Languages
University of London
Birkbeck University of London Profile
I am interested in exploring the (im-)possible meanings of "history" (or the "past") embedded in contemporary societies, working on the fundamental assumption that we are no clean slates and have therefore not yet fully become post-historical creatures. I thus look into historical reason. I am also equally interested in the political dimension, the "us versus them" of social relations, its old, current and new forms, particularly utopian. I thus also look into political reason.
I am curious to explore the historical (long-range, time-honoured) interactions between Europe and the Americas (Latin America and the U.S.), prioritising the Early Modern and Colonial Period (1500-1800), with a focus on the Hispanic and Latin American legacy assuming the presumption of equal worth with others. I want to think my scholarship and research is comparative and internationalist in the best possible sense of the word, giving no priority to any one national entity. The age of absolutism, imperialism and colonialism, Eurocentric expansionism, the conquest and colonisation of the "New World" (the Americas), the so-called Golden Age of Hispanic Letters, aesthetics of Mannerism and Baroque are included here. We may well be turning the historical page to such momentous preamble. And how was it? Where have we been? Where are we going?
I have no option but to negotiate the big-frame timespace of Europe (including Great Britain with/out Brexit) and America (Latin America and the US, with/out Trump). Against all odds, I am invested in the "humanities" (or perhaps better, cultural studies and postcolonial studies) and I have been exploring for years now connections with the social sciences, mostly politics, sociology and the field of international relations. I have come from the field of literature (typically simplified as fiction) and we are now all dealing with the crisis of literature, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I am inevitably a promoter of learning "modern foreign languages" and committed to defend the best set-up, particularly inside Anglophone societies. I bring critical awareness of Spanish / English relations in education settings, preferably higher education, but also in relation to mass media, popular culture, art, film, music, youth culture and the street on both sides of the Atlantic.
I have taught in important settings such as Duke University, Stanford University, University of Pittsburgh, Hofstra University, Oberlin College among others. I have been educated in Great Britain, Spain and the US, with significant professional travels in Latin America (particularly Mexico). I have offered a rich variety of courses in different settings: all levels of Spanish language, writing courses in Spanish and English, survey courses in literary, cultural and historical studies and graduate-level instruction. I bring multiple sources and materials from different traditions, national contexts, print, digital, audiovisual, etc. I want to think I bring an inquisitive interdisciplinary that wants to upset things.
Favourite themes of mine are the comparative and panoramic relations between law and literature, the grand history of European philosophy and its criticisms from the margins, modalities of history and varieties of historiography, philosophy of history, aesthetics, the topic of civilization and barbarism, the template of the "West and the Rest," utopianism, the inspirational meanings of “culture,” the impact of international relations and foreign affairs in the liberal arts, etc.
Most recently, I am working on Carl Schmitt, Mannerism and Baroque, reinvigorating the global political and international side of things, establishing connections between national-states manufacture of foreign policy to promote specific world visions, typically xenophobic, and how foreign studies and minority studies could intervene differently within if not against that.
I am thus invested in making Hispanicity and Latinity wider, bigger, more dense, more complex, more exciting and a bit more unpredictable and unconventional than is the norm. I still believe – how could I not?-- that a critical analysis, enriched by bilingualism, and a constant curiosity towards the past, that wishes to be philosophically informed, should allow for a keener sense of our own locations already in a truly disorienting new century.