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Things with a History


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: A Tale of Two Materialisms
Part I: Objects
1. Raw Stuff Disavowed
2. Of Rocks and Particles
3. Corpse Narratives as Literary History
Part II: Assemblages
4. Politics and Praxis of Hyperfetishism
5. Digitalia from the Margins
Conclusions: Extractivism Estranged

About the Author

Hector Hoyos is associate professor of Latin American literature and culture at Stanford University. He is the author of Beyond Bolano: The Global Latin American Novel (Columbia, 2015).


In this singular book, Hoyos unveils a world of unexplored relations between subjects, objects, materiality, and immateriality. He explores the social pact between words and things. Through the idea of transcultural materialism, Hoyos discusses how contemporary Latin American literature mobilizes cultural meanings to illuminate moments in an exploitative global economy. The book deploys a sophisticated web of literary genealogies, as well as theories of materialism, and engages us in new conversations on literature in the global context. -- Graciela Montaldo, Columbia University
Things with a History provides a fresh optic on the new materialisms of our time and on the history of things (rubber, cell phones, corpses) that have shaped the history of our present. Hector Hoyos engages a wonderful range of contemporary Latin American authors and a powerful tradition attuned to both nonhuman agency and human responsibility, unwilling to unlearn the lessons of historical materialism. Grappling with these regional "literatures of extraction" as a political ecologist, Hoyos contributes to today's most pressing critical conversations. -- Bill Brown, author of Other Things
Ambitiously conceptualized and beautifully written, Things with a History takes up the formidable task of connecting the humanities with material science and biology and succeeds in opening up new spaces for critique. Hoyos offers provocative pairings of overconsumption and hunger, abundance and scarcity, overextraction and underutilization. By reading a dazzling array of authors and thinkers from Latin America and beyond, Hoyos demonstrates, with uncommon facility, the urgent need for an engaged world literary politics. -- B. Venkat Mani, author of Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany's Pact with Books
In a fine-grained textual commentary, Things with a History follows the texts' meanderings, noting their complexities and avoiding unnecessary reductiveness. Combining critical imagination with theoretical rigor, Hoyos persuasively breathes new life and meaning into "new materialism" and its predecessors. -- Anibal Gonzalez-Perez, Yale University

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