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headshot of Sandra Casanova-Vizcaino

Sandra Casanova-Vizcaino

Affiliated Faculty

Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program

Background

Casanova-Vizcaino's research primarily focuses on contemporary Spanish Caribbean fiction and the history and evolution of popular literary genres. More specifically, she studies how the different forms of Gothic fiction present a dark reality that conflicts with the image of the tropical paradise exported to the rest of the world. 

Her book, El gótico transmigrado: narrativa puertorriqueña de horror, terror y misterio en el siglo XXI [The Transmigrated Gothic: Horror, Terror, and Mystery in 21st-century Puerto Rican Narrative], examines how contemporary Gothic fiction in Puerto Rico is currently redefining the national literary canon by exposing the monstrous, the uncanny and the excessively violent in its society. Her work delves into the relationship between fiction and society in the specific context of an island undergoing a deep political, economic and environmental crisis defined by many as a humanitarian emergency. The characters, urban and rural spaces, and conflicts presented in the novels and short stories analyzed in her book suggest that horror, terror and mystery dominate 21st-century Puerto Rican society.

Throughout her publications, she explores the ways in which literature and film establish a dialogue about Puerto Rican and Caribbean cultural identity, focusing on fiction’s interpretation of the violence caused by (neo)colonialism, misogyny, racism, homophobia and socio-economic, political and environmental crises. By studying contemporary expressions of popular genres and modes, she aims to understand how the Hispanic Caribbean remains a greatly misunderstood and overlooked region and how its cultural production can provide new and innovative ways of thinking about its history, territory and people.

Books

  • El gótico transmigrado: narrativa puertorriqueña de horror, terror y misterio en el siglo XXI (Ediciones Corregidor, 2021)
  • Aquelarre de cuentos: Antología de terror insólito escrito por mujeres (co-edited with Inés Ordiz, HUSO, 2021)
  • Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture (co-edited with Inés Ordiz, Routledge, 2018)

Recent publications

  • “De la Confederación al sexilio: El Caribe siniestro en la película Under My Nails.Revista Cruce, no. 3, 2022, 48-53.
  • “Recordando a los bárbaros: la historia gótica puertorriqueña en la ficción de Vanessa Vilches Norat” (Article for dossier entitled “Horror and the Supernatural in Latin America,” edited by Liliana Colanzi and Debra Castillo). (Forthcoming in Hispanic Issues)
  • “‘Entre caníbales’: consumidores y consumidos en ‘La dignidad de los muertos’ de Ana María Fuster Lavín.” Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, vol. 3, no. 7, 2018, pp. 196-205.
  • “‘Home, Sweet, Home’: Colonial Structures and the Gothic Genre in Contemporary Puerto Rican Narrative.” Gothic Studies Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, 2017, pp. 22-33.
  • “Globalgothic Americas: Consuming and Consumed Bodies in 21st Century Narrative.” The Edinburgh Companion to Globalgothic, edited by Rebecca Duncan. (co-written with Inés Ordiz; Forthcoming)
  • “Latin American Gothic.” The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Gothic, edited by Clive Bloom, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, pp. 31-47. (co-written with Inés Ordiz)

Education

  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, University of Pennsylvania 
  • BA, University of Puerto Rico

Research Interests

  • Gothic and horror fiction
  • Puerto Rican literature, film and culture
  • Gender violence

Teaching Interests

  • Latin American Horror Stories
  • Crisis Adverted?: Puerto Rican Narratives
  • Reading Puerto Rico: Fiction, History and Society
  • Hispanic Culture
  • Advanced Reading and Interpretation

Awards

  • IASH Faculty Fellowship fall 2015