Maru Pabón

Maru Pabón's picture
4th Year Graduate Student in Comparative Literature


Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Maru Pabón joined Yale’s Comparative Literature department in 2016 after graduating from Brown University with a BA in Comparative Literature and a profound interest in the intersections of language, politics, and consciousness across the Global South. In particular, her academic work has focused on specific historical conjunctures during which utopian projects have coalesced around the possibility of reimagining the nature and function of (a) language. During her first years at Yale, this meant looking primarily at late twentieth century movements in the Caribbean, North Africa, and the Indian Ocean that sought to standardize creole languages and dialects with the purpose of turning them into national languages and/or languages of literary expression. Along with Professor Shawkat Toorawa, she founded the Indian Ocean Studies/Creole Studies Speaker Series to invite specialists on these topics to give talks and workshops at Yale. 

During the academic year 2018-2019, Maru received a CASA (Center for Arabic Study Abroad) fellowship to pursue advanced Arabic language training and research in Amman, Jordan, an experience that lead her to hone in on a particular twentieth-century moment where she noted such a utopian vision of language had emerged: the Third Worldist movement. At present she is in the beginning stages of her dissertation, titled “Agitated Layers of Air: Language, Cultural Decolonization, and Third World Solidarity.” Examining literary and theoretical writing from Palestine, Algeria, and Cuba from the mid 1950s to the end of the 70s, she argues that practitioners of “vernacularized” anti-colonial Marxisms across these three locales inaugurated a discourse of cultural decolonization that claimed language as a site of emergent subjectivity, an arena of ideological struggle, and a fundamental weapon for the reformation of social relations. Attention to how these actors conceptualized the role of textual activities in decolonial struggle, she hopes to show, also allows us to see a poetics of solidarity as it developed across diverse linguistic traditions.


Research Interests

Conceptions of adab during the Abbasid caliphate, Islamic philosophies of language, the Wittgensteinian tradition, Marxist cultural theory, 20th century Latin American literature, multilingual poetics, and translation.

Working Languages

Spanish, Modern Standard Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Classical Arabic, French, Morisien

Education History

B.A. Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2015