William R Viestenz

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Spanish and Portuguese Studies
214L Folwell Hall

9 Pleasant Street SE

Professor Viestenz specializes in modern Iberian literature and culture. He is most recently the author of By the Grace of God: Francoist Spain and the Sacred Roots of Political Imagination. In this book he constructs a theory of the sacred through a cultural analysis of Iberian literature published during Franco's dictatorship, placing the use of the sacred in this time period with current debates related to post-secularism and political theology. Authors studied in the book include Juan Benet, Juan Goytisolo, Mercè Rodoreda, Salvador Espriu, Luis Martín-Santos, and Joan Sales.

Another recent publication is the co-edited volume, The New Ruralism: An Epistemology of Transformed Space, which reconsiders the time-hallowed antinomy of country and city and looks to the rural as a source of new forms of representation and temporal distribution.

He has also published on the concept of auto-fiction and second-language adoption in Josep Pla, contingency and ethics in Javier Marí­as's recent work, the phenomenology of memory in Jesús Moncada, amongst other studies.

Presently, Professor Viestenz is at work on a second book project entitled Beasts of Burden: Bullfighting and other Eruptions of the Creaturely in Modern Spain, which studies the relationship between animal symbolism and political sovereignty, ethics, and human rights.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D: Spanish and Portuguese, Stanford University, 2011.
  • B.A.: Spanish, Carleton College, 2004.


  • Contemporary Iberian Literature and Culture
  • Post-Secularism and the Sacred
  • Bullfighting and Animal Rights
  • Neo-Ruralism
  • Violence and Cultural Memory
  • Iberian Studies
Courses Taught
  • SPAN 3105: Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Cultures
  • SPAN 3501: Roots of Modern Spain and Latin America
  • SPAN 3212: Discourses of Modern and Contemporary Spain
  • SPAN 5109: Crisis of the Old Regime
  • Global Studies 3109: (Trans)Nationalism and the Postcolonial Imagination
  • Global Studies 3144: Knowledge, Power, and the Politics of Representation
  • SPAN 3910: The Ethics of Bullfighting
  • By the Grace of God: Francoist Spain and the Sacred Roots of Political Imagination. Viestenz, William, University of Toronto Press, Author, 2014. Link
  • Anatomía de un instante by Javier Cercas: the Novel in its Embryonic State”. Hispanic Research Journal. Forthcoming.
  • "Sense, Landscape, Stimmung: Eco-Epistemology in the Work of Víctor Català and Toni Sala." Catalan Review 28 (2014): 19-38.
  • "Monstrous Birth: The Evolving Neighbor in Albert Sánchez Piñol's La pell freda." Hispanic Issues Online 15 (Spring 2014): 179-199.
  • "La que miente cuando besa": El primer plano metonímico en Ocaña, retrat intermitent. Ventura Pons: Una mirada excepcional desde el cine catalán. Eds. Conxita Domènech and Andrés Lema-Hincapié. Madrid/Frankfurt am Main: Iberoamericana/Vervuert. Forthcoming 2014.
  • Viestenz, William R. "Sins of the Flesh: Bullfighting as a Model of Power." Iberian Modalities (2013):
  • Viestenz, William R. "Everything Left to Chance: Contingency Against Ethics in Javier Marías's Los Enamoramientos." MLN 128 (2013): 384-405.
  • Viestenz, William R. "Antigone and Post-Secular Reason." Hispanic Issues Online (2013): 239-248. Link
  • The New Ruralism: An Epistemology of Transformed Space. Viestenz, William, Joan Ramon Resina, Iberoamericana/Vervuert, Co-Editor, 2012. Link
  • "De mots a terra: Linguistic Ruin in Francesc Serés’s L’arbre sense tronc. The New Ruralism. Eds. Joan Ramon Resina and William Viestenz. Madrid: Frankfurt: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2012. 139-156.
  • Death in the Spring: Mercè Rodoreda and the Unproductive Productiveness of Late Style.” Journal of Catalan Studies 14 (2011). 86-106.
  • Dit d’alguna manera...la filosofia de la llengua de Josep Pla”. L’Espill 39 (2012). 121-136.
  • Memory Matter: Jesús Moncada’s Phenomenology of Eidetic Seeing”. Revista Hispánica Moderna. 64.2 (December 2011). 181-195.
  • Memory Interment Through Literary Sepulcher in Josep Pla’s El quadern gris”. Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 34.2 (Invierno 2010). 243-264.
  • “Cinematic Ethics Within the Architectural Picnoleptic Moment in José Luis Guerín’s En construcción”. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. 86.3 (2009). 537-554.