Preston Waltrip

Research Areas:

21st century historical fiction, U.S. Latina/o studies, hemispheric American studies, biopolitical theory.

Research Interests:

My current project is a study of contemporary historical fictions, focusing especially on 21st century fictional representations of events that took place in the 19th century U.S.-Mexico borderlands by writers such as Carmen Boullosa, Emma Pérez, Hernan Diaz, Luís Alberto Urrea, and Isabel Allende. Although my project is very invested in contemporary fiction, it is also oriented toward 19th century history, particularly with regard to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, 19th century literary production in the Americas, 19th century race discourses and racialization, Manifest Destiny, and U.S. imperialism. I’m specifically interested in the way contemporary historical fictions attempt to “unsettle” the past, read and respond to archival texts from the vantage of what might have been, and, in some cases, function as speculative or counterfactual histories in their own right.

Research Activity:

Book Reviews

“Quotidian Geographies and Futures that Never Were: Speculative Historiography in the
Transimperial Archive.” American Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 1, 2018, pp. 101-112.

“Higher Education in America. Derek Bok (review).” South Central Review, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, pp.
88-92.

Conference Presentations

“’Cities Teetering at the Edge of the Abyss:’ Magical Cosmopolitanism, Neighbors, and the
Speculative Global Commons in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West.” Association for Asian Studies (AAS), New Delhi, India, July 2018.

“’People Like Us:’ Neighbors, the Metropolis, and the ‘Felicitous Encounter’ in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West.” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature in the United States (MELUS), Las Vegas, NV, May 2018.

“The Legacies of Colonialism and the Places Where Violence Cannot Be: Carmen Boullosa’s
Texas: The Great Theft.” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Los Angeles, CA, March 2018.