SUSANA CHAVEZ-SILVERMAN

  • RESIDENCY DATES : May 1st 2008 to Jun 30th 2008
  • PRACTICE : Writer
  • FROM : USA

Susana Chávez-Silverman, A.M. Harvard University (Romance Languages), Ph.D. UC Davis (Spanish) has as taught at UCSC, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Davis, as well as the University of South Africa before coming to Pomona College.

Chávez-Silverman grew up (at least) bilingually and biculturally between Los Angeles, Madrid and Guadalajara, México, the daughter of a Jewish Hispanist and a Chicana teacher. After a peripatetic university and post-graduate career, and years spent living in Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Spain and South Africa, she is currently professor of Spanish, Latino/a and Latin American Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She specializes in gender and sexuality studies, autobiography/memoir, Latin American and U.S. Latina/Chicana literature, poetry, and feminist pedagogy. She has published numerous essays on these topics and co-edited the books Tropicalizations: Transcultural Representations of Latinidad (1997) with Frances R. Aparicio, and Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American and Spanish Culture (2000) with Librada Hernández.

Her book, Killer Crónicas:Bilingual Memories, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2004. This collection of chronicles began in 2001, after Susana was awarded a fellowship by the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project on contemporary Argentine women's poetry. She spent thirteen months in Buenos Aires where, in addition to research and writing on her official (academic) book, she began to send bilingual, punning "letters from the southern [cone] front" to colleagues and friends by email. Susana says: "Living in Buenos Aires, that gorgeous, turn of the century city in a country on the brink of (economic) collapse-home to many of the authors and artists I had long admired (Borges, Cortázar, Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, and before them the foundational Romantics, Sarmiento and Echeverría)-brought out a sense of self, dis/placed yet oddly at home, in a cultural, linguistic and even tangible way. In Buenos Aires, the fragmented parts of me, the voices, cultures, and places inside of me, rubbed up against each other and struck fire. I called my email missives "Crónicas," inspired by the somewhat rough-hewn, journalistic, often fantastic first-hand accounts sent "home" by the early conquistadores, and refashioned by modern-day counterparts such as Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Poniatowska, and Cristina Pacheco." One of Susana's crónicas, "Anniversary Crónica," inspired by the June 16th anniversary of both Susana's parents' wedding and that of the so-called "Soweto Riots" in South Africa, was recently awarded First prize in Personal Memoir in the "Chicano Literary Excellence Contest" sponsored by the U.S. national literary magazine el Andar.