University of Pittsburgh

Background of the Center

In 1994 Ivan Almeida and Cristina Parodi founded the Jorge Luis Borges for Studies and Documentation at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.  At that time, they asked, "Why create a Borges Center in a so faraway country? And why the University of Aarhus?  Well, it is known that Jorge Luis Borges was 'mythically' attracted by the Nordic countries and to 'the words with which the rugged Nord sang its seas and its swords.' But that is just an emblematic argument... There is also a topological argument. Aarhus is not Argentine, and keeping far away from the 'eye of the hurricane' brings all the leisure to spend the time in reading and studying... Then, there is the historical reason. Two scholars at the University of Aarhus, one specialized in philosophy, the other in literature, sharing the same passion for this inexhaustible adventure, considered that the growing number of scholars across the world studying Borges' work calls for an international project dedicated to assembling their efforts. And the Borges Center was founded in response to that need. Borges' writings have always inspired, and still inspire, the most varied array of approaches. Among those subjects that touch upon borgesian scholarship can be included -to name only a few- literature, narratology, semiotics, linguistics and other language sciences; historiography, philosophy, theology and comparative mythology; folklore, bestiary, alchemy, and cabala; and even mathematics, cinema and tango. Such a wide horizon of intellectual involvements offers many unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research. This forecast soon proved to be right, and many of the best specialists in the world immediately brought their enthusiastic support."

Almeida and Parodi retired from the University of Aarhus in 2005 and the Borges Center moved to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa in the midwestern United States.  When its director, Daniel Balderston, moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 2008, it moved to its current home.