To launch her new book, Magical Habits, Prof. Monica Huerta is hosting Personal Limits, a virtual conversation series about contemporary experiments in personal writing.
Magical Habits, which The New York Times called a striking debut, draws on Huerta’s experiences growing up in her family's Mexican restaurants and her life as a scholar of literature and culture. Whether dwelling on mundane aspects of everyday life, such as the smell of old kitchen grease, or grappling with the thorny, unsatisfying question of authenticity, the book stages a dynamic conversation among: personal and critical essays exist alongside a fairy tale; photographs and restaurant menus complement fictional monologues based on her family's history. Ultimately, Huerta sketches out habits of living while thinking that allow us to consider what it means to peer beyond history even as we are caught up in the middle of it.
Each Personal Limits virtual conversation will take up a provocation from Magical Habits to ask how contemporary writers are experimenting with the personal and what readers want from personal writing in our moment of overlapping, collective crises. Confirmed series guests include authors, critics, and poets: Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Yomaira Figueroa-Vázquez, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Tala Khanmalek, Lili Loofbourow, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, and Namwali Serpell.
#3 is a conversation with Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who is Professor of Classics at Princeton University and both an important scholar of the Middle Roman Republic and a forceful voice challenging the ways in which the field of Classics has contributed to Western constructions of whiteness. He is, moreover, the author of the memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League.
Monica Huerta is an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University. Her forthcoming book is titled The Unintended: Photography, Property, and the Aesthetics of Racial Capitalism.