Visiting Assistant Professor of English
B.A., Amherst College, Ph.D., Harvard University
Dr. Isabel Duarte-Gray holds degrees from Amherst College (BA in English and Russian) and Harvard University (Ph.D. in English). Her work focuses on Latinx literary production and book history. Her first poetry collection, Even Shorn, debuted with Sarabande Books and was included in the Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2021.
Her current book project, Unbinding Latinidad, asks how Latinx literary history traces a “horizon of publishable Latinidad,” which delimits which Latinx novels address the political interests and market demands of the US book market in a given period. Because the overhead of manufacturing and distributing books is substantial, the survival of novels by Latinx authors has overwhelmingly depended on the cooperation of Latinx authors with existing presses and routes of circulation. If, however, trade presses are only willing to assume the financial risk of certain narratives and not others, what becomes of works too formally complex or politically challenging to sell? How do market interests circumscribe ethnic artistic production, and how do Latinx artists expand that horizon through independent routes of circulation? In reframing Latinx literature as a double tradition of “publishable Latinidad” and texts of survivance, she calls into question the categories by which we process American minority literature, both as an alternative to traditional canon and as a marginal tradition reluctantly incorporated into that canon. Her work has appeared in Close Reading the Anthropocene and The Tacky South.