David William Foster (1940-2020) Biography
David William Foster (1940-2020) was born in Seattle, Washington, on September 11, 1940, to William and Rosemond Foster. From 1958 to 1964, David Foster attended the University of Washington and, in those six short years, earned a B.A. in Spanish, an M.A. in Spanish and Romance Linguistics, and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature.
Foster arrived at Arizona State University in 1966, only eight years after the college had become a public university. He recalled that, in those days, Tempe ended at the Safeway located at the intersection of Rural and Broadway Roads, and he could always easily park his car right in front of the School of International Languages and Culture. Foster taught at ASU for 54 years and never had any plans to retire.
Foster became a Regents’ Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies — the highest faculty honor at ASU — in 1991. This honor is conferred to faculty members who “have made pioneering contributions in their areas of expertise, achieved a sustained level of distinction and enjoy national and international recognition for these accomplishments.”
Foster wrote extensively on Argentine narrative and theater. Some of his most important publications include The Argentine Generation of 1880: Ideology and Cultural Texts (1990), Social Realism in the Argentine Narrative (1986), Violence in Argentine Literature: Cultural Responses to Tyranny (1995), and (1994). Foster was interested not only in Argentina but in all of Latin America, and he also wrote about Mexican literature and films in Mexican Literature: A History (1994) and Estudios sobre teatro mexicano contemporáneo: Semiología de la competencia teatral (1984), as well as about Brazilian culture in São Paulo: Perspectives on the City and Cultural Production (2011).
Foster was a pioneer in gender studies during the 1980s and 1990s, and his work on queer theory is internationally recognized. The most well-known titles are Gay and lesbian Themes in Latin American Writing (1991), and Chicano/Latino Homoerotic Identities (1999). His innovative research led to the development of new undergraduate courses at ASU on this subject.
Throughout his career Foster held several Fulbright teaching appointments. In Argentina, he worked at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. In Brazil, Foster was situated at the Universidade Federal do Paraná, and while in Uruguay, he was at the Universidad Católica de Uruguay. Foster also served as an Inter-American Development Bank Professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile. He returned from these trips full of ideas for his new books.
Between 2006 and 2009, Foster was the president of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios Judaicos, founded in 1982 (the Latin American Association for Jewish Studies). In this field, he wrote (2009).
Among other recognitions, Foster was awarded the ASU Graduate College’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor (1989) and the Researcher of the Year by the ASU Alumni Association (1994). In Buenos Aires, he received the 2000 Armando Discépolo Prize from the Grupo de Estudios de Teatro Argentino y Latinoamericano at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 2010, Foster was honored for his work on Argentine cultural production by the Argentine National Library.
Foster was an urbanite. He loved cities, particularly Buenos Aires and Phoenix. In this vein, he wrote Perspectives on the City and Cultural Productions (1998) and Glimpses of Phoenix: The Desert Metropolis in Written and Visual Media (2013).
Photography and film were two of Foster’s deepest interests. In this area, he wrote Urban Photography in Argentina: Nine Artists of the Post-Dictatorship Era (2007), Latin American Documentary Filmmaking: Major works (2013), Gender and Society in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema (1999), and
Foster’s advocacy for the Spanish language included popularizing Latin-American literature through literary translations of books by Néstor Perlongher, José Pablo Feinmann, Lucía Puenzo, and Ana María Shua, among others.
by Carmen Urioste-Azcorra (SILC) and Seonaid Valiant (ASU Library)
Selected Writings by David William Foster available online.
David William Foster, American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc, Hispania, 2015-09-01, Vol.98 (3), p.385-387.
David William Foster, Iberoamericana / Vervuert, Iberoamericana (Madrid, Spain), 2014-06-01, Vol.5 (19), p.27-40.
David William Foster, Tempe: Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana, 2013-05-01, Vol.42 (1), p.256-257.
Holcombe, W. Daniel ; Foster, David William, University of Texas Press, Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, 2012, Vol.30 (1), p.194-214.
David William Foster, Medford: Latinoamericana Editores, Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana, 2011-01-01, Vol.37 (73), p.173-181.
David William Foster, Greeley: University of Northern Colorado, Department of Hispanic Studies, Confluencia (Greeley, Colo.), 2011-09-22, Vol.27 (1), p.212.
David William Foster, Tempe: Chasqui, 2010, Vol.39 (2), p.243.
David William Foster, Department of Romance Languages, University of North Carolina Romance Notes, 2010-01-01, Vol.50 (1), p.61-66.
David William Foster, Tempe: Chasqui, 2010, Vol.39 (2), p.249.
David William Foster, Department of Spanish of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Hispanic Journal, 2009-04-01, Vol.30 (1/2), p.205-211.
David William Foster, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Arquivo Maaravi (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil), 2009-10-01, Vol.3 (5), p.22-28.
David William Foster, New York: Bilingual Review / La Revista Bilingüe, The Bilingual Review, 2008-05-01, Vol.29 (2/3), p.23-44.
David William Foster, The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Hispania, 2007-09-01, Vol.90 (3), p.462-469.
David William Foster, Tempe: Arizona State University - Languages and Literatures, Chasqui, 2006, Vol.35 (1), p.134.
David William Foster, Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana, 2006-01-01, Vol.35, p.98-109.
David William Foster, University of Arizona, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 2005-01-01, Vol.9 (9), p.87-97.
David William Foster, Kingston: Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Association Canadienne des études Latino-Américaines et Caraïbes, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes, 2005-01-01, Vol.30 (59), p.198-200.
David William Foster, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 2003-01-01, Vol.7 (1), p.278-279.
David William Foster, Universidade de São Paulo, Significação (Ribeirão Preto), 2002-11-01, Vol.29 (18), p.89-113.
David William Foster, Department of Spanish and the Graduate School of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Hispanic Journal, 2002-10-01, Vol.23 (2), p.91-101.
David William Foster, The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Hispania, 2001-09-01, Vol.84 (3), p.441-450.
David William Foster, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 1997-01-01, Vol.1 (1), p.77-96.
David William Foster, USA: Latin American Studies Association, Latin American Research Review, 1987-01-01, Vol.22 (1), p.7-34.
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