PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2001
Dr. Blandón has contributed to the university´s service mission through various campus committee positions, developing Writing Intensive courses, giving scholarly presentations at conferences in the US and abroad, and inviting Latin American writers to lecture. He has also helped organize and taken part as a panel member in conferences and symposia which have brought visibility not only to the department but also the university. The most visible service Dr. Blandón has done is bringing Central American Cultural Studies to the department, supporting the university´s dedication to multi-disciplinary studies and expanding the recognition around the country and abroad of MU through his publications and lectures.
Currently, Dr. Blandón serves on the campus-wide Faculty Responsibility Committee and the Study Abroad Committee, for which he completed a site visit to the University of Guadalajara during the Fall of 2007. In 2008 he also served as a UM Research Board Reviewer. In the department of Romance Languages he is currently on the Graduate Studies Committee.
Dr. Blandon is a poet, scholar and creative writer. As a poet he has published three books that have been compiled in one volume: Las maltratadas palabras (Editorial Vanguardia, 1990), also he has published a book of short stories: Misterios gozosos (Editorial Vanguardia, 1994), and a novel: Vuelo de cuervos (Editorial Vanguardia, 1997).
Dr. Blandón’s research centers on the tensions between lettered and oral cultures in Nicaraguan society. In particular, he looks at how intellectuals from the liberal and conservative elites, and later from the ranks of the radical, leftist intelligentsia, have dealt with cultural heterogeneity in order to construct the national identity and its symbols. Both conservative and liberal intellectuals have understood the folk drama El Güegüense as a parable for the defeat of Indian identity in Nicaragua and the emergence of a dominating Hispanic-Nicaraguan identity. Dr. Blandón has examined the texts of the more prominent members of the Vanguardia Movement who, as constructors of the canonical discourse, have laid the foundation for this identity. In their discourse the protagonist of El Güegüense, a deceptive rogue, became emblematic of the prototypical Nicaraguan. This is discussed in his book Barroco Descalzo, (URACCAN, 2003) where he demonstrates the impossibility of this homogenous identity (a male Mestizo of Hispanic-Nahuatl origins) representing what, in reality, is a heterogeneous culture in which various ethnicities, sexualities, genders and languages coexist.
The impact of Barroco Descalzo in his field can be seen in:
- - Real Academia Española. Nueva gramática de la lengua española. Sintaxis II. Madrid: Espasa Libros, 2009: 3729.
- - Westlake, E.J. “The Güegüence Effect: The National Character and the Nicaraguan Political Process”. Political Performances. Theory and Practice. Susan C. Haedicke et al. Eds. Amsterdam, New York: Editions Rodopi B.V: 2009: 282
- - Grinberg Pla, Valeria. “Los géneros literarios como espejos distorsionantes”. Hacia una historia de las literaturas Centroamericanas. Vol. I. Intersecciones y transgresiones: Propuesta para una historiografía literaria en Centroamérica Werner Mackenbach, editor. Guatemala F & G editors, 2008: 106,
- - Bolaños, Ligia María. “Narraciones y temporalidades en la producción colonial centroamericana”. Hacia una historia de las literaturas Centroamericanas. Vol. I. Intersecciones y transgresiones: Propuesta para una historiografía literaria en Centroamérica Werner Mackenbach, editor. Guatemala F & G editors, 2008: 162-3.
- - Ortiz Wellner, Alexandra. “La problemática de la periodización de las literaturas centroamericanas contemporáneas”. Hacia una historia de las literaturas Centroamericanas. Vol. I. Intersecciones y transgresiones: Propuesta para una historiografía literaria en Centroamérica Werner Mackenbach, editor. Guatemala F & G Editores, 2008: 192.
- - Katherina Niemeyer “El gobierno de los mejores y más cultos”. Elites en América Latina. Peter Berle et al, eds. Vervuert: Iberoamericana, 2007: 94.
Delgado Aburto, Leonel. “Cartografías del yo, escritura autobiográfica y modernidad en Centroamérica, del Modernismo al testimonio.” Diss. University of Pittsburgh, 2005. Print.
- - Beverley, John. “Dos caminos para los estudios culturales centroamericanos (y algunas notas sobre el latinoamericanismo) después de “9/11”. Istmo No. 8. May, 2004: http://istmo.denison.edu/n08/articulos/caminos.html
In a similar fashion, he has recently published the book Discursos transversales/la recepción de Rubén Darío en Nicaragua (Banco Central de Nicaragua, 2011), where he deals with the appropriation of the Dario’s legacy by the Vanguardia movement to construct this Hispanic-Nicaraguan identity from a colonial perspective. Despite the disparity of their cultural origins, both the protagonist of El Güegüense and Rubén Darío have been used contradictorily for the same purpose: as symbols of the national identity within the Falangist discourse of the Vanguardia movement. This rationality sought to ideologically cleanse the indigenous identities through the concept of Mestizaje, which in itself excluded African descendants and those indigenous to the Caribbean and Northern areas.
He also used this research to write a short story “Simetrías Cine Aladino”, where Rubén Darío is shown as an obsession of the main character. This story has been included in Puertos abiertos. Antología del cuento Centroamericano edited by the novelist Sergio Ramírez, and published in Mexico by Fondo de Cultura Económica in 2011.
Over the past five years Dr. Blandón has also been working on the poetry of Carlos Martinez Rivas who, although often seen as a pupil of the Vanguardists, broke with the paradigms and institutions of western culture through his radical lyricism which concentrates on marginalized and outsider subjects. Blandon demonstrates how the treatment of what he considers micropolitical subjects (those who exist beyond the borders of modern life, class, political party, community, union or church) can be seen as political poetry, an assertion which Martínez Rivas denied throughout his life, but which nonetheless is present in his subversive lyricism. From this research he has published articles, lectured and is currently in the process of directing a full length documentary project on Martinez Rivas which includes a multidisciplinary team of filmmakers, researchers, musicians, and writers. He foresees concentrating on Martinez Rivas for the next four or five years, during which he also intends to publish a book on the subject.
Dr. Blandón’s primary areas of teaching are Twentieth Century literatures and discourses, with a focus on subaltern studies and post colonial theory. He has taught Hispanic American Modernismo, the Latin American Vanguardia, the Boom and Post-Boom Novel, Contemporary Poetry of Latin America, and Subaltern Discourses in Central America. Throughout his teaching runs the commitment to empower students to effectively express their ideas and critical approaches to cultural texts in writing and speech. He has developed Writing Intensive courses in which students are obliged to express their critical approach on a given literary text. This has helped students improve their written reflection and develop their own creative writing skills in Spanish. Since coming to University of Missouri, he has prepared different courses to be taught at all levels, in some of which both undergraduate and graduate students share the same classroom. He has also developed extensive materials for courses that he had not previously taught. His teaching goals include increasing his students’ participation in shaping the direction of their classes. He usually combines audio/visual technology and other artifacts in his courses to expose the students to different cultural contexts.
Dr. Blandón frequently combines his research with his teaching. Colleagues who have had the opportunity to observe Dr. Blandón´s courses consider his teaching to be exceptional and have commended his performance in the classroom, with a consistent rating between 4.0 and 4.5.