6th 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 social 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 project. At present she is working on a dissertation that traces the emergence of Third-Worldist poetic and aesthetic currents by examining literary and theoretical writings from Palestine, Algeria, and Cuba during the fifties and sixties. In particular, she is interested in the ways that three ‘national poets’––Mahmoud Darwish, Jean Sénac, and Fayad Jamís––placed their lyrics in a metonymic relation to the ‘voice’ or ‘language’ of the people, inaugurating discourses of cultural decolonization that claimed poetic 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. As a literary translator from the Spanish, Arabic, and French, she has translated works by Samir Amin, Abdelfattah Kilito, Eduardo Lalo, Leila Baalbaki, and Rogelio Riverón, among others.
Research Interests: medieval and modern Arabic literature, 20th century Caribbean and Latin American literatures, Islamic theories of language, Marxism, multilingual poetics, translation, Indian Ocean studies, literary creoles and dialects.
Working Languages: Spanish, Arabic (Levantine, Modern Standard, and Classical), French, Morisien
B.A. Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2015