Dr. Jason A. Bartles is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at West Chester University. He received his Ph.D. in Latin American Literatures and Cultures from the University of Maryland, College Park. His research explores the ways in which political, ethical, aesthetic, and scientific discourses are inscribed in the fiction and essays of non-canonical Latin American and U.S. Latinx writers from the historical avant-garde to the present. In particular, he focuses mostly on the Southern Cone and Cuba with occasional connections to Mexico. Moving beyond the debates about the Boom and the committed intellectual, he works toward a nuanced understanding of the sixties and its legacies. In addition, he examines how the nineteenth century was creatively appropriated during that era.
He has recently finished the manuscript for ArteletrA: Latin America in the Sixties and the Politics of Going Unnoticed. This book revises the disenchanted narratives that still frame discussions of the cultural politics of the 1960s. Furthermore, it challenges the core notion by which literary and cultural studies claim political relevancy in the contemporary world: the task of making visible the invisible. Though useful at times, visibility is also a trap set by the surveillance technologies of biopolitics and the market to easily co-opt and order newly visible individuals and groups. What is at stake is a series of aesthetic and ethical tools for doing politics without having to make someone visible within those institutions. These tools cohere around a practice he calls “the politics of going unnoticed,” which he reads through the works of three noteworthy, though underappreciated authors: Calvert Casey (1924–1969), a gay Cuban-American writer, who worked and published in Havana from 1958 to 1965 when he went into exile because of his growing discrepancies with the Revolution; Juan Filloy (1894–2000), the “writer from three centuries” and author of thousands of palindromes from Córdoba, Argentina, who returned from a thirty-year editorial silence in the sixties; and Armonía Somers (1914–1994), a Uruguayan writer of dark, enigmatic tales, who was originally dismissed by the cultural establishment for her provocative style. What unites these writers are the stories they tell about those who go unnoticed. More than a deconstructive critique, the politics of going unnoticed moves toward a form of community that takes place in the open, in a field without norms for behavior, dividing walls, or violent bids for hegemony. Despite the many failures of the sixties, in the open it becomes possible once more to disagree and engage in the messy business of politics.