Javier Guerrero’s research focuses on the intersection between visual culture and sexuality in twentieth- and twenty-first century Latin America. His scholarship centers the body, extensively exploring the unexpected ways in which it participates in its own material processes, at times transforming itself, as it deploys novel technologies that destabilize the symbolic sphere of sex. He also traces the multiple metamorphoses that the body has undergone in contemporary art, cinema, and literature, but also and most notably at the intersections of these media. In recent years, Guerrero has paid special attention to new conditions and matters such as darkness, synthetic bodies, and the archive, prompting reevaluations of knowledges traditionally defined by binary oppositions.
Guerrero is the author of Escribir después de morir. El archivo y el más allá (Metales Pesados, 2022); Tecnologías del cuerpo. Exhibicionismo y visualidad en América Latina (Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2014); a book on the filmmaker Mauricio Walerstein (FCN, 2002), and the novel Balnearios de Etiopia (Eterna Cadencia, 2010). He has edited Relatos enfermos (Conaculta/Literal Publishing, 2015), and co-edited A máquina Pinochet e outros ensaios (Peixe-elétrico, 2016); as well as Excesos de Cuerpo. Relatos de contagio y enfermedad en América Latina (Eterna Cadencia 2009, reprinted in 2012). He has also guest-edited dossiers and special volumes in peer-reviewed journals such as País Portátil: Venezuelan Contemporary Literature and Arts (Review, 2021); Correspondencias del malestar: cartas, diarios y memorias en emergencia (Perífrasis, 2021); Biopolíticas de la visualidad en la necrópolis contemporánea (Cuadernos de Literatura, 2019) and the two-volume dossier Cuerpos enfermos/Contagios culturales (Estudios; 2010, 2011). A book on Chilean writer Diamela Eltit, El hueso literario, is forthcoming.
His most recent monograph, Escribir después de morir. El archivo y el más allá, argues that writers’ and visual artists’ archives transcend the funereal condition traditionally associated with the archive, giving rise to new permutations that challenge the sharp division between living and dying, between an author’s material end and the end of artistic production. The book examines a variety of media and artifacts found in the archive––photographs, sketches, personal possessions, and even cadavers––and considers how each offers a way of understanding life and the body that challenges the notion of death as the final instance of authorship. This work looks beyond death to examine that which comes to life in the afterlife, developing and surviving independently from the author’s living hand. The critic and/or the loving communities that allow the author to survive therefore play a large part in detaching death from the end of artistic production. As we touch the archive, we awaken the forms suspended in its documentation, documentation that now serves as a preview of their future lives. The archive lies beyond the closed circuit of life, beyond post-mortem inspection; in other words, the archive is simply conceived beyond.
At Princeton, Guerrero has been Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, acting director for the Program in Latin American Studies, and has been on the executive committees for the Program in Gender & Sexuality, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, and the Program in Latin American Studies. His scholarship has also been shaped by symposia, panels, and special projects such as: Visual Archives: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Visualities, Visibilities, and the Politics of Looking (2013); Poisonous Flowers; Radical Women in Latin America (2017); The Digital Turn: Dialogues for Latin American Cinemas (2017); Drag Kings: An Archeology of Spectacular Masculinities in Latinx America (2019); and the Rita Segato Seminar (2022), among many others. In 2023, he will teach a second iteration of the global seminar Images in Transition: Arts and Politics in Chile’s Transition to Democracy, based in Santiago de Chile.
Beyond Princeton, Guerrero has served as juror for literary and film awards such as the Premio Fil de Literatura en Lenguas Romances (2022). He has been deeply involved in professional associations like the Latin American Studies Association. He was an elected chair of the Section on Venezuelan Studies at LASA and track co-chair for Literary Studies (2020) and Film Studies (2023). He also received the Latin American Studies Association's Sylvia Molloy Award for the best peer-reviewed article in the Humanities published in 2016.
Before coming to the United States in 2005 to pursue graduate studies, Guerrero served as President of the Venezuelan Cinemateca Nacional, where he curated more than twenty-five international film series and festivals and oversaw radical transformations that revamped processes of film distribution, preservation, and documentation. He was also a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).
He is currently working on three new books: Synthetic Skin: On Dolls and Miniature Cultures; La impugnación de la luz: soberanías oscuras en América Latina; and The Cinema of Cruelty. Javier Guerrero holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from New York University and a Licenciatura in Film Studies from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
- Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from New York University
- Licenciatura in Film Studies from the Universidad Central de Venezuela