Dr Rebecca Jarman

Research interests

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. To date, my work has examined 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.

My monograph, tentatively entitled Representing the barrios: Culture, Politics and Urban Poverty in Twentieth-Century Caracas, is forthcoming with the University of Pittsburgh Press. This is based on my doctoral research, undertaken at the University of Cambridge with the support of a Mallinson Scholarship and additional funds from the Simón Bolívar Trust and Santander. Tracing the evolution of informal neighbourhoods -- the barrios -- and the social anxieties that accompanied urbanization in Venezuela, the book analyses materials including novels, short stories, films, newspaper reports, political essays, poetry and song lyrics. It scrutinizes works by canonical authors and lesser-known figures concerned with urban development. 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. 

Developing from this is a second project called Moving Mountains that interrogates the cultural history of urban landslides in the Andes, particularly in Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. The research will be developed within the parameters of an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship, beginning in March 2022. Situated at the intersections of disaster heritage and the environmental 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 survive after the event of their destruction? Who determines the forms and the lifespans of their afterlives? In exploring these questions, I seek to analyse the role played by cultural production in survival and reconstruction. Previous iterations of this research have been sponsored by AHRC Language Acts, the British Council and the Newton Fund.

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.

You can also follow me on YouTube and Twitter.

Talks and Presentations

Guest Lectures

  • 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

  • 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

Media and Communications

My latest media work includes contributions to BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Wales, BBC World Service, BBC History Magazine, BBC World Histories Magazine 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 practice Spanish-English translation and have a broad portfolio that includes subtitling, and literary and academic texts.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Standing Conference for Latin American Studies

Student education

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 and, more recently, I have taught on cultures of disaster on intercultural, interdisciplinary modules.

In 2021/22, I am module co-ordinator for SPPO3035 Revolutionary Icons in Contemporary Latin American Culture and SPPO2100/01 Issues in Hispanic Cinemas. I also contribute to MODL3610 Adventures of the Imagination. At present, I am supervising doctoral projects on topics that include women’s writing in Spain, populism in Mexico, and disasters in Chile. I warmly welcome inquiries from prospective students. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Politics
  • Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American
  • Network for Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Studies
  • Conflict
  • Digital Cultures
  • History
  • Participatory research
  • Heritage
  • 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

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>