Tatum portrait

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Time: 4:10 PM
Place: Room 125, Linfield Hall

Title: The Labor of the Dead: Bolaño and Bowden on the Border

Sponsoring department: English


If it is possible for a regional cultural economy to continue to exist amidst the circuits of global capital, what are its emergent features? What major themes, forms, images and rhetorical figures begin to define a postregional cultural style and structure of feeling? This talk will respond to such questions by exploring textual moments from Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 and Charles Bowden’s Dreamland that focus on the epidemic of crimes against women in the maquiladora economy. These texts’ imagery of the dead and the undead or walking dead index the rise of “occult economies” fashioned by those working and diasporic bodies who are particularly subject to the invisible and visible predations that congeal beneath the banal surfaces and objects of contemporary everyday life under the sign of a globalizing world system.

About the speaker:

Stephen Tatum is a professor of English and Director of the Environmental Humanities graduate program at the University of Utah, where he specializes in interdisciplinary perspectives on postregional literary and cultural production with an emphasis on the U.S. West and Southwest. His most recent book is In the Remington Moment, which was published in 2010 by the University of Nebraska Press. His most recent published and forthcoming articles are on Cormac McCarthy’s border trilogy novels, the “CSI: Las Vegas” television show and the Coen Brothers’ cinematic West. He is past president of the Western Literature Association and two-time recipient of the Don D. Walker Prize for best essay western American literary studies.