Edgar Illas | Faculty
Director of CatalanAssociate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Office: GISB 2105
Ph.D., 2007, Duke University
B.A., 1999, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
- Contemporary Catalan and Spanish Culture
- Theories of Architecture
- Post-Marxism and Deconstruction
- Thinking Barcelona. Ideologies of a Global City. Liverpool University Press, 2012.
"2013 North American Catalan Society Prize for Outstanding Work in Catalan Studies."
- “Urban Tellurics in Barcelona: Between a Heideggerian Rock and a Postmodern Swimming Pool.” Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 1.3 (2014): 443-60.
- "Is Catalan Separatism a Progressive Cause?" Dissidences 5.10 (2014).
- “From Elegies de Bierville to Separatism: Constituent Power or Global War?” Catalan Review 28 (2014): 3–17. (Translation into Catalan: “De les Elegies de Bierville a l’independentisme: poder constituent o guerra global?” Tropelías 22 (2014): 45-57.)
- “Gaudí Gehry Barcelona.”Cultural Critique 87 (2014): 144-61.
- "The Procrustean Bed of Class Struggle." Décalages 1.3 (2013)
- “Eugenio Trías’s Reading of Joan Maragall: from Civil Catalunya-ciutat to Postcivil Catalunya-estat.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 13.4 (2012): 323-38.
- “Pleasure against Ideology in Gabriel Ferrater.” Hispanic Review 80.3 (2012): 467-84.
- “Sketches of Contemporary Labor.” Discourse. Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 33.1 (2011): 55-74.
- "On Universalist Particularism: the Catalans and the Jews." Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies. 12.1 (2011): 77-94.
- "Liberalisme i independentisme, o l'esperit treballador català." Catalan Review 24 (2010): 387-400.
- "The Great Novel of Barcelona." The Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 6 (2008): 167-82.
- “Short Stories against Barcelona’s Urban Transformation.” Transtext(e)s Transcultures. Journal of Global Cultural Studies 3 (2007): 84-97.
- “Visca la mort del català! Una proposta modesta per a les llengües minoritàries.” Dissidences 1.1 (2005).
- “Marià Vayreda: el carlisme reciclat i l’inconscient català.” El Contemporani13 (2004): 27-32. (Spanish version: “Marià Vayreda: el carlismo reciclado y el inconsciente catalán.” Res publica. Revista de filosofía política 13-14 (2004): 87-96.)
- Ball de bastons (novel) (Cabrera de Mar: Galerada, 2014). "Article a Núvol"
- "Sandpaper Liquids." (short story) Trans. J.M. Sobrer. Web. October 9, 2013.
- El gel de bany sobre l’esponja (novel) Barcelona: Columna, 2003. Literary Prize Finalist, “La primera columna.
Honors and Awards
- New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University (2012)
- Emergency Grant-in-Aid, Indiana University (2012)
- Travel Research Grant, College of Arts & Humanities Institute, Indiana University (2011).
- Summer Curriculum Development Grant, West European Studies, Indiana University (2010).
- West European Studies Conference Travel Grant (2010, 2011, 2012).
- Bass Instructorship, Graduate School, Duke University (2006-07).
- “Premi Extraordinari,” 1st in Class of 1999, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Current Research Projects
My current project, Catalan Political Surfaces, examines some of the dominant narratives that have structured the social imaginary of modern Catalonia. While numerous studies have already analyzed the ideological problematics of Catalonia in terms of nationalism, my study investigates a set of related but different narratives that sometimes intersect with and sometimes deviate from the central political conflict between this nation and Spain. Through the examination of a variety of literary and political texts from the twentieth century, my project focuses on six foundational narratives: 1) the death of Catalan, or the anxiety produced by the supposedly imminent disappearance of the language; 2) Catalan philosemitism, or identification with the Jewish people, the construction of Israel, and the revitalization of Hebrew; 3) Catalan work ethic, or the premise that Catalans have survived as a cohesive collective thanks to their methodical accumulation of wealth; 4) Catalonia as city, or the conception of the region not as a stateless nation but as an entity articulated around Barcelona; 5) Catalan literature as national allegory, or the sense that literature is necessarily traversed by the country’s political problematic; and 6) landscape as motherland, or the identification of one’s most immediate surroundings as the real homeland.
My second project, Survival, or, the War Logic of Global Capitalism, is a theoretical reflection on the shift from the cultural logic of postmodernity to the war logic of globalization. I argue that the postmodern frame of cultural recognition has been superseded by a new social regime of survival. While recognition aimed to save subjectivities from the total destruction of twentieth-century wars and project them onto a postmodern marketplace, survival is composed of immanent singularities and Althusserian aleatory events that take place within the creative/destructive process of global war. Rather than approaching these events through the previous premises of equality-in-freedom, difference or subalternity, I theorize three conditions—intervention, singularity, and exodus/resistance—for the engagement in critical and political practices under the new regime. However, instead of gathering these three conditions around Hardt and Negri’s project for the multitude, I argue that the political must remain open and unprogrammed. While modern politics were structured around the search for models for future change, globalization imposes a temporality of the perpetual present or of the “always already” that compels us to focus on the transformative practices that are taking place here and now.