University of Rochester

Book on Complexity of Mexican Cultural Modernity Cited by Publishers' Group

March 29, 2007

Mexico's Ruins: Juan García Ponce and the Writing of Modernity, by University of Rochester Associate Professor Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández, has been designated a "Book of Note" by the American Association of University Presses (AAUP).

The AAUP is an organization of 127 not-for-profit scholarly publishers around the world that are affiliated with research universities, scholarly societies, foundations, museums, and other research universities. Rodríguez-Hernández's book is noted in the association's "Books for Understanding" program, a public resource launched following September 11 to answer the need for quick and accurate research information by identifying books on topics in the news.

In Mexico's Ruins (State University of New York Press, 2006), Rodríguez-Hernández explores the complexity of Mexico's ambiguous move toward modernity. Referencing the cultural metaphor of the ruin, which simultaneously connote a falling down and a rising up, he explores how artists and writers like Juan García Ponce felt a melancholic disconnect as their own intellectual paths diverged from the path of the official forms promoted by the state. He discusses public monuments, the Olympic Games, diaries, public spectacles, and photographs of provincial life as intertwined narratives that tell contradicting stories. The book has been described as opening new connections between the concepts of modernity and ruin.

Rodríguez-Hernández has published extensively on Hispanic literatures and cultures, including postmodern fiction, film and art, and how European philosophical traditions appear in Latin American texts. He is an editorial consultant for the journals CON/NOTAS; Literature, Interpretation, Theory; and Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, and has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Centro de Investigaciones Literarias at the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, and the University of Houston. Before joining the faculty of the University of Rochester in 2000, Rodríguez-Hernández taught at the University of Houston, Hamilton College, and Cornell University. He teaches courses in Spanish language, Spanish and Latin American literature and film, Latinos in the United States, Caribbean literature and culture, and Cuban culture in Cuba and abroad.