Johnathan Vaknin joined Berkeley’s department of Comparative Literature in 2010, after receiving his B.A. in Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is centered on Caribbean and Latin American literature from the late-19th through 20th centuries. Under the guidance of Professors Francine Masiello, Judith Butler, Barbara Spackman, and Natalia Brizuela, he is currently at work on a dissertation that examines the connections between representations of illness and questions concerning embellishment and narrative form. The first half of his project focuses on modernismo (José Asunción Silva, Julián del Casal, José Martí, and Manuel Zeno Gandía), while the second half shifts its attention toward the neobarroco (Severo Sarduy, Néstor Perlongher, José Lezama Lima, Mario Bellatín, Reinaldo Arenas, and Manuel Ramos Otero).

At Berkeley, Johnathan has taught a number of classes on a wide range of topics: aesthetic representations of illness, the intersections between law and literature, science fiction, celebrities and the culture of fame, the undead, and hedonism and the pleasure principle. He has additionally taught elementary Spanish for the department of Spanish and Portuguese.