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Karen de Melo

Graduate Student

Karen de Melo (she/her/hers) is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Spanish and Portuguese department at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation, in which she analyzes portrayals of futurity in Latin American and Caribbean literature, is tentatively titled “We Bring with Us the Strength of Tomorrow: Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Speculative Fiction”. Her research focuses on authors whose literary works of speculative fiction foreground Afro and Indigenous elements in their literary projects. The main question that guides her project is: How have works of speculative fiction been challenging a hegemonic system that has historically oppressed Afro and Indigenous subjects in the Caribbean and Brazil? Her analysis draws from the idea that centrality of time has been a constant element in recent artistic manifestations and movements that seek to create spaces for counterhegemonic narratives. Her previous publications include a chapter in the collection of essays entitled Literatura e Direitos humanos (2018), organized by professor and researcher Regina Delcastagnè, in Brazil.