Dr Rebecca Jarman
- Position: Associate Professor of Latin American Studies
- Areas of expertise: Latin American culture, history, society, and politics. Urbanization, poverty, and state-making in Venezuela. Landslides in the Andes and beyond, conflict and reconstruction.
- Email: R.S.E.Jarman@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 7617
- Location: 2.35 Michael Sadler
- Website: Rebecca Jarman | Moving Mountains | Twitter | Googlescholar | ORCID
I have been at the University of Leeds since September 2015, where I began as a Teaching Fellow in Latin American Studies in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies. I completed my doctoral studies at the Centre of Latin American Studies in the University of Cambridge, where I held a Mallinson Scholarship and where I also obtained my MPhil in Latin American Studies and my MA in Modern and Medieval Languages.
I speak English, Spanish, and Welsh, and some French and Portuguese. I am currently learning Quechua.
- Direction of International Activities (on leave)
I have spent much of my professional life working with communities and institutions in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and the UK. My research is situated at the intersections between culture and history in contemporary Latin America, focusing on the forces that make places and communities. I examine the ways in which these forces are mediated in visual and textual discourse, and how such discursive practices create social imaginaries in postcolonial and decolonial environments.
I currently hold an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship for an interdisciplinary project called Moving Mountains. Situated at the intersections of disaster studies and the geological humanities, the project is animated by a series of initial provocations: What happens to towns and cities that are destroyed by landslides? How do their communities come to live with disaster? What are the afterlives of telluric catastrophes? How are these afterlives shaped by the geophysical environment? In exploring these questions, I seek to analyse the role played by the imagination, cultural production, and memory in survival, resilience, and reconstruction. Previous iterations of this research have been sponsored by AHRC Language Acts, the British Council, and the Newton Fund.
This work has developed from my previous research on urban poverty in Venezuela. I have recently published my latest book, Representing the Barrios: Culture, Politics, and Urban Poverty in Twentieth-Century Caracas, with the University of Pittsburgh Press. Tracing the evolution of informal neighbourhoods -- the barrios -- and the social anxieties that accompanied urbanization in Venezuela, Representing the Barrios analyses novels, short stories, films, newspaper reports, political essays, poetry and song lyrics by canonical authors and lesser-known figures. In doing so, it unpicks the entangled relationship between populist politics, the oil industry and urban poverty, while also narrating a history of contemporary Venezuelan culture.
Beyond this, I am intestered in institutional history, geopolitics, global industries and evolving epistomologies. You can listen to ‘The Bingley Archive’, a research podcast about these topics, on SoundCloud. I am co-founder of Women Researching Violence, a research network that began in 2020 and that is funded by the British Academy.
Media, Impact, and Engagement
My latest media work includes contributions to BBC 5 Live, BBC World Service,BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Wales, BBC History Magazine, BBC World Histories Magazine, e-flux, Art Monthly, and The Conversation, among other publications. I regularly introduce Latin American films at festivals and screenings across the UK, and have co-ordinated international cinema focus groups and workshops. I have collaborated with theatre professionals to produce original performances for film and stage. I am passionate about the power of storytelling and have produced numerous podcasts using my research materials. I practice Spanish-English translation and have a broad portfolio that includes subtitling, and literary and academic texts. See my personal website for more about this work.
Talks and Presentations
- May 2023: “Ríos vivos, tierra viajera: Colaboraciones curatolriales con territorios en movimiento”, Departamento de Historia, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
- March 2023: “Godfrey Bingley and the Late Nineteenth-Century Geological Imagination”, History of Geology Group, Geological Society of London
- October 2021: “Wandering and Sleeplessness: An Ethics of Experimentalism in Performing the Legacies of a Peruvian Earthquake”, Ethics and Subjectivity, University of Bristol
- November 2019: “States of Disaster, Immediate and Protracted Impacts of a Peruvian Landslide on the Health and Wellbeing of Survivors”, The Changing Face of Major Incidents, NHS Health Prepared Wales
- March 2018: "Of Literature and Landslides: Making Sense of Catastrophes in Contemporary Andean Writing", Vigdís Finnbogadótir Institut of Foreign Languages, University of Iceland
- March 2017: "The Nature of Revolution: Disasters, Citizenship and Countercultures in Bolivarian Venezuela", School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University
- November 2016: "Bolivarian Landslides: Disaster, Revolution and the Future in New Venezuelan Narratives", Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
Select Conference Papers
- May 2020: “Acerca del “tiempo de ahora”: Reflexionas sobre las memorias de la catástrofe de Yungay”, Jornada Preparatoria Congreso Internacional 1970: Cataclismo en el norte del Perú, PUCP, CERESIS, INAIGEM
- September 2019: “Scales of Disaster: The 1970 Yungay Landslide and the Geological Imagination”, Radical Americas, UCL Institute of the Americas
- March 2019: “Made in Chihuahua: Films, Funding and Frontiers in Northern Mexico”, Liverpool Annual Film Lecture and Network Event, University of Liverpool
- January 2019: “Geology, Photography and Institutional History in the Godfrey Bingley Archives”, Arts of Extraction, Essex University
- May 2018: "A Home for the Damned? Disasters, Weirdness and (Un)Belonging in Literary Renditions of Torre David", International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Barcelona
- April 2018: "'Chronicle of a Landslide Foretold: Investigating the "Tragedia de Armero" in Testimonial Colombian Detective Fiction", American Comparative Literature Association, UCLA
- April 2017: "Naturalizing Urbanization: Disaster, Detritus and Progress in 1930s Venezuelan Visual Culture", International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Lima
- Standing Conference for Latin American Studies
- AHRC Peer Review College
I am a passionate educator and enjoy working with students principally in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies. My undergraduate teaching spans Latin American culture, history, cinema, and politics from the nineteenth century onwards. I also taech on cultures of disaster on intercultural, interdisciplinary modules.
As well as the PhD students listed below, I currently supervise the following projects:
- Barbara Grut, “"Left Populism, Charismatic Leadership and Missionary Politics: The Presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador"
- Andrea Vásquez, “Intergenerational learning on disaster preparedness from children to parents: communicating the lived experience of school preparedness plans through immersive technologies”
Research groups and institutes
- Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American
- Network for Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Studies
- Digital Cultures
- Participatory research
- Theatre, Music and Performance
- Cultural studies
- Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures
- Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems
- Cinema and Television
- Popular culture