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Jessica Sequeira

King's College

I am an intellectual historian and literary scholar focused on philosophical and literary thought from Latin America in the first half of the 20th century. Currently I am writing an intellectual historical account of how six Latin American thinkers (from Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil) brought South Asian ideas into their work.

The philosophies and literatures of South Asia have been taken up by Latin American writers with various ethical, legal, psychological, educational and political motivations behind their readings. I am particularly interested in new understandings of subjecthood and the human, positionings of Latin American thought with relation to the global modernist context, and translations (of both natural languages and culture) between Spanish, Hindi, English and other regional languages. I am looking at books of poetry, philosophical texts, literary essays, magazine contributions and journalistic accounts.

Previously I completed an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge (with distinction) and an AB at Harvard University in Social Studies / Intellectual History (magna cum laude). For the last decade I have been based in Santiago and Buenos Aires as an active writer, literary translator and teacher.

I see my creative and academic work as complementary; books I have published include the novel A Furious Oyster, the collection of stories Rhombus and Oval, the collection of essays Other Paradises: Poetic Approaches to Thinking in a Technological Age and the hybrid work A Luminous History of the Palm. In addition, I have translated over twenty books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, mostly by Latin American authors. My translation of Sara Gallardo's Land of Smoke was awarded the 2019 Premio Valle-Inclán by the Society of Authors and longlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. I also edit the magazine Firmament published by Sublunary Editions, featuring new writing from around the world.

My supervisors are Joanna Page and Shruti Kapila.

I am funded by the Cambridge Trust & King’s College Scholarship.

Selected publications

  • "Translating Power." Review of Poder, política y cultura by Edward Said, translated by Damián Alou Ramis. Forum for Modern Language Studies.
  • Review of Connected History: Essays and Arguments, by Sanjay Subrahmanyam. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.
  • Review of Inca Music Reimagined, by Vera Wolkowicz. Modern Language Review (forthcoming)
  • Review of Imagining India in Modern China: Literary Decolonization and the Imperial Unconscious, 1895 - 1962, by Gal Gvili. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (forthcoming)
  • "From Vieira to Andrade: Jesuits, Brazilian Modernists and Cultural Cannibalism." Portuguese Studies.
  • "Common Horizons: An Interview with Maristella Svampa." Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies.
  • "Mapuche Poetry as Global Intellectual History." Review of Poesía mapuche. Mundos superpuestos, by Iván Carrasco Muñoz. Global Intellectual History.
  • "The Split Selves of Modernity." Review of Modernity, Its Pathologies and Reenchantments, edited by Shail Mayaram. Global Intellectual History.
  • "What Only Musicians and Translators Know". LitHub.
  • "Creatures of the Popol Vuh." Aeon.

Teaching at Cambridge

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics

* SP1 - Introduction to the Language, Literatures and Cultures of the Spanish-speaking World

* SP5 - Latin American Culture and History

* SP12 - Optional Dissertation

* SP13 - Contemporary Latin American Culture

* SPB2 - Translation from Spanish

* SPC1 - Translation from and into Spanish

* Year Abroad Translation Projects


Faculty of History

* Evidence and Argument

* POL11: Political Philosophy and the History of Political Thought since c.1890


* Undergraduate Certificate in International Relations, Institute of Continuing Education ("Contemporary Political Issues in Latin America" — Lecture & Seminars)