University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Alvaro A Bernal, PhD

  • Professor, Foreign Language

Education & Training

  • BA Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Bogota, Colombia
  • MA Governors State University
  • MA University of Northern Iowa
  • PhD (2005) University of Iowa

Representative Publications

Professor Bernal is the author of two books: PERCEPCIONES E IMÁGENES DE BOGOTÁ: EXPRESIONES LITERARIAS URBANAS (2010, second edition 2018) and BOGOTÁ: REALIDADES, DELIRIOS Y FICCIONES (2016).

1. Percepciones e imágenes de Bogotá (Perceptions and Images of Bogota) 2012 Magisterio, Bogotá, 2018 La Mirada Malva, Granada.

This book takes an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on literature to bring up to date the Colombian capital in terms of its representation and evolution. Starting from the heteroclite modernization process of Colombia, Bogota is a space that harbors multiple temporalities, disagreements, contradictions, and subcultures. The novels studied in this book track the series of changes that Bogota gradually faced until it became one of the most captivating cities in Latin America. This study begins in the sixties with the novel Prohibido salir a la calle - Forbidden to go Outside by Consuelo Triviño, progressing chronologically with Sin remedio - Without Remedy by Antonio Caballero, and some of the novels by Mario Mendoza. It ends with the contemporary Bogota that is portrayed in Al diablo la maldita primavera - To Hell with the Damn Spring by Alonso Sanchez Baute. Finally, the book has informative interviews with the four authors. Perceptions and Images of Bogota analyzes the transformation of the brick-and-mortar city to the effervescent city that is lived, remembered, imagined, and rewritten daily.

2. Bogotá: realidades, delirios y ficciones (Bogota: Realities, Deliriums, and Fictions) 2018
Magisterio, Bogotá

This book examines the city from two complementary perspectives. At first, it focuses on the Colombian capital and its urban culture. A suggestive semiotic tour of some areas of the city with the intent of revealing, reading, and analyzing different scenes, events, and transformations of the city. It also reflects on memory, class attitudes, commerce, social relations, and perhaps the nostalgia that the city may leave in its inhabitants. The second part introduces a panorama that explores recent narratives and the most representative films that depict Bogota from the second half of the 20th century to the present. The final part of this work is modeled on investigations of the city with careful close attention to urban symbols, icons and, events, following the theoretical approaches of Clifford Geertz, Beatriz Sarlo, and Adrian Gorelik.


Research Interests

  • Contemporary Latin American Literature and cinema
  • Colombian Literature
  • Literary representations of Latin American cities
  • Latin American urban cultures
  • Immigration Literature
  • Crime fiction narratives
  • Don Quixote
  • Creative writing 


Academic Programs