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Indiana University Bloomington
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Edgar Illas | Faculty

Director of Catalan

Edgar IllasAssociate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Office: GISB 2105
TEL: 855-8907
Email: eillasat indiana dot edu


Ph.D., 2007, Duke University
B.A., 1999, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona


Selected Publications



Creative Writing


Honors and Awards

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 I argue that the postmodern frame of cultural recognition has been superseded by a new social regime of survival.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.