Bret Leraul

D. Bret Leraul

Assistant Professor of Comparative & Digital Humanities
Affiliated Faculty in Latin American Studies
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About D. Bret Leraul

Bret Leraul is a cultural critic who teaches courses on the history of ideas, critical theory, and culture in the Global South. Trained in Comparative Literature, Latin American and German Studies, his research focuses on contemporary Latin American cultural and social texts.

His first book project, Reproductions: Aesthetic Education and the Neoliberal University examines the politics of cultural reproduction in Chile and Argentina by analyzing the entanglement of literary and educational institutions since the 1980s. The book traces the introduction of a neoliberal rationality into higher education that facilitated the rise of a theory canon and subsequent canonization of theoretical fictions. In writing the recent history of the university and its shifting theorization in the Southern Cone, Reproductions argues more broadly for subtracting study—understood as unwaged, reproductive labor—from academic work in order to potentiate the university as a site for radical social change. The book’s two arguments frame a reproductive labor theory of cultural production rooted in Latin America and with purchase on trends in contemporary world literature and higher education.

In addition to his research program, Dr. Leraul is translating Chilean philosopher Willy Thayer’s La crisis no moderna de la universidad moderna (The Non-Modern Crisis of the Modern University) (1996), a seminal text in the intellectual history of postdictatorship Chile. He is a member of the editorial collective of LÁPIZ, the journal of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society.

Personal website

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Cornell University (Comparative Literature)
  • M.A., Cornell University (Comparative Literature)
  • B.A., New York University (Comparative Literature)

Teaching Areas

  • Comparative Humanities
  • Latin American Studies
  • Global South Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • Cultural Materialism
  • Political Ecology

Selected Publications


“Untimely, Uneven, Combined: Translator’s Introduction.” Introduction to The Non-Modern Crisis of the Modern University, by Willy Thayer. Translated by D. Bret Leraul. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, forthcoming.

Deus Ex Machina: Contemporary Argentina’s Literature of Infrastructure.” Modern Language Notes 138, no. 2, (forthcoming).

Me veo a mi mismo leyendo: Ricardo Piglia’s Aesthetic Education in Los diarios de Emilio Renzi.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 56, no. 3 (October 2022): 342-367.

“War Over Measure: Latin American Cultural Policy and the Pedagogy of Neoliberal States.” Cultural Critique, no. 115 (2022): 35-75.

“Movement Rhythms, Motley Knowledges.” The Pedagogies of Social Justice Movements in the Americas, special issue of LÁPIZ, no. 4 (2019): 7-20.

“Surplus Rebellion, Human Capital, and the Ends of Study in Chile, 2011.” A contracorriente 14, no. 2 (2017): 283-307.


Thayer, Willy. The Non-Modern Crisis of the Modern University. Translated by D. Bret Leraul. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, forthcoming.

Thayer, Willy, Silvia Schwarzböck, Andrés Menard, Elizabeth Collingwood-Selby, and Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott. “(Post)Humanities and the University: A Conversation.” Translated by Bret Leraul, World Humanities Report (Madison,: Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), 2022).

Barbosa Pinheiro, Lia. “The Sentipensante and Revolutionary Pedagogies of Latin American Social Movements.” Translated by Bret Leraul. The Pedagogies of Social Justice Movements in the Americas, special issue of LÁPIZ, no. 4 (2019): 23-40.

Further Information

Contact Details


171 Coleman Hall