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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Carlos Fonseca

Lecturer in Latin America Literature and Culture, Trinity College
Affiliated College Lecturer at Newnham College
Spanish & Portuguese
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 7990 033 478

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom

Trinity College 
Sidgwick Avenue 


Carlos Fonseca is a writer and academic. His teaching, writing and research focuses on modern Latin American literature, art and culture, with particular emphasis on concepts of history, nature and politics. He is interested in the intersection between philosophy, literature and art history. He holds a PhD from Princeton University and was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship based at the Centre for Latin American Studies at Cambridge. He is the author of two novels, Coronel Lágrimas and Museo animal, both published in Spanish by Anagrama and in English by Restless Books and Farrar, Straus and Giroux respectively. He is the author of the book of essays La lucidez del miope, a book that explores writers as diverse as Ricardo Piglia, W.G. Sebald, Marta Aponte, Joao Gilberto Noll and Enrique Vila-Matas, among others. For this book he was awarded the National Prize of Culture of Costa Rica, in the essay category.

His academic monograph The Literature of Catastrophe: Nature, Disaster and Revolution in Latin America is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. It tells the story of how nature and history intertwined during the violent aftermath of the Spanish American Wars of Independence. Synthesizing intellectual history and readings of textual production, it reimagines the 

emergence of the modern Latin American nation-states beyond the scope of the harmonious “foundational fictions” which marked the emergence of the nation as an organic community.

His new project The Buried Archive: Latin America and the Rise of a Forensic Aesthetics, sketches a possible history of the rise of a post-memory witnessing aesthetic in Latin America, while simultaneously tracing the story of the rise of human rights forensic anthropology groups in the region.

Teaching interests: 

Latin American literature and cultures

Research interests: 

Caribbean and Central American Literature, 19th century, 20th and 21st century Latin American literature and art, ecohumanities, philosophy of history, aesthetics.

Recent research projects: 

The Buried Archive: Latin America and the Rise of a Forensic Aesthetics

Published works: 



The Literature of Catastrophe: Nature, Disaster and Revolution in Latin America (Bloomsbury Press, 2020)


Books of Essays:


La lucidez del miope (Editorial Germinal) Winner of he National Prize of Culture of Costa Rica




Coronel Lágrimas (Anagrama, 2015)

       Published in English as Colonel Lágrimas (Restless Books, 2016)

Museo animal (Anagrama, 2017)

      Forthcoming in English as Natural History (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)


He has also written articles on Simón Bolívar and Alexander Von Humboldt, Ricardo Piglia and technology, Roberto Bolaño and forensic aesthetics, Marta Aponte and the biographical archive, Enrique Vila-Matas and the avant-garde, among other topics…