Humanities and Arts

Contact Information

Salisbury Laboratories, 03
Phone: +1-508-831-6587
Fax: +1-508-831-5932

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Aarti S. Madan

Though my primary area of research includes Latin American literary and cultural studies--particularly the intersection of literature and geography in 19th-century narrative--at WPI I teach the gamut of all things Spanish.

My students are often found chatting with Spanish-language partners from Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and more via Skype, courtesy of the online language exchange The Mixxer. Other days will find them scanning newspapers from the Spanish-speaking world to learn and present about current events. They complete such tasks for my courses, which at present include surveys of literature, film, and culture from Spain and Latin America; upper-level language sections; a fascinating course on issues of globalization, neoliberalism, and corporatism in Latin America; and U.S.-Latino literature. While these classes may differ in content and methodology, I always see myself as guide; I strive to lead students into otherwise unknown spheres. There, they learn to appreciate differences while better understanding themselves and their unique position in a diverse world.

As much as I enjoy simulating foreign lands in my classroom, there’s nothing better than the real thing. That’s why I designed the Buenos Aires Language & Culture Immersion, which occurs during E-Term in the summer. For four weeks of this residential experience, the capital city of Argentina functions as a hands-on Spanish classroom. Students live in homestays while attending language school by morning and participating in cultural excursions by afternoon. We also venture outside of the city for several weekend trips to sites such as Iguazú Falls and Montevideo, Uruguay. I find that students actually look forward to composing their post-immersion research papers because they’ve fallen in love with so many aspects of Argentine culture.

I selected Buenos Aires as a study abroad destination since Argentine works inspire a great deal of my research. I’m most interested in the merging of literary writing and disciplinary geography in canonical Latin American texts from Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. Geopolitics and transnational studies also ground the problems I address in my work in progress, in which I reflect on the ways in which Ibero-American cultural production (from Camprubí to Paz to the Brazilian telenovela Caminhos das Indias) popularizes, even glorifies, the Indian subcontinent while considering why Indian writers--Tagore, in particular--rarely, if ever, acknowledge the other side of the Global South and Iberia.

Research Interests

  • Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Geographical Discourse
  • Ecocriticism
  • Spanish-Language Instruction and Foreign Language Pedagogy
  • Testimonio


  • BA, Birmingham-Southern College, 2004
  • MA, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2010

Featured Publications

  • “Provincializing World Geography: Land and Letters in Euclides da Cunha’s Os Sertões.” Romance Notes 53.1 (forthcoming, 2012).
  • "The Language of Abjection: Poetic Logic and Impurity in Clarice Lispector." Hipertexto 15 (2012): 19-31.
  • “Sarmiento the Geographer: Unearthing the Literary in Facundo.” MLN 126 (2011): 259-88.
  • “Melding for Meaning: Conflations of the Personal and the Political in María Eugenia Vásquez Perdomo’s Escrito para no morir: bitácora de una militancia.” Osa Mayor 20 (2009): 43-57.
  • “Unlimited Spaces of Language: Cultural Geography in Gallegos’s Doña Bárbara.” Border Crossings: Boundaries of Cultural Interpretation. Eds. David P. Wiseman & Pablo Martinez Diente. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Center for Latin American Studies, 2009: 65-80.

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