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What do twentieth-century fictional images of the Chinese reveal about the construction of nationhood in the former West Indian colonies? In her groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Searching for Mr. Chin, Anne-Marie Lee-Loy seeks to map and understand a cultural process of identity formation: “Chineseness” in the West Indies.
Reading behind the stereotypical image of the Chinese in the West Indies, she compares fictional representations of Chinese characters in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana to reveal the social and racial hierarchies present in literature by popular authors such as V.S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon, as well as lesser known writers and hard to access literary texts.
Using historical, discursive, and theoretical frameworks for her literary analysis, Lee-Loy shows how the unstable and ambiguous “belonging” afforded to this “middleman minority” speaks to the ways in which narrative boundaries of the nation are established. In addition to looking at how Chinese have been viewed as “others,” Lee-Loy examines self-representations of “Chineseness” and how they complicate national narratives of belonging.
Subalternity in the Backlands of Brazil
In the late nineteenth century, the Brazilian army staged several campaigns against the settlement of Canudos in northeastern Brazil. The colony’s residents followed a man known as Antonio Conselheiro (“the Counselor”), who promoted a communal existence free of taxes and oppression. To the fledgling republic of Brazil, the settlement represented a threat to its system of government. Estimates of the death toll range from fifteen thousand to thirty thousand. Sentencing Canudos presents an original perspective on the hegemonic intellectual discourse surrounding this monumental event in Brazilian history. Adriana Michele Campos Johnson offers a close examination of nation building and the silencing of other voices through the reinvisioning of history. Looking primarily to Euclides da Cunha’s Os Sertões, which has become the defining—and nearly exclusive—account of the conflict, she maintains that the events and people of Canudos have been sentenced to history by this work. Johnson investigates other accounts of Canudos such as local oral histories, letters, newspaper articles, and the writings of Cunha’s contemporaries in order to strip away political agendas.
Severo Sarduy never enjoyed the same level of notoriety as did other Latin American writers like García Márquez and Vargas-Llosa, and his compatriot, Cabrera-Infante. On the other hand, he never lacked for excellent critical interpretations of his work from critics like Roberto González Echevarría, René Prieto, Gustavo Guerrero, and other reputable scholars. Missing, however, from what is otherwise an impressive body of critical commentary, is a study of the importance of painting and architecture, firstly, to his theory, and secondly, to his creative work. In order to fill this lacuna in Sarduy studies, Rolando Pérez’s book undertakes a critical approach to Sarduy’s essays—Barroco, Escrito sobre un cuerpo, “Barroco y neobarroco,” and La simulación—from the stand point of art history. Often overlooked in Sarduy studies is the fact that the twenty-three-year-old Sarduy left Cuba for Paris in 1961 to study not literature but art history, earning the equivalent of a Master’s Degree from the École du Louvre with a thesis on Roman art. And yet it was the art of the Italian Renaissance (e.g., the paintings as well as the brilliant and numerous treatises on linear perspective produced from the 15th to the 16th century) and what Sarduy called the Italian, Spanish, and colonial Baroque or “neo-baroque” visually based aesthetic that interested him and to which he dedicated so many pages. In short, no book on Sarduy until now has traced the multifaceted art historical background that informed the work of this challenging and exciting writer. And though Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts is far from being an introduction, it will be a book that many a critic of Sarduy and the Latin American “baroque” will consult in years to come.
Interrogating the Caribbean
This multi-disciplinary collection of essays draws on current anxieties about "legitimate" sexual identities and practices across the Caribbean to explore both the impact of globalization and the legacy of the region's history of sexual exploitation during colonialism and slavery.
Vol. 5 (2001) through current issue
Small Axe focuses on the renewal of practices of intellectual criticism. It recognizes a tradition of social, political, and cultural criticism in and about regional/disasporic Caribbean and honors that tradition but also argues with it because it is through such argument that a tradition renews itself.
Perspectives on the City and Cultural Production
David Foster brings an intense curiosity and lifelong familiarity to this unique examination of the cultural tapestry of São Paulo, the largest city in South America and the second largest in Latin America.
Examining everything from the poetics of Mário de Andrade to the Eisner Award–winning graphic novels of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá, Foster paints a portrait as colorful and multifaceted as the city it reveals. He offers representative examples of poetry, fiction, graphic art, photography, film, and social commentary to introduce readers to some of the most important cultural dimensions of the city as well as some of its most outstanding writers and artists.
Foster selects his featured artists and works with care and precision in order to reveal insights into the development of the city throughout the twentieth century. This is a tour-de-force overview of the cultural output of one of the world’s great urban centers, one that future researchers on Brazilian culture will ignore at their peril.
The Spectacular City, Mexico, and Colonial Hispanic Literary Culture tracks the three spectacular forces of New World literary culture—cities, festivals, and wonder—from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, from the Old World to the New, and from Mexico to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It treats a multitude of imperialist and anti-imperialist texts in depth, including poetry, drama, protofiction, historiography, and journalism. While several of the landmark authors studied, including Hernán Cortés and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, are familiar, others have received remarkably little critical attention. Similarly, in spotlighting creole writers, Merrim reveals an intertextual tradition in Mexico that spans two centuries. Because the spectacular city reaches its peak in the seventeenth century, Merrim’s book also theorizes and details the spirited work of the New World Baroque. The result is the rich examination of a trajectory that leads from the Renaissance ordered city to the energetic revolts of the spectacular city and the New World Baroque.
Chilean Culture, Economics, and the Neoliberal Transition
Fornazzari analyzes the reconfiguration of the aesthetic and the economic spheres in the context of the Chilean neoliberal transition (1973 to the present) and argues that one of the dominant legacies of that transition is the economization of all spheres of life. This logic is explored through a series of emergent figures in contemporary Chilean cultural and economic production. Fornazzari examines the relation between the aesthetic and the economic in the context of the Chilean transition, and the texts under analysis comprise a varied selection from different fields including literature, film, economic texts, the visual arts, cultural critique, and political theory. One of the author’s ambitions is to move beyond a culturalistic approach, so he explores the logic of neoliberalism proper by engaging with the economic theory produced by some of the major Chicago School thinkers and their reception by the Chilean economic discourse. Through an analysis of these figures Fornazzari develops a critical materialist approach to culture and the economy in a neoliberal context.
This exploration of class, feminism, and cultural identity (including issues of race, nation, colonialism, and economic imperialism) focuses on the work of four writers: the Mozambican Mia Couto, the Portuguese José Saramago, the Brazilian Clarice Lispector and the South African J. M. Coetzee. In the first section, the author discusses the political aspects of Couto’s collection of short stories Contos do nascer da terra (Stories of the Birth of the Land) and Saramago’s novel O ano da morte de Ricardo Reis (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis). The second section explores similar themes in Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K and Lispector’s A hora da estrela (The Hour of the Star). Marques argues that these four writers are political in the sense that they bring to the forefront issues pertaining to the power of literature to represent, misrepresent, and debate matter related to different subaltern subjects: the postcolonial subject, the poor subject (the "poor other"), and the female subject. She also discusses the "ahuman other" in the context of the subjectivity of the natural world, the dead, and the unborn, and shows how these aspects are present in all the different societies addressed and point to the mystical dimension that permeates most societies. With regard to Couto's work, this "ahuman other" is approached mostly through a discussion of the holistic, animist values and epistemologies that inform and guide Mozambican traditional societies, while in further analyses the notion is approached via discussions on phenomenology, elementality, and divinity following the philosophies of Lévinas and Irigaray and mystical consciousness in Zen Buddhism and the psychology of Jung.
The Body and Memory in African American Women's Writing and Performance
Focusing specifically and exclusively on the relation of trauma to race, this book distinguishes itself from previous studies of the literatures of trauma. Jennifer Griffiths examines the influence of racism on the creation and reception of trauma survivors' narrative testimony in selected works by African American writers and playwrights.