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This book constitutes an attempt to theorize the process of the emergence, in eighteenth-century New Spain, of a position of intellectual subjectivity differentiated from that established by the regime of Spanish imperial authority. The principal concern has been to trace how certain groups of criollo intellectuals try to construct such discourses, paradoxically, out of the framework of available European systems of knowledge and representation. In this fashion, it was sought to discern the outline of an ideological program for criollo political and cultural hegemony in the eighteenth century
Cinema, Writing, and Modernity in Rio de Janeiro
Consuming Visions explores the relationship between cinema and writing in early twentieth-century Brazil, focusing on how the new and foreign medium of film was consumed by a literary society in the throes of modernization. Maite Conde places this relationship in the specific context of turn-of-the-century Rio de Janeiro, which underwent a radical transformation to a modern global city, becoming a concrete symbol of the country's broader processes of change and modernization. Analyzing an array of literary texts, from journalistic essays and popular women's novels to anarchist treatises and vaudeville plays, the author shows how the writers' encounters with the cinema were consistent with the significant changes taking place in the city.
The arrival and initial development of the cinema in Brazil were part of the new urban landscape in which early Brazilian movies not only articulated the processes of the city's modernization but also enabled new urban spectators—women, immigrants, a new working class, and a recently liberated slave population—to see, believe in, and participate in its future. In the process, these early movies challenged the power of the written word and of Brazilian writers, threatening the hegemonic function of writing that had traditionally forged the contours of the nation's cultural life. An emerging market of consumers of the new cultural phenomena—popular theater, the department store, the factory, illustrated magazines—reflected changes that not only modernized literary production but also altered the very life and everyday urban experiences of the population. Consuming Visions is an ambitious and engaging examination of the ways in which mass culture can become an agent of intellectual and aesthetic transformation.
Between Myth and Nation in the Caribbean
During the colonial period in Guyana, the country’s coastal lands were worked by enslaved Africans and indentured Indians. In Creole Indigeneity, Shona N. Jackson investigates how their descendants, collectively called Creoles, have remade themselves as Guyana’s new natives, displacing indigenous peoples in the Caribbean through an extension of colonial attitudes and policies.
Looking particularly at the nation’s politically fraught decades from the 1950s to the present, Jackson explores aboriginal and Creole identities in Guyanese society. Through government documents, interviews, and political speeches, she reveals how Creoles, though unable to usurp the place of aboriginals as First Peoples in the New World, nonetheless managed to introduce a new, more socially viable definition of belonging, through labor. The very reason for bringing enslaved and indentured workers into Caribbean labor became the organizing principle for Creoles’ new identities.
Creoles linked true belonging, and so political and material right, to having performed modern labor on the land; labor thus became the basis for their subaltern, settler modes of indigeneity—a contradiction for belonging under postcoloniality that Jackson terms “Creole indigeneity.” In doing so, her work establishes a new and productive way of understanding the relationship between national power and identity in colonial, postcolonial, and anticolonial contexts.
Rhetoric of Betrayal and Guilt in the Caribbean Diaspora
In Creole Renegades, Bénédicte Boisseron looks at exiled Caribbean authors—Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, V. S. Naipaul, Maryse Condé, Dany Laferriére, and more—whose works have been well received in their adopted North American countries but who are often viewed by their home islands as sell-outs, opportunists, or traitors.
These expatriate and second-generation authors refuse to be simple bearers of Caribbean culture, often dramatically distancing themselves from the postcolonial archipelago. Their writing is frequently infused with an enticing sense of cultural, sexual, or racial emancipation, but their deviance is not defiant.
Underscoring the typically ignored contentious relationship between modern diaspora authors and the Caribbean, Boisseron ultimately argues that displacement and creative autonomy are often manifest in guilt and betrayal, central themes that emerge again and again in the work of these writers.
Migrant Caribbean Identities in Literature and Film
Creolizing the Metropole is a comparative study of postwar West Indian migration to the former colonial capitals of Paris and London. It studies the effects of this population shift on national and cultural identity and traces the postcolonial Caribbean experience through analyses of the concepts of identity and diaspora. Through close readings of selected literary works and film, H. Adlai Murdoch explores the ways in which these immigrants and their descendants represented their metropolitan identities. Though British immigrants were colonial subjects and, later, residents of British Commonwealth nations, and the French arrivals from the overseas departments were citizens of France by law, both groups became subject to otherness and exclusion stemming from their ethnicities. Murdoch examines this phenomenon and the questions it raises about borders and boundaries, nationality and belonging.
El siglo XIX en la ficción contemporánea de Argentina, Chile y Uruguay (1980–2001)
n the last decades—and especially since the 1990s—there has been a noticeable reemergence of the nineteenth century in Southern Cone culture. Popular nineteenth-century figures (indios, gauchos, letrados, and cautivas) have reentered the national literary scene in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Nineteenth-century heroes such as San Martín and Artigas are again the main protagonists of Southern Cone theater, film, and literature. Canonical nineteenth-century texts (La cautiva, Martín Fierro, Facundo) are being rewritten one more time in different artistic fields. Foundational nineteenth-century genres (travel narratives, gauchesque poems, and national romances) are being transformed and recycled. Controversial nineteenth-century events (the civil wars, the massacre of indigenous communities) are being revisited and explored. Through a combination of close textual analysis and a broader perspective rooted in cultural theory, this book answers two interrelated questions: Why did the nineteenth century resurface so strongly in the last decades? What are the ideological implications of this reemergence? Based on a transnational comparison of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, and a survey of narratives that were mostly produced by well-known figures (political activists, public intellectuals, and canonical authors), Crisis y reemergencia helps to elucidate how the Southern Cone cultural field has changed since the 1990s: how intellectuals’ ethics, national identities, and discursive strategies that were functional to the consolidation of liberalism in the nineteenth century have been challenged, transformed, and rethought in the last decades. Borrowing from cultural Marxism, discourse analysis, and postcolonial theory, the book pursues a triple contribution: to define the discursive and ideological components that were at the core of the nineteenth century, to show their continuity up to the 1990s (and thus clarify the connections between liberalism and neoliberalism), and to expose their recent transformation—a transformation that paved the way for the “return of the political” to the region.
Le thème de la réclusion, cette forme de violence directe qui consiste à limiter la mobilité physique d’un sujet, traverse la littérature. En effet, l’expérience de l’enfermement, de cet espace-temps intermédiaire créé par la contrainte, a inspiré l’œuvre de plusieurs auteurs. Peu importe la forme que prend l’enfermement, fictif ou réel, dans des contextes de violence explicite ou implicite, les écritures de la réclusion mettent au jour les liens entre le politique, le social et le traitement qu’en fait l’art. Les auteurs de cet ouvrage explorent l’expression de la réclusion, que ce soit dans la littérature hispano-américaine postdictatoriale, en particulier dans le roman Le fourgon des fous de l’écrivain uruguayen Carlos Liscano, en contexte antillais dans l’œuvre de Patrick Chamoiseau, dans les classiques africains, dans Lefeu ou la démolition de l’écrivain autrichien Jean Améry, dans les aveux de comploteurs guinéens, dans le contexte du Centre de rééducation civique de Tcholliré au Cameroun ou encore dans l’œuvre du célèbre auteur d’origine togolaise Kossi Efoui. Une entrevue inédite avec ce dernier conclut par ailleurs l’ouvrage, qui offre un cadre large et varié pour réfléchir aux violences institutionnelles faites aux collectivités et aux individus, à leurs modes de fonctionnement et à ce qu’en fait l’art, la littérature en particulier.
Christian Text and Queer Narrative in the Fiction of José Lezama Lima and Reinaldo Arenas
The queer presence that animates and informs the fiction of José Lezama Lima and Reinaldo Arenas, two of the most prominent Cuban writers since the Revolution, nonetheless haunts their work by its absence. Eduardo González draws on the Christian concept of the Fall from grace and the possibility of redemption, on the work of selected Western canonical authors, and on several contemporary films to show how the chosen texts by the two writers both replicate and are enhanced by these sources and illustrate the interplay of word, image, and belief in the story line and moral tale that González develops.
The Dollar and “Special Period” Fiction
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, during an economic crisis termed its “special period in times of peace,” Cuba began to court the capitalist world for the first time since its 1959 revolution. With the U.S. dollar instated as domestic currency, the island seemed suddenly accessible to foreign consumers, and their interest in its culture boomed.
Cuban Currency is the first book to address the effects on Cuban literature of the country’s spectacular opening to foreign markets that marked the end of the twentieth century. Based on interviews and archival research in Havana, Esther Whitfield argues that writers have both challenged and profited from new transnational markets for their work, with far-reaching literary and ideological implications. Whitfield examines money and cross-cultural economic relations as they are inscribed in Cuban fiction. Exploring the work of Zoé Valdés, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Antonio José Ponte and others, she draws out writers’ engagements with the troublesome commodification of Cuban identity.
Confronting the tourist and publishing industries’ roles in the transformation of the Cuban revolution into commercial capital, Whitfield identifies a body of fiction peculiarly attuned to the material and political challenges of the “special period.”
Esther Whitfield is assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown University.