Dr. Duncan is retired, but can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout my career, I've been interested in the fantastic and magical realism in Latin American literature and film, and much of my research has centered on the way these texts interrogate and interact with conventional representations of realism. I'm also interested in popular culture in Latin America, which has led me to explore soap operas, romance fiction, detective fiction, and fantasy as important forms of cultural expression. I'm especially attracted to transgressive literature and film because I see them as attempts to push back traditional gender and racial boundaries and question social norms that shape social and individual identity.
I continue to look at work produced by and about women in Latin America, with an emphasis on Mexico, the Spanish Caribbean, and the Southern Cone. These novels, short story collections and films not only look at "women's issues" but also reclaim and reconstruct national history from the point of view of those who have been traditionally excluded. They address imbalances in power and offer alternative ways of thinking about personal and public history.
For the past five years or so, I've become increasingly interested in testimonial literature in Latin America and how it overlaps with oral history. Currently, I'm collecting patakis (folktales) and refranes (proverbs) associated with the Lucumi religion in Cuba. These stories and sayings shed light on the worldview of Afro Cubans from the 19th century onward, and also reveal a wealth of information about the development of the Afro-Cuban ritual language which continues to be used today. I'm looking at how the proverbs are derived from Lucumi divination practices, and what their role is in shaping the cultural identity of a particular community such as the one in Palmira. Related to this project, I continue to analyze film and literature as an expression of Afro-Cuban culture, especially in terms of how Afro Cuban religion is represented in cultural texts.