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Laura Vargas Zuleta

I started the Ph.D. program in the Romance Studies Department at Duke University in the Fall of 2020 as a student of the Romance track. My interests are contemporary (20th and 21st Centuries) Caribbean literatures in both the Francophone and Hispanic contexts. I want to explore issues related to the intersection between feminisms, queer identities, critical animal studies, ecocriticism, and race. In other words, what interests me are issues of consumption/exploitation of bodies (factory farming, sexual violence, slavery, racism, deforestation, etc.) considered as "other" by hegemonic systems and how they play in literary texts, as well as the forms of resistance that arise in the Caribbean context to fight those forms of consumption/exploitation.
My dissertation focuses on six contemporary Caribbean novels from Cuba, Colombia, República Dominicana, Haiti, Guadeloupe, and Martinique. It explores how these texts address issues of toxification and the toxins humans engage with every day.
I enrolled in the CLACS graduate certificate to acquire more tools that help me explore my interests and recently finished Duke's last level of Haitian Creole.
I hold a BA in Literature from the Universidad de los Andes of Colombia, where I wrote my creative writing monograph Más vale pájaro enterrado, a series of short stories that explores our relationship with other animal species. I also hold a MA in Hispanic Studies from Boston College, where I completed a Graduate Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies and a Certificate Program on Responding to Campus Sexual Assault.

Current Appointments & Affiliations