Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature


A native of Dublin, Ireland, Professor Clayton studied Modern Languages (Spanish & German) at Oxford University, then moved to the US, where she received her PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University in 2003. She taught Latin American and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 2002 until 2012, when she joined Brown as Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature.

Her research and teaching range over three distinct but often interrelated areas. First and foremost, modern poetry (in Europe and the Americas), with a particular interest in modernist and avant-garde aesthetics and in interdisciplinary encounters between poetry, the visual arts (painting, photography, sculpture, film), and dance. Her first book, Poetry in Pieces: César Vallejo and Lyric Modernity (University of California Press, 2011), connects the Peruvian Vallejo and his Latin American contemporaries to a broader international panorama of writers and artists such as James Joyce, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Charlie Chaplin, all of whom make regular appearances in the courses she teaches at Brown. She periodically returns in writing to Vallejo's poetry at the intersection of politics and performance, and she has published numerous articles on associated figures of Latin American modernity such as Carlos Oquendo de Amat, Oliverio Girondo, Manuel Maples Arce, José Carlos Mariátegui and others in journals and edited volumes. She is currently starting to draft a new project on poetry in the museum, growing out of an interest in neo-avant-garde practices of the 1960s and 70s.

Her second area of specialization, and the subject of her current book-project, Articulations: Dancing Across Modernities (forthcoming through the Mellon-funded Brown Digital Publication Initiative) is the role of dance as both image and practice in the international avant-gardes. Tracing the movements of dancers across the stages, screens, canvases, and essays of Europe and the Americas, she explores dance as a practice of world-making, a vehicle of cultural circulation and connection, and a mode of critical thought in modernity. She has published a variety of essays drawn from or growing out of this project in journals such as Modernism/Modernity, Modernist CulturesDance Research Journal, and the Revista de estudios hispánicos, and in edited volumes such as the Routledge Companion to 20th and 21st Century Latin American Cultural Forms. She is also beginning to draft a long essay or short book on the protean contemporary flamenco bailaor Israel Galván.

Her third area of interest, found in her research, teaching, advising, editorial work, and translations, is modern and contemporary Latin American narrative. She has published essays on Juan Carlos Onetti, Ricardo Piglia, Roberto Bolaño, and she regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate seminars on contemporary Latin American writing and the visual arts (César Aira, Samanta Schweblin, Mariana Enríquez, Albertina Carri, Lucrecia Martel, Cecilia Vicuña, Alejandro Zambra, Gabriela Wiener, Veronica Gerber Bicecci, Jazmina Barrera, Valeria Luiselli, Sara Uribe...) through the intertwined lens of literary analysis, interdisciplinary study (drawing upon performance and media studies and art history and theory), and critical theory, from Walter Benjamin through José Carlos Mariátegui to Cristina Rivera Garza and Jacques Rancière. She also enjoys translating, with pieces by Onetti, Piglia, and Julio Cortázar already published and others in the works. Finally, in both her PhD advising and her editorial work for the Flashpoints series at Northwestern University Press, she regularly oversees projects on modern and contemporary Latin American literature (poetry, narrative, theater, and film), often in conversation with world literary studies, eco-humanities, gender studies, translation studies, and performance. 

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

On the Web