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APSU Spanish professor examines capitalist society in seventh book

Dr. Osvaldo Di Paolo Harrison

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In the summer of 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic sent national economies across the world into a tailspin, Dr. Osvaldo Di Paolo Harrison, Austin Peay State University Spanish professor, decided to read some detective novels by Spanish and Latin American authors.

The books weren’t a diversion – a way of avoiding the realities of a locked-down world. For Di Paolo Harrison, they offered him a new way of examining the pandemic’s growing financial toll on the world.

“I started thinking, ‘Wow, look how fragile the capitalist system can be, and how it is affecting the global economy and affecting the world in so many dimensions,” he said. “I’m going to look at literature and see what I can come up with.”

Last semester, Di Paolo Harrison published his seventh scholarly work, “Crisis of the Capitalist System in Hispanic Hardboiled Literature,” which explores how Spanish-language detective stories present issues, such as food scarcity, unemployment, climate change, migration and other topics.

“Every chapter has a special crisis, so I gathered primary texts from Spain and different Latin American countries, always from the lens of Hispanic hardboiled literature,” he said. “This book analyzes works of hardboiled fiction from the Hispanic world, where there is a critical inquiry of the capitalist society. It combines literary studies with sociopolitical inquiries and it tries to alert the reader that the capitalist system only looks for material revenue, neglecting nature and human beings, displacing them from their essential place.”

The book, written in Spanish, is co-authored by Fabian Mossello, a professor at The National University of Córdoba in Argentina.

In 2014, Di Paolo Harrison received Austin Peay’s Socrates Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University’s Richard M. Hawkins Award for significant contributions to scholarship. His previous book, “Crimes Against Women: The Sexually Sadistic Killing of Women in Literature of the 20th and 21st Century,” explored femicide from colonial times to the present day.

Dr. Shelley Godsland, a professor with the University of Amsterdam, previously said Di Paolo Harrison is “at the very forefront of scholarly endeavor with regards to Latin American Literature.”

Di Paolo Harrison is also the author of “Queer Noir Hispanico,” “Noir Boricua: La novela negra de Puerto Rico,” “Negrótico,” “Gemidos y explosiones apocalípticas poshumanas: la novela negra y de ciencia ficción hispana del siglo XXI” and “Cadáveres en el armario: el policial palimpséstico en la literatura argentina contemporánea.”

More information on Di Paolo Harrison and his work is available at www.apsu.edu/directory/faculty/dipaoloo.  

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