Michael Andrew Parra


Michael Andrew Parra

Assistant Director, Advisory Board Member, Researcher

Michael Andrew Parra is an English Ph.D. student at the University of California Santa Barbara. He completed his B.A. in English (African American Studies minor) at the University of California Berkeley in 2012 and obtained an M.A. in English Literature in 2018 at San Francisco State University. His master’s research focused on the relationship fiction has with empirical reality and historical realities, and how that differed from nonfiction, particularly philosophy, and law. Understanding that authors organize the disorderly, chaotic world in written form, Parra’s thesis project, Breaking Through Ideology: Deconstructing “I” and the “Me” Who is Not “Myself,” is immersed into the fiction/nonfiction binary to address the following question: what is being organized and made orderly in the structure of the narrative form of the novel?

His doctoral research broadly centers on the tensions between empirical reality, world-making, and identity formation as part of a critical masculinity studies analysis of cultural productions from the Americas produced by male authors and about men who just so happen to desire homosocial intimacies. That is, he examines both gay (open and not) as well as a broad array of male cultural workers who exist and/or navigate along a complex sexual continuum between 1940 - 2001. His doctoral dissertation, tentatively titled CarnalErotics: The Homosocial Politics, Homoerotic Significations, and Homophobic Resonances of Nationalist Discourses in the Americas, Circa 1940-2001, investigates how this multi-national yet hemispherically conscious archive from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, México, and the United States names and subverts the heteropatriarchal symbolic economies of national(ist) literatures. Significantly, while male-male sex is figured as antithetical to the nation-state that is anthropomorphized in the form of a hypermasculine and presumably straight warrior hero and other archetypes, these authors trouble the very basis of the nation-state. CarnalErotics argues that queered ostensibly non-gay and gay male bodies are arrivant states that, too, emerge as legible alongside the rise of the nation-state in the Americas. Like the nation-state, the vexed status of these queered ostensibly non-gay gay male bodies emerge from colonialism and empirically negotiate the quotidian racial, gender, sex, and sexuality hierarchies left by the legacy of Christian, European, and heteropatriarchal coloniality.

He is the author of “The Rhetorization of the Abject’s Grammatical Positionality” in Critical Insights: Postcolonial Literature (Salem Press, 2017); “The Materialist Conception of Fiction” in Critical Theory and the Humanities in the Age of the Alt-Right (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); and "On Becoming Chicano in Europe: John Rechy’s Immanently Queer Latino Soldado Razo Flâneur in Paris, 1950-52" in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicana/o Studies (Spring 2023). His forthcoming publication is titled “Of Closets, Color, and Coming Out Narratives: Baldwin’s Adumbration of Gay Intersectional Ontologies in Giovanni’s Room” and will be published in The Routledge Companion to James Baldwin, edited by Yasmin Y. DeGout and Tyechia Thompson.