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Paul Merchant

Paul Merchant

Research

My research examines figures of house and home in contemporary Argentine and Chilean film (2000-2015). The home, and with it conservative notions of familial and territorial belonging, has often been associated with repressive practices or patriarchal structures of authority, particularly during periods of dictatorship. My research looks at how recent documentary and fiction productions from Argentina and Chile destabilize the term, and discusses the changing ways in which domestic spaces relate to and represent questions of memory, modernity, labour, and hospitality.

This work involves a fresh examination of the porous boundaries between the private and the public, the material and the imaginary, and between nature and culture. The films thus prompt questions on community, the politics of media, and gender, which I explore in dialogue with thinkers from Nelly Richard and Beatriz Sarlo to Paolo Virno and Jean-Luc Nancy.

Publications

  • Forthcoming, Introduction to and translation of Pablo Corro, ‘Weak Poetics’, Film Studies.
  • July 2016, ‘Melodramatic Materials: The Roof and The Man Next Door’, Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies 4:3.
  • December 2015, ‘Beyond Biopolitics: Reading Bolaño’s Human Fragments’, Modern Languages Open.

Teaching

  • SP1: Introduction to Hispanic Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge)
  • SP5: Topics in Latin American Culture and History (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge)
  • SPB2: Translation from Spanish (for first and second-year undergraduate students) (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge)
  • CS6: European Film (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge)

Other work

I have translated work by Mercedes Araujo, Mariano Blatt and Gerardo Sifuentes for Palabras Errantes, and texts by Raúl Ruiz, Julio Le Parc and Oscar Murillo for the Serpentine Gallery in London. I am a former editor of the Latin American current affairs website Pulsamérica.