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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Deborah Cohn

Picture of Deborah N. Cohn

Department of American Studies
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Adjunct Associate Professor
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Department of Comparative Literature
Department of English
Latino Studies Program

Office: Ballantine Hall 870
Phone: (812) 856-5993
E-mail: dncohn


Ph.D., Hispanic Studies, Brown University, 1996
M.A., Spanish Literature, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1990

Research Interests

  • Comparative literatures of the Americas
  • Faulkner and Spanish American literature
  • Mexican Intelligentsia
  • the Global South

Personal Statement

My primary area of research is inter-American literary relations. I have approached this topic in a number of different ways over the years. I have explored the appropriation of William Faulkner and the interest in the U.S. South that is shared by Spanish American writers such as Rosario Ferré, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Juan Rulfo, Mario Vargas Llosa, and others. This has led me to ask questions about the South whose answers are not limited to national or regional political boundaries, and to situate the region’s cultural production and explorations of identity within the context of experiences common to the Americas as a whole; through these interests, I have become involved in collaborative projects on the Global South and the new Southern Studies. My current project studies the promotion of Latin American literature in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s. I examine how support for this activity was motivated by U.S. Cold War politics, in particular by the public interest in Latin America that was sparked by the Cuban Revolution and the surge of leftist activism in the region.

Courses Recently Taught

  • Hemispheric and Transnational American Studies
  • "So close to the United States": Anxieties of Race, Nation, and Imperialism in Mexico and the Caribbean
  • Mexican Literature
  • Faulkner and Spanish American Authors

Publication Highlights


The Latin American Literary Boom and U.S. Nationalism during the Cold War (Vanderbilt, 2012)

Look Away!: The U.S. South in New World Studies, co-edited with Jon Smith (Duke, 2004)

History and Memory in the Two Souths:  Recent Southern and Spanish American Fiction (Vanderbilt, 1999)

Selected recent articles

"The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta and Death in the Andes." Cambridge Companion to Mario Vargas Llosa.  Eds. John King and Efraín Kristal. Cambridge (UK):  Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).

"P.E.N. and the Sword:  U.S.-Latin American Cultural Diplomacy and the 1966 P.E.N. Club Congress."  Hemispheric American Studies.  Eds. Caroline Levander and Robert Levine.  New Brunswick:  Rutgers UP, 2008.

"Combatting Anti-Americanism during the Cold War: Faulkner, the State Department, and Latin America."  Mississippi Quarterly (forthcoming):  396-413.

"U.S. Southern and Latin American Studies:  Postcolonial and Inter-American Approaches."  Global South (forthcoming):  38-44.

"Faulkner, Latin America, and the Caribbean: Influence, Politics, and Academic Disciplines."  A Companion to William Faulkner.  Ed. Richard Moreland.  Oxford, England:  Blackwell Publishing (2006).  499-518.

"U.S. Southern Studies and Latin American Studies: Windows onto Postcolonial Studies."  American Literature 78.4 (December 2006): 704-7.

"A Tale of Two Translation Programs: Politics, the Market, and Rockefeller Funding for Latin American Literature in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s," Latin American Research Review 41.2 (2006):  139-64.

"'Ridiculous rather than secure': Carlos Fuentes and the McCarran-Walter Act. " Review 71 (2005):  314-27.

"The Mexican Intelligentsia, 1950-1968: Cosmopolitanism, National Identity, and the State." Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 21.2 (Winter 2005):  141-82.

Levine, Suzanne Jill (author), and Deborah Cohn (contributor).  "The Latin American Novel in English." Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel.  Ed. Efraín Kristal.  Cambridge:  Cambridge UP (2005): 297-317.

"William Faulkner’s Ibero-American Novel Project: The Politics of Translation and the Cold War." The Southern Quarterly (Winter 2004):  5-18.

"Retracing The Lost Steps:  The Cuban Revolution, the Cold War, and Publishing Alejo Carpentier in the U.S." CR:  The New Centennial Review 3.1 (Spring 2003): 81-108.

"Faulkner and Spanish America:  Then and Now."   Faulkner and the Twenty-First Century.    Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 2000. Eds. Robert Hamblin and Ann Abadie. Jackson, MS:  UP of Mississippi, 2003.  50-67.

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2004-2005
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2004
  • President's Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant, Indiana University, 2002
  • Grant-in-Aid for Research, Indiana University, 2002
  • Rockefeller Archive Center Research Fellowship, 2001-2002
  • Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2001-2002
  • William S. Vaughn Fellowship, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, 2000-2001
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant, held from 1999-2001
  • Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche (Fonds FCAR) Grant 1999-2002