Essays and Criticism

Artwork by Natalie Matthews-Ramo

In addition to my scholarly work, I also contribute essays and criticism to The Nation, Slate, Los Angeles Review of Books, Public BooksThe AwlDissent, Jacobin, and other periodicals. Below you’ll find a selection of reported pieces, literary and film criticism, essays, and commentary.

A recap of the Catalan referendum, the police violence that ensued, and what may happen in the future between the Catalan Parlament and the Spanish central government.

On Cristina Sánchez-Andrade’s The Winterlings, Sebastià Alzamora’s Blood Crime, and the tensions over the meaning of “Iberia” in Spain and abroad.

On the Catalan referendum, Raphael Minder’s The Struggle for Catalonia, and the central government’s rekindling of images of Francoist repression.

On Javier Marías’s Thus Bad Begins, chauvinist violence in Spain, and the literary obsession with the law.

On Andrés Barba’s Such Small Hands, the fascination with childhood psychology in Spanish culture, and the productive limits of narrative form.

On Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Like a Fading Shadow, the literary obsession with facts, and what counts as ‘historical memory’

On Juan Villoro’s God Is Round, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund’s Home and Away, and what a theory of literary soccer writing might look like.

On the party’s second constituent assembly, the split between Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón, and the paralyzing attention to what happens in Madrid.

On Almodóvar’s Julieta, its echoes of Spain’s economic crisis, and the filmmaker’s turn toward austerity.

On Mercè Rodoreda’s War, So Much War, literary impressionism, and reorienting narratives of the Spanish Civil War to the countryside.

On the internal split in Spain’s Socialist Party, the predictability of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s new cabinet, and bleak short-term outlook for the left in Spain.

On Spain’s Donald Trump, corruption and the corporatization of soccer, and the illegal ownership of the country’s third-largest soccer team.

On the Buckley family’s Hispanophilia, Buckley Jr.’s apologetics for Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet, and what an intellectual history of a secret language obsession might look like.

On Montserrat Caballé and Freddy Mercury’s theme song for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and other hits from the genre.

On the first year of Ada Colau’s mayorship of Barcelona, the symbolic and material changes that have already occurred, and what citizen’s platforms have done to revolutionize the governance of Spain’s municipalities.

On the process of unearthing Franco’s victims, what has and hasn’t changed in the eighty years since he launched his coup d’état, and the meaning of ‘historical memory’ in Spain.

On the June 26th Spanish General Election, what Brexit had to do with the victory of the conservative Partido Popular, and what the disappointing result means for the left.

On the outcome of the December 20th Spanish General Election, the meaning of the strong electoral result for the left for the next elections, and long-awaited electoral pact between Podemos and Izquierda Unida.

On the dropping poll numbers for Podemos, the rising poll numbers for Ciudadanos, and what to expect after the December 20th Spanish General Election.

On the growing independence movement in Catalonia, the September 27th regional elections in the autonomous region, and the past, present, and future of Spain’s precarious nationhood.

On Spaniards’ distrust of their own media, the proliferation of reputable online newspapers on the left, and how these new sites are holding the powerful accountable.

On the relationship between Podemos and Greece’s Syriza, the conservative Partido Popular’s fidelity to austerity policies, and what the Greek reality check might mean for the anti-austerity movement in Spain.

On Podemos’s role in the election of progressive local governments in municipalities across Spain.

On the 2015 Spanish Municipal Elections, the rise of Ada Colau and Manuela Carmena, and the progressive citizen’s platforms that swept into local offices across the country.

On the feminism’s uneasy participation in the indignados movement, its awkward incorporation into Podemos, and the history of feminism and parliamentary politics in Spain.

On the intellectual, political, and personal relationships of the Podemos leadership with Pink Tide governments across Latin America and what bringing that kind of politics to Spain might mean.

On the emergence of the left-wing, anti-austerity party Podemos, its proposal for revolutionizing politics in Spain, and the tension between egalitarianism and winning parliamentary elections.

On Samuel Moyn’s Human Rights and the Uses of History, what happens when intellectuals become part of the apparatus they once criticized, and what a Marxist critique of ‘human rights’ might look like.

On the new left-wing, anti-austerity party Podemos, its promising elections for the European Parliament, and how it might shake up the ossified left in Spain.