2013 has been rather busy. In January Routledge published a book that proved a huge challenge to research and write, condensing 150-plus years of literature into 200 hundred or so pages: The Routledge Concise History of Latino/a Literature. In April, my book on the first decade of the 21st-century of Mexican cinema came out with the University of Michigan: Mex-Ciné: Mexican Filmmaking, Production, and Consumption in the 21st Century. In July Palgrave published the first book to explore formal matters (the use of the sonnet and pantoum, among others) in contemporary Latino poetry: Formal Matters in Contemporary Latino Poetry.
Just around the corner, the University of Michigan Press is publishing my co-authored book (with Ilan Stavans): ¡Muy Pop! Conversations on Latino Popular Culture and Palgrave is bringing out an edited volume I put together that features scholarship on Latinos in sci-fi, the internet, video games, comic books, you name it: Latinos and Narrative Media: Participation and Portrayal. These will be followed by a few other single-authored, co-authored, and edited books that include: a book on Robert Rodriguez and an edited volume on his films as well as a co-authored book with Patrick Hogan titled, Conversations on Cognitive Cultural Studies. I recently finished a couple of new books that continue to deepen our understanding of Latino pop cultural phenomena as well as solidify my theory of a unified aesthetics. These books include: Up Up and Away! Spandexed Latinos in Mainstream Superhero Comic Books, the co-authored Latinos in the End Zone: Conversations on the Brown Color Line in the NFL, and the co-authored Aesthetics of Discomfort: Conversations on Disquieting Art. I’m completing a co-authored book with Ilan Stavans, Laughing Matters: Conversations on Humor as well as the co-edited volume, Mind the Gap: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future.
I’m also completing a single-authored book, The Neurobiology of Parenting. In this book I explore, for instance, the feedback loop between education and the brain in the reorganization of the developing brain; within this feedback loop I consider centrally how culture is interwoven into this as well as how memories function as a platform for the thinking and conceiving of new creative problems and solutions to those problems. I also consider how this takes place through the mediation of ethics—to use Aristotelian terms, an ethics of virtue, with the highest virtue being happiness that solidifies through education. The book considers, then, how the ethical point of view feeds education and education feeds the child’s ethical point of view—or ethical education. In this feedback loop system I consider the impact of culture and education as part of culture in the reorganizing of the developing brain of children. I also consider a middle feedback loop between education and an Aristotelian virtue ethics—an ethics that is vital for us to achieve the goal of a rational, educated happiness. Central figures include the work of Alison Gopnik and Sanchez Vasquez, and others who consider the absolute coexistence of nature and nurture. The central inspiration for the book: children and their growing of all their senses through education in its many forms—from swimming to painting to writing to dancing to playing musical instruments to riding a bike to their experiences in libraries and classrooms.
Finally, with my colleague from the Department of Psychology, Laura Wagner, and a team of students, we have developed a research program that studies the visual literacy of comics.