Miguel Caballero’s academic background is in literature and linguistics, which he combines with research in art and architecture. He mainly writes about 1920s-1960s Spain, while keeping a transnational perspective.
Caballero is currently completing a book manuscript titled Monumental Anxieties: Protective Avant-Garde in the Spanish Civil War, which explores the debate on the so-called “death of monuments” resulting from their alleged incompatibility with modernity. Taking the avant-garde protection of Madrid monuments as a centerpiece, he analyzes novels, poetry, vignettes, protection projects, urban plans, propaganda, and other media to examine different forms of protection and iconoclasm during wartime, and the resulting proposals for what a “modern monument” could be.
Drawing on a conceptual historical approach, and artistic practices, Caballero uses monuments as a peephole to understand the war and the radical 1930s. His manuscript discusses issues such as the relation between ornament and hunger, monuments and the masses, and the monumental scale of construction and the massive scale of political mobilization. Key figures are writers Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Agustín de Foxá, Arturo Barea, María Teresa León, Federico García Lorca or Dionisio Ridruejo; artists such as Josep Renau; and architects such as Fernando García Mercadal or Josep María Sert.
Caballero is curating several exhibitions related to his book project: on exiled Republican writers in the Regenstein Library, University of Chicago; on experimental monuments of international communism in the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow; and on Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Josep Renau, monumentality and mass mobilization in IVAM, Valencia. Caballero’s dissertation addressed case studies of Mexico and Brazil as well, reflecting his interest in comparative perspectives. He received his PhD from Princeton University in 2017.
Caballero also writes about AIDS, as in the blog ASS- (Amor, Sexo y Serología) between 2015-2017. He is also interested in psychoanalysis. In 2014, he founded the Princeton Psychoanalysis Reading Group, which in 2015 organized the conference Freud Today at the Freud Museum in Vienna. In 2016-2017, Caballero was a Fellow of the American Psychoanalytic Association.