2019

Natasha Tanna

Researcher, Writer, Lecturer

Cambridge (United Kingdom)

From March 18 to March 25, 2019

Biography —

Personal Website

Natasha writes about feminisms, queer sexualities and (trans)national identities, with a focus on modern Catalan, Spanish, and Latin American literature. She is a lecturer at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge. Her forthcoming book Queer Genealogies in Transnational Barcelona (Legenda) explores queer desire and inheritance — literary, familial, and political — in works published from the 1960s onwards by the Catalan Maria-Mercè Marçal, Montevideo-born Cristina Peri Rossi, and Buenos Aires-born Flavia Company. Whereas conventional understandings of genealogy emphasise a continuous line of inheritance traced from an origin, Natasha’s research highlights the collaborative creation in fragmented, transnational genealogies. She argues that a queer bringing together of disparate fragments suggests how we might navigate difference in an increasingly entwined, yet ever more fractious, world in which notions of ‘pure’ or ‘simple’ origins are often violently at odds with disordered and disorderly relationships between people, nations, and texts.

Project —

I will write an article on the Cuban writer Ena Lucía Portela’s engagement with the works of North American writer Djuna Barnes, especially her modernist classic and lesbian cult text Nightwood. In Portela’s creations, plagiarism — etymologically linked with theft, seduction, and the notion of an extended territory — is invoked as a way of creating a transspatial and transtemporal dialogue between writers. I will explore how Portela’s works perform a queer act of reading as rewriting — through translation, transposition, citation, and plagiarism —, emphasising collaborative creation in a queer literary genealogy that shifts between Cuban, pan-Caribbean, and more broadly transnational imaginaries.