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"Department of Spanish and Portuguese"

Adam Joseph Shellhorse
440 Anderson Hall

PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Assistant Professor of Portuguese and Spanish


Research Interests

My areas of specialization are 19th and 20th century Brazilian and Spanish American literature, poetics and postcolonial thought from a comparative, Latin American context.  Bridging these historically divided fields, three problems guide my research: 1) the constructivist, radical reflexive turn in Brazilian poetics and art during the 1950s and 60s; 2) the legacies of the historical Latin American avant-gardes, especially Brazilian Modernismo and Anthropophagia; and 3) the crisis, examination, and discussion of literature and nation-state discourses in the twentieth century and, in consequence, the literary’s uneven relation with politics and gender in Latin American Studies today.  No doubt, my aim is to forge a new view of the problem nexus, and state of affairs in the field, that fruitfully underwrite this discussion. 

My current book project researches the ways in which Latin American literary discourse in the 1950s and 60s became inextricably entangled in discourses of revolutionary politics, poetics, and aesthetic innovation.  Through a comparative study of some of the more emblematic and marginal writers in Brazil and Argentina of that time, I investigate how the literary in Latin America assigned itself the task of creating a new language, far from homogenous, for negotiating the epochal problematic of Latin American dependency, national popular revolution, and marginal social subjects in Brazil and Argentina.  The book examines how Latin America's "new" vanguard writers reasserted the status of art as a site of critique uniquely empowered to disrupt conventional categories and pose fresh ways of conceptualizing the public sphere.  Their work in the 1950s and 60s was instrumental in opening channels for the Boom writers, and their vitalism and proposals can be felt in contemporary writers and thinkers.

Coinciding with my ongoing field research in Brazil and Spanish America where I am in dialogue with such leading poets as Augusto de Campos, Ferreira Gullar and Frederico Barbosa, my next book project is centered in a reassessment of Brazilian Concrete Poetry and Art.

Most Recent Publications

“The Explosion of the Letter: The Crisis of the Poetic and Representation in João Cabral de Melo Neto’s Morte e Vida Severina: auto de Natal pernambucano,” Luso-Brazilian Review. (Forthcoming).

“Theory of the Non-Object.”  Translation Adam Joseph Shellhorse.  By Ferreira Gullar. Art in Brazil: (1950 – Present). Brussels; Ludion Publishers. (Forthcoming).

“Neo-Concrete Manifesto.”  Translation Laura Pérez and Adam Joseph Shellhorse. By Ferreira Gullar. Art in Brazil: (1950 – Present).  Brussels; Ludion Publishers. (Forthcoming).

“No hay literatura inocente”: An Interview with Argentine Intellectual and Novelist David Viñas.”   Letras Hispanas: Revista de Literatura y Cultura, 6:2 (Fall 2009): 127-37.

Teaching Interests

My research interests very much inform and energize my teaching.  Accordingly, I am delighted to join the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and faculty at Temple University to teach Brazilian Portuguese, literature, and culture, in addition to offering courses in Spanish American literature, language, and critical theory.  As my research is centered in bridging these historically divided fields, as well as broadening the field of Latin American Studies by considering the innovative aesthetic, historical, cultural and political legacies of the continent’s largest and fastest growing country, Brazil, I am excited to expand the Department’s course offerings with classes that explore the complexity and variety of Lusophone cultures, from Africa to Portugal and Brazil.  My hope is to assist my fellow faculty members in enriching the Temple students’ cultural horizons, and to prepare them to think about culture, literature, and language critically, historically, and comparatively.  Although I firmly impart to my students the value of close reading and my passion for literature and research, I also incorporate into my classes Brazilian, Spanish American and U.S. Latina/o thought, theories of identity and gender, as well as alternative media such as film, the visual arts and music.  In mentoring graduate and undergraduate students the fundamentals of research, and the importance of constructing coherent outlines and revision, it is furthermore my hope that they will come to regard the texts and media of Brazil, the Lusophone world, and Spanish America as invitations to cross frontiers in the way they read, perceive and interact in the global world, and as tools to critique and challenge cultural limits.

Selected Honors and Distinctions

The Center For Latin American Studies Research Travel Grant 2010, University of California, Berkeley

Summer Research Travel Grant, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Berkeley: 2010, Brazil; 2009, Brazil; 2008, Brazil and Argentina

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award 2009-2010, University of California, Berkeley

Fellowship for Portuguese Language School at Middlebury College, Vermont, 2003

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Lucero: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2003-2004




Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Anderson Hall 4th Floor 1114 West Berks Street Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090
Phone: (215) 204-8285 Fax: (215) 204-3731