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Celebrating Recent Work by Ana Fernández-Cebrián

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateApril 9, 2024 timeTuesday, 6:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
  • NOTE: Registration required, even by those with CU/BC IDs.

  • Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required.
cover of Fables of Development Capitalism

Fables of Development: Capitalism and Social Imaginaries in Spain (1950-1967)
by Ana Fernández-Cebrián

Fables of Development: Capitalism and Social Imaginaries in Spain (1950-1967) focuses on a basic paradox: why is it that the so-called "Spanish economic miracle"—a purportedly secular, rational, and technocratic process—was fictionally portrayed through providential narratives in which supernatural and extraordinary elements were often involved? In order to answer this question, this book examines cultural fictions and social life at the time when Spain turned from autarchy to the project of industrial and tourist development. Beyond the narratives about progress, modernity, and consumer satisfaction on a global and national level, the cultural archives of the period offer intellectual findings about the expectations of a social majority who lived in the precariousness and who did not have sufficient income to acquire the consumer goods that were advertised. Through the scrutiny of interdisciplinary archives (literary texts, cinema, newsreels, comics, and journalistic sources, among other cultural artifacts), each chapter offers an analysis of the social imaginaries about the circulation and distribution of capital and resources in the period from 1950, when General Franco's government began to integrate into international markets and institutions following its agreements with the United States, to 1967, when the implementation of the First Development Plan (1964-1967) was completed.

About the Author

Ana Fernández-Cebrián is an Assistant Professor of Modern Iberian Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the historical shifts pertaining to ideological production and the transformations of the public sphere in modern and contemporary Spain, with a special emphasis on literature, cultural studies, film, and media. She earned her B.A. in Hispanic Philology from Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, and her PhD in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University. Fables of Development: Capitalism and Social Imaginaries in Spain (1950-1967) is her first book. Her second book project, tentatively entitled "Land and Water: Literature of the Commons in Modern and Contemporary Spain," studies the relationship between nature, political and literary imagination, and communitarian experiences.

About the Speakers

Bruno Bosteels is the Acting Dean of Humanities, Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities, and Professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures with a joint appointment in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. He returned to Columbia in 2016, after having taught for thirteen years at Cornell University, for three years at Columbia, and for six years at Harvard University. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture, and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Badiou o el recomienzo del materialismo dialéctico (Palinodia), Alain Badiou: une trajectoire polémique (La Fabrique), Badiou and Politics (Duke), The Actuality of Communism (Verso).

Pablo Piccato is a professor at the Department of History at Columbia University. His research and teaching focus on modern Mexico, particularly on crime, politics, and culture. He has taught as visiting faculty in universities in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France, and has been director of Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies, Vice Chair of the Department of History, and University Senator. His books include City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900-1931 (2001), The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere (2010), and A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico (2017).

Alessandra Russo is Professor and Chair of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. Her research studies the theory, practice, and display of the arts in the early modern times, with a special emphasis on the artistic dynamics in the context of the Iberian colonization. Professor Russo's most recent book, A New Antiquity. Art and Humanity as Universal (1400-1600) (Penn State University Press), addresses the active role that the art objects encountered —but also pillaged and collected— in the global context of the Iberian colonization of the Americas, in Africa, and in Asia, had on the modern idea of art.

Benita Sampedro Vizcaya is a professor of Spanish colonial studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Hofstra University. Her research engages –academically and politically— with Spanish colonial pasts and presents, archives, and legacies, both in north and sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is invested in the study of colonial links within and beyond the frame of the multiple Spanish imperial Atlantic and global networks, and she has published extensively on the politics and processes of decolonization, colonial health and biopolitics, colonial domestic labor, colonial carceral systems, and on the ruins of late colonial modernity.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs. This event will be recorded. By being present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.