Elias Beltrán is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature with a concentration in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the Bronx, N.Y. He earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and the humanities from Bard College and now studies Hispanophone Caribbean literature, art, culture and history under the guidance of Natalie Melas, associate professor in the Department of Literatures in English at Cornell.
He talks about his research in this story on the Graduate School website. He also shares his reasons for choosing to study at Cornell.
Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?
When it came down to deciding between NYU and Cornell, it was the sense of community Cornell offered that won me over. Cornell seemed not only interested in my potential for research and meaningful scholarship, but also in my person as a member of a larger academic community. Both Cornell and Ithaca have proven to offer precisely that.
Moreover, the diverse body of academics here have not only challenged me to expand my thinking, but also allowed me to pursue other peripheral interests and uncover myriad ways in which my life experiences and scholarship intersect. For instance, through some of my theoretical work on temporality, "Game of Thrones" became an aperture for the discursive possibilities with theories of time, as well as the resonances of futurity on memory. Critical engagement with poetry and hip hop have led to dialoguing the works of the Wu Tang Clan and Gwendolyn Brooks as critiques against the emerging Christian Nationalist sentiment rising in our contemporary political environment. I have likewise been able to put the works of hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco in conversation with the poetry of Derek Walcott and Nancy Morejón and the critical eye of Edouard Glissant. Given these diverse interests and the amazing body of scholars with such richly diverse backgrounds here, comparative literature at Cornell has definitely been a great choice and an excellent fit for me.