Assistant Professor of Languages and Cultures
Ph.D., University of California, 2007; M.A., San Diego State University, 2001; B.A., University of Texas, 1991
Nathan Henne, from the department of Quezaltenango in Guatemala, received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is working to polish the manuscript for his book, tentatively titled More than Translation: Using the Popol Wuj as a Guide to Indigenous Poetics in American Literatures. In this book Nathan uses principles derived from K’iche’, a language spoken in the highlands of Guatemala, to problematize translations of the Popol Wuj into Spanish and English. These complications then become a way to think about the philosophical differences between Western and indigenous American philosopies. Nathan seeks to invert the traditional hierarchies of academic study in the Americas by applying the meaning making networks of K’iche’ literatures to read “canonical” texts of Latin America (Miguel Angel Asturias, Alejo Carpentier) and the United States (William Faulkner).
Nathan’s teaching focuses on: Central American literature, literature of the Americas, Latin American magic realism, pre-Contact Indigenous literatures, translation theory, language theory, and Spanish language instruction. He has spent considerable time over the last several years doing field work in the Guatemalan altiplano in order to better understand and translate the archaic K’iche’ of the Popol Vuh, “the oldest book in the Americas,” while emphasizing literary methodologies.