Appointed As

Postdoctoral Fellow in Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity, Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH)


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


University of Wisconsin-Madison

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Hispanic Languages and Literature, University of California, Los Angeles

Dissertation Abstract

“Orphan Lives, Tortured Cities, and Ecosocial Human Rights: Cultural Representations of Mining Terror in the Andes”

Orphan Lives, Tortured Cities, and Ecosocial Human Rights: Cultural Representations of Mining Terror in the Andes analyzes cultural representations of the Peruvian Andean mining space from the second half of the nineteenth century to 1930, focusing on the mining city as a totalitarian experiment. Chapter 1 examines the foundational discourses on mining and nation through the lens of gender, and explores the relation between biopolitics and ecology in the novel El tesoro de los incas (1865), by Argentine writer Juana Manuela Gorriti, and the play Hima-Sumac (1884), by Peruvian writer Clorinda Matto de Turner. Chapter 2 analyses the representation of spatial politics and the culture of mining terror both in the report-essay La conducta de la compañía minera del Cerro de Pasco (1914), by German-Peruvian social activist Dora Mayer, and in the report Informe sobre los humos de la Oroya (1926), by Peruvian engineer José J. Bravo. Chapter 3 analyzes the representation of the proletarianization process and the dehumanizing routinization of the mining city in a selection of images by Andean photographer Sebastián Rodríguez, and in the essay “Cómo viven los mineros en Cerro de Pasco” (1936), by Andean writer José María Arguedas. The main contribution of my dissertation is the proposal of two new concepts that can be applied to read other cultural representations of modern mining in Latin America. The first is the concept of “orphan lives”, based both on the concept of “bare life” by Giorgio Agamben, and the Andean notion of “wakcha” (orphan). The second is the concept of “tortured cities” or “tortured zones”, based on an Arguedas’ metaphor of the mining city, as well as on Foucault’s definition of punishment. I propose both concepts to describe the eco-biopolitical dispossession of Andean lives by modern mining.