Michelle Clayton holds a joint appointment in the departments of Comparative Literature and Spanish & Portuguese. She grew up in Dublin, Ireland, received her BA in Modern Languages (Spanish & German) from Oxford University, and earned a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures from Princeton University (2003). Her research and teaching focus on the intersection between Latin American and comparative studies, with a particular grounding in the international avant-gardes, and on relays between different art-forms (poetry, film, dance, painting) and the media of modernity in the Americas and Western Europe.
She is the author of Poetry in Pieces: César Vallejo and Lyric Modernity (Flashpoints/Modern Language Initiative, University of California Press, 2011), which examines the Peruvian writer’s poetry and prose in the light of the broader Latin American and European avant-gardes and contemporary theory. During a 2008-09 fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, MA, she began work on a second book, Moving Bodies of the Avant-Garde, which examines various forms of cultural circulation in the early decades of the twentieth century, aiming in particular to foreground the role of dance in the avant-gardes. By illustrating the diverse ways in which avant-garde culture moved, and by comparing divergent responses to circulating icons in Europe and the Americas, the project hopes to offer a more interdisciplinary and transnational approach to questions of cultural exchange.