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Cosmopolitanism in the Americas

by Camilla Fojas

Publication Year: 2005

This study is about the aporia between cosmopolitanism as a sign of justice and cosmopolitanism as the consumption and display of international luxury items and cultural production.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Comparative Cultural Studies


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pp. vii-x

Before the turn of the nineteenth century, the “Americas” referred to the shared histories of revolutionary independence across the hemisphere. Yet, the term had contested meanings depending on the context of its use. Lester Langley notes that even before the Latin American wars of independence, the term “American” came to serve as a symbol of cultural unity against the Spanish. ...

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pp. xi-xii

This work was written and rewritten with the support, mentorship, and relentless encouragement of various colleagues and institutional assistance. I began a major portion of this work while in residence at the International Center for Advanced Studies Project on Cities and Urban Knowledges at New York University under the scholarly direction of Thomas Bender. ...

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INTRODUCTION: Cosmopolitanism in the Americas: Becoming Worldly, Becoming Modern

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pp. 1-25

The Free Trade Area of the Americas, potentially the largest free trade agreement in the world, far surpassing the North American Free Trade Agreement, has a long history; in fact, it is the culmination of cosmopolitan theories of a Pan-American community founded on the universals of peace, justice, and equality. The Pan- American movement originated in Latin America; ...

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CHAPTER ONE: Thresholds of Cosmopolitanism: Prefaces to Modernity and Other-Worldly Readings

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pp. 26-42

In the late nineteenth century, cosmopolitanism was associated with the large metropolises of Europe, ancient capitals and centers of cultural life where immigrants from all over the world gathered. For Latin Americans and others located beyond the centers of Euro-modernity, these cities held the promise of a cosmopolitan way of being, and exemplified an elusive complex of ideas about modernity: ...

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CHAPTER TWO: Cosmopolitan Topographies of Paris: Citing Balzac

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pp. 43-59

Although Paris had become shorthand for cosmopolitan hospitality, this was more an effect of a literary imagination than the actual experience of the city. Paris was more imagined than real, its mythology disseminated by a number of writers associated with its cultural landscape. Charles Baudelaire scandalized his reading public with seductive itineraries of the synesthetic experience of walking the city streets, traversing territories marked out and split open by various kinds of traffic and trafficking. ...

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CHAPTER THREE: Cosmopolitan Decadence: Writing Inversions

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pp. 60-84

Decadence was a symptom of modernity and its cardinal pose. In Latin America, decadence was considered a direct consequence of cosmopolitanism because of its openness to foreign influence. The attribution of decadence was as arbitrary as it was culturally based and biased; in the case of Balzac’s The Girl with the Golden Eyes, the threat emanated from the colonial other, ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: American Cosmopolis: The World’s Columbian Exposition and Chicago across the Americas

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pp. 85-103

In Good City Form, Kevin Lynch begins with the question, “what makes a good city?” (1). Implicit in this question about structure and planning is the obverse: What makes a city good? Lynch is concerned with the general values associated with the spatial dimensions, organization, and form of the city. He writes: “Decisions about urban policy, or the allocation of resources, ...

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CHAPTER FIVE: Literary Cosmotopias: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Ariel and Cosm

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pp. 104-130

Modernismo in Latin America was considered a feminine literary vocation. Rafael Ferreres cites Guillermo Díaz Plaja’s bold assertion that Spain’s Generation of ’98 represents a masculine movement, while Spanish American modernismo is feminine; eliciting Ferreres’s phobic denunciation: “Good God! If the late Valle-Inclán would have known that he was immersed in a school with feminine features!” ...

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CONCLUSIONS (and Querying the “Other” Cosmopolitanism)

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pp. 131-138

I began this work on cosmopolitanism at the turn of the century with the suspicion that the term had a bad reputation or that it was applied to people in a negative or derisory manner. The explicitly political cosmopolitan organizations and theories of cohesion across the Americas are the normative version of the cosmopolitical, the acceptable version of men organizing and joining together. ...

Works Cited

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pp. 139-146


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pp. 147-150

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490229
E-ISBN-10: 1612490220
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557533821
Print-ISBN-10: 1557533822

Page Count: 162
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies
Series Editor Byline: Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 607651021
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cosmopolitanism in the Americas

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • America -- Politics and government -- 19th century.
  • Latin America -- Civilization -- European influences.
  • Pan-Americanism -- History -- 19th century.
  • City and town life in literature.
  • Cosmopolitanism -- America -- History -- 19th century.
  • Literary movements -- America -- History -- 19th century.
  • American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
  • Latin American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
  • America -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.
  • America -- Civilization -- 19th century.
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