Alberto Ribas-Casasayas: Ghostly Hauntings in Contemporary Transhispanic Storytelling
Here in the U.S., hauntings have surfaced time and again in American literature. But despite the significant presence of ghostly metaphors in Latin American culture, analysis of the haunting and the spectral has been missing in book format—that is until Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Alberto Ribas-Casasayas started delving into it.
“Even though spectrality has become a relatively fashionable topic now, with substantial contributions focusing on Spain, Chile, and Argentina,” he says, “this compilation is the first one to address it as a common phenomenon in the Transhispanic world.”
The book in question, Espectros, is a collection of original scholarly studies that presents the first volume-length exploration of the spectral in literature, film, and photography of Latin America, Spain, and the Latino diaspora.
Ribas-Casasayas wrote most of the introductory materials in the book, and a mix of established and up-and-coming Latin American and Iberian Studies scholars based in the U.S. authored the work’s 12 chapters. From manifestations of the spectral in the aftermath of dictatorships and civil war, to the ghostly in photography, to the spectral in market economies (which he’s especially proud of), the book leaves no ethereal stone unturned.
So far, reception has been promising. “My co-editor and I already have received invitations to present at conferences in the States and Mexico, and we have received a positive endorsement from Lois P. Zamora, a foremost voice in Latin American Studies.”
Aside from Espectros, Ribas-Casasayas’ research has been published in top tier journals in Latin American and Spanish Studies, and he is a proud member of UC-Mexicanistas, an international community of scholars in Mexican Studies that originated in California and stands as one of the most prolific research groups in literary studies to date.
In addition to literary works, Ribas-Casasayas also enjoys the spectral in some of Guillermo del Toro’s films, including El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone) and El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth), which you can find on the syllabus for many of his classes on contemporary Latin American narrative and film.