Latin American Studies Association

I N THI S I S S UE
forum
WI NTE R 2009
|
VOL UME XL
|
I S S UE 1
On the Profession
¿De qué cine hablamos? Las tareas de los
Estudios del Cine Latinoamericano
por CLAUDIA FERMAN
Estudos de Cinema na Universidade Brasileira
por FERNÃO PESSOA RAMOS
Películas de papel: Cartografía del estudio
del cine de América Latina
por GUSTAVO A. REMEDI
Latin American Cinema and
Latin American Studies
by KATHLEEN NEWMAN
Latin American Film Scholarship in the UK
Mapping the Field
by JOHN KING
Debates
Inequality in Latin American Literary
and Cultural Studies
Introduction
by CYNTHIA STEELE
Against (In)equality
Bad Latin American Literature
by JON BEASLEY-MURRAY
Overcoming Colonialism
Writing in Indigenous Languages
by JEAN FRANCO
Inscriptions of Inequality in Latin American
Literary and Cultural Studies
by IDELBER AVELAR
Perspectivas eco-críticas latinoamericanas
Conocimientos transpuestos recuperados
por ILEANA RODRÍGUEZ
¿Existe un giro neoconservador en
Latinoamérica hoy?
por JOHN BEVERLEY
Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Marginality in
Contemporary Latin American Literature
by LUZ HORNE and DANIEL NOEMI VOIONMAA
1 Alfred C. Stepan | Recipient of Kalman Silvert Award for 2009
2 From the President | by ERIC HERSHBERG
ON THE PROFESSI ON
5 ¿De qué cine hablamos? Las tareas de los Estudios del Cine Latinoamericano
por CLAUDIA FERMAN
7 Estudos de Cinema na Universidade Brasileira | por FERNÃO PESSOA RAMOS
9 Películas de papel: Cartografía del estudio del cine de América Latina
por GUSTAVO A. REMEDI
10 Latin American Cinema and Latin American Studies | by KATHLEEN NEWMAN
16 Latin American Film Scholarship in the UK: Mapping the Field | by JOHN KING
DEBATES
Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
19 Introduction | by CYNTHIA STEELE
20 Against (In)equality: Bad Latin American Literature | by JON BEASLEY-MURRAY
24 Overcoming Colonialism: Writing in Indigenous Languages | by JEAN FRANCO
27 Inscriptions of Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
by IDELBER AVELAR
30 Perspectivas eco-críticas latinoamericanas: Conocimientos transpuestos
recuperados | por ILEANA RODRÍGUEZ
33 ¿Existe un giro neoconservador en Latinoamérica hoy? | por JOHN BEVERLEY
36 Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Marginality in Contemporary
Latin American Literature | by LUZ HORNE and DANIEL NOEMI VOIONMAA
ON LASA2009
41 Report from the Program Chairs | by EVELYNE HUBER and CYNTHIA STEELE
42 Rio de Janeiro | por KARL ERIK SCHØLLHAMMER
NEWS FROM LASA
47 LASA Voluntary Support | by SANDY KLINZING
LASA SECTI ONS
50 Section News
PERSONAL AND PROFESSI ONAL NOTES
51 In Memoriam | DONNA LEE VAN COTT
Table of Contents
President
Eric Hershberg, Simon Fraser University
eric_hershberg@sfu.ca
Vice President
John Coatsworth, Columbia University
jhc2125@columbia.edu
Past President
Charles R. Hale, University of Texas, Austin
crhale@mail.utexas.edu
Treasurer
Kevin Middlebrook, University of London
kevinmiddlebrook@aol.com
EXECUTI VE COUNCI L
For term ending April 2009
Ariel Armony, Colby College
Guillermo Delgado, University of California/Santa Cruz
José Rabasa, University of California/Berkeley
For term ending October 2010
Jonathan Hartlyn, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Teresa Valdés, Center for the Study and Development of
Women (CEDEM), Chile
Deborah Yashar, Princeton University
Ex Officio
Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Cynthia Steele, University of Washington, Seattle
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh
Philip Oxhorn, McGill University
FORUM EDI TORI AL COMMI TTEE
Editor
Eric Hershberg, Simon Fraser University
Associate Editor
Antonio Sérgio A. Guimarães, Universidade de São Paulo
Managing Editor
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh
FORUM EDI TORI AL ADVI SORY COMMI TTEE
Carlos Iván Degregori, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos
Katherine Hite, Vassar College
Hilda Sábato, Universidad de Buenos Aires
LASA STAFF
Membership Coordinator
Jenna B. Bielewicz, University of Pittsburgh
Congress Coordinator
Melissa A. Raslevich, University of Pittsburgh
Assistant Director for Institutional Advancement
Sandra Klinzing, University of Pittsburgh
Executive Director
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh
Administrative Coordinator
Israel R. Perlov, University of Pittsburgh
The LASA Forum is published four times a year. It is
the official vehicle for conveying news about the Latin
American Studies Association to its members. Articles
appearing in the On the Profession and Debates sections
of the Forum are commissioned by the Editorial Committee
and deal with selected themes. The Committee welcomes
responses to any material published in the Forum.
Opinions expressed herein are those of individual authors
and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Latin
American Studies Association or its officers.
ISSN 0890-7218
Alfred Stepan is the Wallace S. Sayre
Professor of Government at the School of
International and Public Affairs and the
Department of Political Science at Columbia
University. He is also the Founder and
Director of the Center for the Study of
Democracy, Tolerance and Religion at
Columbia, a Fellow of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the
British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of St
Antony’s College at Oxford University, and a
holder of the Ordem do Rio Branco,
Commendador, awarded by the Brazilian
Government in 2002. He received his B.A.
from the University of Notre Dame, a B.A.
and M.A. from Balliol College, Oxford, in
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and a
Ph.D. from Columbia University in Political
Science.
His many books and articles have made him
a leading figure among scholars studying
Latin American politics as well as those
studying comparative politics more broadly.
His first book, The Military in Politics:
Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton
University Press, 1971) was followed by The
State and Society: Peru in Comparative
Perspective (Princeton 1978). His
collaboration with Juan Linz, who was his
professor at Columbia and then a colleague
at Yale, has lasted into the present and
produced the path breaking volumes The
Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Johns
Hopkins 1978) and Problems of Democratic
Transition and Consolidation: Southern
Europe, South America and Post-
Communist Europe (Johns Hopkins,
1996)—now translated into about a dozen
languages including Farsi, Chinese, Croatian
and Basa-Indonesian. Their latest opus,
Democracy and Multinational Societies:
India and Other Polities (with Yogendra
Yadav), is forthcoming with Johns Hopkins
University Press. At the same time, Stepan
continued to write on Brazilian politics and
the role of the military in politics more
generally, authoring Rethinking Military
Politics: Brazil and the Southern Cone
(Princeton University Press, 1988) and
editing Democratizing Brazil: Problems of
Transition and Consolidation (Oxford
University Press, 1989). As the titles suggest,
the conditions supporting the establishment
and preservation of democracy as a form of
government securing peaceful resolution of
conflicts and coexistence of different ethnic
groups and religions have been the
intellectual puzzle driving the research.
Beginning with The State and Society,
Stepan’s work has profoundly shaped the
agenda of scholars interested in the nature of
the state and the role of political institutions
proper in shaping regime forms and in the
role of the military in politics.
Before going to Columbia University in
1999, Stepan taught at Yale (1970-83) where
he chaired the Council on Latin American
Studies (1972-1981, except when on leave);
he served as Dean of the School of
International and Public Affairs at Columbia
(1983-1991) and as first Rector and
President of the Central European University
and Member of the Board of Directors of the
Soros Open Society Foundation (1993-96);
and he was the Gladstone Professor of
Government and Fellow at All Souls College,
University of Oxford (1996-1999). He has
been the recipient of numerous fellowships
and research grants from organizations such
as the Ford Foundation, Carnegie
Corporation of New York, Guggenheim
Foundation, and the Social Science Research
Council. He has lectured at more than 150
institutions in approximately 30 countries
around the globe. He has lent his seemingly
boundless energy to many professional and
public service projects. Among them are the
Annenberg/ WGBH 10-hour TV Series
entitled “Americas,” which took some seven
years to complete, won two awards, and
remains a great teaching tool for classes on
Latin America. He served for a dozen years
on the National Executive Committee of the
human rights organization Americas Watch
(1982-1994). In 1981-1982 he was a
member of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh’s
advisory group to design the Kellogg
Institute for International Studies at the
University of Notre Dame, and later he
served for a dozen years on the Advisory
Board of the Institute.
Among the many important roles Stepan has
played, the role of mentor figures
prominently. He has served on no fewer
than forty Ph.D. dissertation committees,
well more than half related to Latin
America. His message to his students has
been consistent: “You are writing this
dissertation not for yourself and the
committee—you are writing a book!”
Indeed, at least twenty-five of the
dissertations have been published as books,
and more are on the way to publication.
Colleagues and students, both present and
former, from Latin America, the United
States, Europe, and elsewhere, have always
played central roles as intellectual partners
for Stepan—members of his invisible colleges
that span continents and decades. His
enthusiasm for the study of politics, and his
conviction that knowledge can have
important practical implications have
inspired generations of scholars.
The long interview in Passion, Craft, and
Method in Comparative Politics, by Gerardo
L. Munck and Richard Snyder (Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2007) illustrates
well the way in which Stepan thinks about
his invisible colleges and about his passion
for political science and public affairs, which
he passes on to his students. In response to
1
Alfred C. Stepan
Recipient of the Kalman Silvert Award for 2009
SPECI AL RECOGNI TI ON
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
2
the question how he manages to spend time
in the field despite the many personal and
professional obligations, he observed that
“...e-mails back and forth to members of all
my ‘invisible colleges’ make it easier
....Fieldwork does not just happen in the
field. I sometimes feel that some of my best
fieldwork happens over a long dinner at my
home, when someone is visiting and we have
time for a four-hour conversation” (p.431).
When asked about the role of normative
values in his work and engagement with
public affairs, he responded: “I have always
chosen to work on problems that affect a lot
of people. I never understood the argument
that social science should be value-free....It is
difficult to find a problem you care
passionately about if you don’t allow your
values to influence your decision about what
is important to study....I have always been
much more interested in doing what I want
by myself, rather than working for an
administration. On the other hand...I have
even been willing to insert myself into
complex situations when I feel I have an
analytic edge, and think I can also learn
something, and make a useful contribution.
In this sense, my fieldwork and my political
involvement feed on each other....If I can
contribute something because I have an idea
about a particular public problem, I am
willing to commit myself, as I have often
done for human rights issues” (p. 437).
Professor Stepan will participate in the
Silvert panel session at the XXVIII Congress
of the Latin American Studies Association
on Friday, June 12, 2009, in Rio de Janeiro.
More details will be in the final program
booklet.
As in so many other domains, the
performance of the Bush administration with
regard to Latin America can only be
characterized as irresponsible. Relations
with Cuba and several Andean countries
deteriorated; meddling in domestic affairs of
sovereign, democratic states was widespread;
strategies for enhancing economic
cooperation were limited to the pursuit of
bilateral trade accords of dubious
consequences for vulnerable sectors of the
population in the region; counter-narcotics
policy was carried out overwhelmingly in
military terms; and by loading development
assistance programs with military aid the
United States abdicated its responsibility as a
wealthy nation to provide aid designed to
advance social welfare in highly unequal
societies. The failure to enact comprehensive
immigration reform adversely affected many
countries in the region. Meanwhile,
administration policies not directly aimed at
Latin America—such as the illegal detention
of putative terrorists at the U.S. military
installation at Guantanamo—seriously
undermined our country’s reputation
throughout the region as in other parts of
the world. Largely as a result, U.S. influence
in the region arguably reached an all time
low.
The advent of a new administration in
Washington opens the possibility for
Hemispheric cooperation based on principles
of mutual respect and reciprocity. Public
opinion in Latin America is cautiously
optimistic about the prospects for more
equal partnerships with the United States
under an Obama administration. The
election of an African-American candidate to
the Presidency offers a rare opportunity,
moreover, to restore valorizations of
American democracy that were tarnished by
the Supreme Court’s settlement of the
contested Bush-Gore election of 2000 and
the behavior of the U.S. government in the
so-called War on Terror. But concrete
measures will be required in order to take
advantage of this potentially watershed
moment. The U.S. government could get
things off to a fresh start by signaling a
commitment to normalize relations with
Cuba, enacting comprehensive immigration
reform, and ceasing efforts by U.S. embassies
and government-supported entities to
influence domestic political dynamics in
Latin American countries. An additional
priority should be to re-orient narcotics
control and development assistance
programs from a military to a
developmentalist paradigm.
The June 2009 LASA Congress will afford a
timely space for exploring how these and
other objectives can be met through
concerted actions by governments and civil
society organizations throughout the
Americas. Leading scholars from around the
world will have occasion to debate priorities
and the means for achieving them. That the
meeting of a still predominantly U.S.-based
Association will take place in Rio de Janeiro
is symbolic of the imperative for such
discussions to incorporate voices from the
South as well as from the North.
I hope that representatives of the new
administration in Washington will look to
the Association and its membership for
insights, and that they will increase federal
support for the international studies training
that is crucial to the maintenance of
scholarly expertise about Latin America and
other regions of the world. The knowledge
of researchers in American universities is a
precious resource, and one that should not
be ignored by policy-makers, as has so often
been the case in the past. Whether we see a
greater openness than in the past to scholarly
perspectives, and a desire to expand
understanding of peoples and cultures
outside U.S. borders, will tell us much about
whether the new administration is truly
committed to inviting fresh perspectives on
SILVERT AWARD continued…
President’s Report
by ERIC HERSHBERG | Simon Fraser University | eric_hershberg@sfu.ca
3
U.S. policy toward the region and on the key
challenges that Latin America faces as it
continues to strive for equitable development
and cooperative ties to the United States.
Sentiments similar to these were conveyed in
an open letter sent to then-Senator Barack
Obama during the closing days of the
electoral campaign. In it, more than 300
scholars specializing on Latin America,
including myself and a number of LASA past
Presidents, called on Obama to extend his
agenda for “change” to the realm of U.S.
Latin America policy, and to understand that
many of the injustices that his candidacy
sought to address were analogous to those
that have motivated processes of political
renewal throughout the Americas, including
in countries which the Bush administration
had treated in a confrontational manner. I
believe that the letter captured the views of a
broad cross-section of the Latin Americanist
community in the United States, and I wish
to extend my thanks to Professor Arturo
Escobar of the University of North Carolina-
Chapel Hill for taking the initiative to draft
it and to recruit an impressive array of
signatories. However, it is important for me
to emphasize that, contrary to some
portrayals on the web, where the letter
circulated like wildfire, this was not a
communication from LASA as an institution:
many of our members may well hold
differing views, and it is not for me as
President to speak on their behalf on such
matters. For the LASA President to take
advantage of the bully pulpit is to my mind
fully appropriate, but throughout my period
of service I have spoken on behalf of the
Association only with regard to concerns
that directly involve our roles as researchers
and educators.
* * *
This and the four preceding issues of the
Forum have featured debates about a variety
of issues relating to inequalities, a theme that
the program co-chairs and I articulated as
central to the 2009 meeting. We have
dedicated sections to discussions of race,
gender, labor and education, and the next
issue, which will arrive just after the June
Congress in Rio and will be the last of my
presidency, will contain a scholarly debates
section devoted to violence and inequalities.
All of these have been crafted in hopes of
engaging the core topic of the upcoming
meeting. But of course that Congress will
encompass work on countless other issues,
and this is as it should be: the Congress is
meant to provide a venue for scholarship
across the social sciences and humanities—
and beyond—regardless of its thematic
focus. Throughout my period of service to
LASA, I have sought to ensure that my own
intellectual agenda does not take precedence
over that of the membership, for it is the
latter that must drive the agenda of our
Congresses. And that pluralism should be
reflected in the Forum as well. Thus, we
have chosen for this issue of the Forum to
depart from the theme of inequalities and to
share with our readers contributions
analyzing contemporary debates in literary
analysis and, in the On the Profession
section, reviewing developments in film
studies. I wish to acknowledge here the
assistance of Professors Cynthia Steele, of
the University of Washington, and Claudia
Ferman, of the University of Richmond, in
recruiting authors to contribute to this
discussion and in introducing their essays.
* * *
My LASA-related efforts over the past
several months have been focused largely on
preparations for the Rio Congress. In a
previous note in the Forum I stated,
erroneously, that this would be the first
LASA Congress held at a University. As
several colleagues with first-hand memories
of LASA’s initial years pointed out to me, a
number of the Association’s early Congresses
were held on American campuses. At that
point in our history the meetings involved
hundreds of scholars rather than thousands,
and one of the principal challenges we face
in Rio is managing a volume of participation
that is unprecedented. We anticipate that as
many as 8,000 people will register for the
meeting, well above the 5,500 who took part
in our largest event to date, the 2007
Congress in Montreal. Above and beyond
the logistical question of where to lodge so
many people and how to transport them
from hotels to the Catholic University—
challenges that we believe we have resolved
thanks to the tireless efforts of LASA’s
remarkably capable Secretariat staff and of
our local organizing committee—we have
struggled with numerous other challenges
relating to the size and venue of the meeting.
Let me note three of these that I believe will
be of particular interest.
First, as I have noted in previous issues of
the Forum, the growth in numbers carries
with it a growth in the demand for travel
funding. LASA has steadily increased the
level of resources allocated to this end,
focusing on the needs of researchers based in
Latin America and of graduate students from
around the world. I am pleased to report
that despite the adverse economic climate we
have managed to raise funds to award an
unprecedented number of travel grants. Still,
given the disjuncture between rapidly
growing demand and slowly increasing
funding levels, we are able to support an
ever smaller percentage of all requests. This
simply highlights the imperative that
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
4
members seek alternative means of financing
their participation in this and future LASA
Congresses. It is neither practical nor
reasonable to expect that LASA can fill this
need. Moreover, funding for travel is,
unfortunately, uneven across Congress
tracks, because some of the grants we receive
are track specific. For example, the Open
Society Institute will support travel for
participants in panels on Citizenship, Rights
and Social Justice, Political Institutions and
Processes, Politics and Public Policy, and
Parties and Elections; the Tinker Foundation
has provided funds for Crossborder Studies
and Migration, Law, Jurisprudence and
Society, Economics and Development,
Development and Regional Alternatives,
and Violence and (in)security; and the Inter-
American Foundation has provided funds
for Afro-Latin and Indigenous Peoples,
Crossborder Studies and Migration,
Development and Regional Alternatives, and
Economics and Development. Our newest
source of support, the Mellon-LASA seminar
program, will fund participants in eight
panels at the Rio Congress, drawn from
five different tracks: Histories and
Historiographies, International Relations,
Culture, Power, and Political Subjectivities,
Literary Studies: Contemporary, and Labor
Studies and Class Relations.
1
Second, to again revisit a topic addressed in
previous issues of the Forum, when there is
growing demand but a limited number of
days for the Congress and a finite number of
meeting rooms, there is no alternative but to
increase the rate of rejection of both paper
and panel proposals.
This year more than 899 individuals and
230 sessions, 28 and 20 percent of the total
submissions respectively, were notified that
their proposals were not accepted. I
recognize the disappointment this causes,
and deeply regret that quite a few scholars
whose work I value immensely may not be
able to attend the Congress as a result of
their proposals having been rejected. But
decisions were made through a peer review
process that, however imperfect, corresponds
in my assessment to best practice in our
profession, and I see no other way for the
Association to do its work. Constructive
and practicable suggestions would be most
welcome, as I am certain that my successors
will be compelled to grapple with this
difficult problem for the foreseeable future.
Finally, I wish to alert the membership to an
important downside to our decision to meet
in South America, specifically our inability
to organize a book exhibit at the Rio
Congress. Beginning well before I was
involved in LASA governance, several U.S.-
based book publishers made clear their
displeasure with the decision to hold
meetings outside of the United States, as this
imposed significant burdens on them,
including transport costs and potential
customs difficulties. As planning for the
Congress evolved, it became clear that most
would choose not to attend. My hope was
that their absence would be compensated in
part by an unprecedented presence of Latin
American publishers, who after all had for
many years attended our meetings held in
North America. In the end, however, and
despite concerted efforts by the Secretariat,
virtually no publishers signed up to take part
in the exhibit. Faced with the prospect of
spending $50,000 on construction of exhibit
space that appeared likely to be empty, we
were compelled to cancel this key
component of the Congress. I deeply regret
this, but countless hours were expended
trying to come up with a feasible solution,
and I am convinced that we had no
alternative but to take the decision that we
did.
I am optimistic that this will be a one-time
problem, and will do all that I can to ensure
that it not occur again. That the next
Congress will be held in Toronto (October 6-
9, 2010) will reduce the transportation costs
incurred by North American publishers, and
we will arrange (as we had managed to do
for Rio) to ease customs procedures for
publishers transporting books across
borders. Looking further ahead, my strong
personal preference is for the next Congress,
slated tentatively for March 2011, to take
place once again in the United States.
Whether this comes about will depend in
part on how U.S. visa policies evolve under
the new administration, but I am cautiously
optimistic that we will see a reversal of the
Bush-era policies that, beginning with the
decision to move the 2007 Congress from
Boston to Montreal, dissuaded us from
holding our meetings in the United States.
Here is another instance in which the
willingness of a new administration to pay
heed to the judgments of the scholarly
community would have a salutary impact on
Hemispheric relations.
1
Our current plan, which is still being refined,
is to open the Mellon program to all tracks
and to the Sections in future years, and to
support 15-20 panels per Congress. In
addition, a second component of the Mellon
initiative, grant support for research
workshops to take place between Congresses,
will get underway soon after the Rio Congress,
when we will issue to the membership a call
for proposals, with applications to be selected
based on a peer review competition. Details
on this will be announced in the next issue of
the Forum. A description of the Mellon
Program was provided in my statement to the
membership in the Fall 2008 issue of the
Forum.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT continued…
5
ON THE PROFESSI ON
¿De qué cine hablamos?
Las tareas de los Estudios del
Cine Latinoamericano
por Claudia Ferman | University of Richmond | cferman@richmond.edu
La introducción a este grupo de trabajos en
los que se abordan los desarrollos recientes
en los estudios del cine comienza con la
pregunta acerca del objeto de ese estudio, es
decir, de qué cine hablamos (o debemos
hablar) cuando se piensa el cine
latinoamericano. Los trabajos que siguen
basan su discusión en el reconocimiento de
que la expresión cinematográfica
latinoamericana se ha multiplicado
exponencialmente (Remedi) y que, gracias a
nuevas tecnologías tanto de producción
(digital) como de reproducción (DVD), así
como a políticas más decididas por parte de
algunos gobiernos nacionales del continente,
el cine latinoamericano ha llegado en la
última década a un público internacional
más amplio (King). Sin embargo, como
apunta Pessoa, los estudios del cine son
todavía un área académica “en busca de
reconocimiento” en cualquiera de los
ámbitos académicos a los que se hace
referencia en esta sección. Esto se
comprueba en la gran dispersión de los
programas dedicados a su estudio: desde los
departamentos de lenguas hasta las
facultades de arte, los programas de cine
latinoamericano se acuartelan donde las
lógicas de los sistemas académicos les han
permitido encontrar un espacio (Newman).
La afirmación de que existe hoy una
multiplicación de la producción
cinematográfica en el ámbito
latinoamericano tiene decididas implicancias
metodológicas. Indica que, como propone
Pessoa, no sólo se trata de considerar el cine
industrial, en soporte fílmico (16mm ó
35mm), i.e. el cine de ficción, para el que
existe una tradición crítica de consistencia,
sino que se trata de considerar el vasto
espacio del campo del cine, en el que se
inscriben productos de muy distinto
formato, en distintos soportes, fruto de
distintos objetivos y métodos de producción,
que tienen en común la “forma narrativa
cinematográfica”. Los “estudios del cine”
requieren entonces una definición de su
objeto “amplia y sin preconceptos” (Pessoa)
que permita incluir la enorme variedad de la
producción en lenguaje cinematográfico que
está teniendo lugar hoy en Latinoamérica:
desde el cine industrial, comercial, hasta el
cine de comunicación indígena (del que nos
ocuparemos con más detención en un
momento); desde el documental de autor,
hasta la producción fotográfica y fílmica
como recurso de investigación académica,
pasando por la producción de los
Indymedia, o el video de arte.
Es decir, las graves condiciones de
dependencia en las que nació y se ha venido
desarrollando el cine en Latinoamérica, hoy
se ven desbordadas por la generación de
nuevas lógicas productivas, en las que las
prácticas técnicas, estéticas y de mercado se
desarrollan en direcciones múltiples y con
racionalidades diferentes. Como apunta
Remedi, “de la mano de las movilizaciones
sociales y políticas” se está produciendo un
cine latinoamericano que una vez que
cumple con los objetivos de comunicación y
movilización que le son internos a las
comunidades que lo producen, recorren
festivales, ganan premiso internacionales, y
crean sus propios circuitos de difusión.
Como señala King, la revolución digital ha
tenido un impacto comprobable en cuanto a
la difusión y el acceso a la producción
cinematográfica más reciente, pero cabe
también preguntarse en qué medida ha
afectado la naturaleza misma del producto
cinético, los paradigmas de su constitución
como objeto comunicativo. Estas nuevas
expresiones constituyen muchas veces
tendencias colectivas de gran impacto social
y cultural en sus propios medios, y muchas
veces fuera de ellos, y por tanto deberían
necesariamente afectar los acercamiento
metodológicos a esa producción
multifacética y prácticamente ubicua. El/la
investigador/a hoy debería olvidar por un
momento las estadísticas sobre “el cine
latinoamericano” para internarse en la
abigarrada selva de la revolución mediática
en Latinoamérica que está teniendo lugar
muchas veces a espaldas de las salas de
exhibición y las universidades. Precisamente,
Remedi nos alerta de ciertos marcos post-
nacionalistas y post-políticos con los que se
pretende discutir la producción reciente
desligándola de los procesos sociales y
culturales nacionales (o comunitarios), e
imprimiendo otra agendas críticas, cuyo peor
pecado es simplemente desconocer y no
poder interpretar estas producciones.
Para llevar esta discusión a terrenos más
concretos, vamos a referirnos brevemente al
CEFREC (Centro de Formación y
Realización Cinematográfica), proyecto que
encabeza Iván Sanjinés, como una muestra
paradigmática de los movimientos que se
desarrollan fuera del cine industrial. El
CEFREC, cuyos pasos iniciales se remontan
a 1985, cuando se crea CLACPI en México,
1
trabaja en la capacitación de comunicadores,
y la producción de cine, radio y televisión;
2
su objetivo es consolidar un Sistema
Nacional de Comunicación Originaria en
Bolivia.
3
Esta escuela ha logrado asentar
una metodología de capacitación en
comunicación cinética, con la que forma a
miembros elegidos por las distintas
comunidades indígenas sin limitación etaria,
de género, o de educación previa (no se
requiere que los participantes de los talleres
estén alfabetizados). El presupuesto es que
la comunicación es un derecho, y que los
indígenas bolivianos tiene ya un legado, una
serie de formas de expresión y de
comunicación desde su cultura que son la
base sobre las que se puede desarrollar las
propias formas narrativas y de expresión
audiovisual. El CEFREC impulsa formas de
realización que enfatizan lo colectivo, y la
responsabilidad de los comunicadores frente
a su comunidad.
4
La comunicación se
conceptualiza como un medio que permite
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
6
invertir la valores de la sociedad colonial,
jerárquica, y construir sociedades más
equitativas, más igualitarias.
5
No se puede
entender en toda su dimensión los procesos
que hoy está viviendo Bolivia, si no se pone
especial atención al movimiento de
comunicadores indígenas, en su asociación
con los procesos políticos actuales.
Indudablemente, estos proyectos son
herederos, por una parte, de las propuestas
de Jean Rouch, y por otra, del “cine minero”
y de Jorge Sanjinés, de los debates
impulsados desde las distintas corrientes del
Nuevo Cine latinoamericano, y de algunas
propuestas de capacitación en cine del INI
(Instituto Nacional Indigenista) en México.
Hoy, el movimiento de cine de los
comunicadores indígenas se interesa
especialmente por la ficción, y son
precisamente estas producciones las que han
recorrido los festivales internacionales y
cosechado premios.
6
Similares presupuestos, aunque no idénticos,
encontramos en el proyecto de Video Nas
Aldeias coordinado por Vincent Carelli y
Mari Corrêa en comunidades aborígenes del
Brasil. También se debe mencionar aquí al
trabajo de Promedios / Chiapas Media
Project, basado en México y Estados Unidos.
No hay lugar aquí para explayarnos sobre la
producción de estas organizaciones: los
participantes del Congreso de LASA2009
tendrán la oportunidad de ver producciones
de estas organizaciones y escuchar a Iván
Sanjinés (CEFREC-CAIB), y a Vincent
Carelli (Video Nas Aldeias), en esta edición
del Festival. Lo que nos interesa destacar es
que estas producciones surgen de propuestas,
metodologías de trabajo y técnicas de
producción innovadoras, que están
impactando la naturaleza misma de la forma
“cine”, y los modelos de comunicación que
este “cine” establece: el mismo término
“público” no resulta ya descriptivo de las
comunidades de recepción-producción de
estos artefactos.
7
Podríamos conjeturar que
estamos frente a un “cine artesanal”, no
solamente por los modos de producción de
este cine, sino por el cambio en la distancia
relativa entre productores y producto: el
grupo realizador (coordinadores, editores,
actores, etc.) no sólo no mantiene roles fijos
sino que no necesariamente ingresa al
sistema profesionalizado. Se trata de un/a
comunicador/a “artesano/a”, no “moderno”,
que resiste la profesionalización porque ve
en ella el fin de la posibilidad de comunicar.
Estas nuevas metodologías y nuevos
productos están asociados con un cambio en
el equilibrio de los actores políticos en el
espacio latinoamericano, y en consonancia
con activas políticas comunicacionales de los
estados. Por ejemplo, las iniciativas de
canales nacionales o cadenas transnacionales
que constituyen parte integrante de políticas
de comunicación independientes, educativas,
de alcance nacional o continental, tales como
el canal de la UNAM (TVUNAM), México;
el canal Encuentro, dependiente del
Ministerio de Educación, y el Canal 7
(Argentina); así como la vigorosa cadena
Telesur (Venezuela). Estos medios
promueven, financian y transmiten
programación de gestión latinoamericana. Si
las salas de cine continúan cerradas a gran
parte de la producción independiente
latinoamericana, a pesar de las progresivas
políticas de cuotas que han implementado
muchos países,
8
estos nuevos canales
constituyen una ventana a la multifacética
nueva producción. Acceso a estas señales
permitiría a los/las investigadores/as una
aproximación muchas veces más cercana a
los fenómenos culturales, artísticos y
comunicativos que se están dando hoy en
Latinoamérica en relación con el cine que
aquella que se puede extraer de los DVDs de
distribución comercial internacional, como
certeramente apuntan King y Remedi.
9
A pesar de estas iniciativas en el área de las
comunicaciones, la crucial problemática del
archivo y acceso (como prefiero denominar a
lo que también se designa como
“preservación” y “distribución” o
“difusión”) discutida con precisión por
Newman, son, como apunta King, “los
problemas permanentes del campo”, pero
también los problemas permanentes para las
propias comunidades latinoamericanas. No
faltan aquí algunas buenas noticias, como las
que se apuntan en los artículos que siguen,
aunque necesariamente son aisladas e
insuficientes: los proyectos de acervo y
distribución como los citados, o el proyecto
de la UNESCO con la Fundación del Nuevo
Cine Latinoamericano; Native Networks,
dependiente del National Museum of the
American Indian, Smithsonian); o los
proyectos de información en páginas y
revistas en Internet, aunque en general
cubren aspectos de bastante inmediatez.
Una iniciativa más abarcadora es la de las
plataforma Docfera. Cito sus objetivos:
“Docfera es un proyecto cultural y educativo
que tiene como misión convertirse en la
primera plataforma web y archivo digital de
Documentales Latinoamericanos más
importante del mundo”. Precisamente, en el
marco del Festival de LASA2009 en Río de
Janeiro, la fundadora y directora de este
proyecto, Andrea Hirsch, hará una
presentación del proyecto.
Los canales comunicativos son verdaderos
campos de batalla cultural, de importancia
estratégica, y no necesariamente una cuestión
“exterior” a la labor académica. Así como
las bibliotecas no son extrínsecas a la tarea
educativa, tampoco pueden serlo el debate
de las políticas comunicacionales y la
implementación de archivos y acerbos del
cine latinoamericano.
FERMAN continued…
7
ON THE PROFESSI ON
Estudos de Cinema na Universidade Brasileira
por FERNÃO PESSOA RAMOS | Universidade Estadual de Campinas | ramos.fernao@terra.com.br
Notes
1
La Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine y
Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas
(CLACPI) es una entidad formada por
diecinueve organizaciones de diez países
(Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Perú y
Venezuela).
2
El CEFREC tiene un convenio con la cadena
de Televisión Boliviana, y produce dos
programas semanales de televisión “Entre
Culturas” y “Bolivia Constituyente”.
3
Los conceptos sobre la tarea del CEFREC
provienen de entrevistas personales con Iván
Sanjinés (coordinador general), Milton
Guzmán Gironda (cineasta y capacitador), y
César Pérez (fotógrafo y capacitador), todos
ellos pertenecientes a CEFREC-CAIB; y Santos
Callejas (director de la Casa Juvenil de las
Culturas Wayna Tambo, El Alto).
4
Los comunicadores se agrupan a su vez en el
CAIB (Coordinadora Audiovisual Indígena de
Bolivia).
5
Recientemente, Gabriela Zamorano completó
un libro sobre la experiencia del CEFREC: El
camino de nuestra imagen. Un proceso de
Comunicación Indígena. La Paz: CEFREC-
CAIB, 2008.
6
Por ejemplo, en el legendario festival Taos
Talking Pictures (Arizona), y en el Festival de
Toronto.
7
El Festival y Muestra de cine de LASA se ha
esforzado permanentemente por presentar una
muestra lo más extendida posible de las
distintas tendencias que se están desarrollando
en la región.
8
Para un análisis preciso de este fenómeno, ver
Rovito, Pablo y Julio Raffo. “El mercado y la
política cinematográficos.” En Industrias
culturales: mercado y políticas públicas en
Argentina. Buenos Aires: Edic. Ciccus, 2003.
9
Este recurso no resuelve, sin embargo, el
complejo problema de la subtitulación.
Estudos de Cinema é ainda uma área
acadêmica em busca de reconhecimento.
No caso brasileiro, a área de conhecimento
‘Cinema’, para órgãos de fomento à pesquisa
como o CNPQ (Conselho Nacional de
Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico),
situa-se no campo das ‘Artes’, embora
historicamente tenha se vinculado a
Departamentos e Sociedades Científicas da
área de ‘Comunicação’. Assessores em
‘Artes’ muitas vezes não possuem
familiaridade com projetos de pesquisa em
Cinema, que acabam transferidos para
‘Comunicação’. A situação reflete-se
igualmente na composição de cursos e
currículos, em geral carregados de disciplinas
próximas ao campo da ‘Comunicação’, com
pouca incidência de disciplinas como
História da Arte, Teoria Literária, História
do Teatro, Antropologia Visual.
Temos hoje cursos de Cinema, ou de Cinema
e Audiovisual, nas principais universidades
do país, com uma expansão nos últimos dez
anos. O curso de Cinema pioneiro no Brasil
é o da Escola de Comunicações e Artes da
USP, seguido pelo da Universidade de
Brasília e pela Universidade Federal
Fluminense. A universidade particular FAAP
(São Paulo) também mantém, desde da
década de 60, um curso pioneiro. Nos
últimos dez anos, cursos de cinema têm
proliferado pelo Brasil. Universidades como
UNICAMP; Universidade Vale do Rio dos
Sinos (Rio Grande do Sul); PUC/RGS;
Universidade Católica de Recife; UFSC;
UFMG; Universidade Federal de São Carlos,
SENAC e Anhembi-Morumbi, possuem
Departamentos oferecendo formação em
cinema. Cursos particulares de cinema e
audiovisual tiveram forte incremento nos
últimos dez anos, tanto em São Paulo, como
no Rio de Janeiro. Na pós-graduação, são
oferecidos diplomas de mestrado e
doutorado com orientação em Cinema, em
programas da USP, UNICAMP e UFF,
UFSCAR e também UFRJ e UNB.
Universidades particulares como Anhembi-
Morumbi, UNISINOS, FAAP, Universidade
Católica de Pernambuco, SENAC, mantêm
cursos de especialização ou mestrado stricto
senso em cinema.
Algumas questões metodológicas devem ser
mencionadas ao traçarmos a inserção
institucional dos Estudos de Cinema na
universidade brasileira. O campo coloca-se
de forma abrangente dentro de
Departamentos de Artes e Comunicações,
possuindo a particularidade da demanda de
formação prática. Uma boa parcela de
alunos que entram em cursos de cinema tem
interesse em aprender a fazer cinema: utilizar
uma câmera, dirigir, produzir, atuar,
fotografar, montar, sonorizar, fazer roteiros,
etc. A maior parte dos cursos de graduação,
no Brasil e no mundo, encontra-se
predominantemente voltada para este
público, sendo ministrada por professores
com carreira profissional na produção
cinematográfica. No currículo,
acessoriamente, está presente uma série de
disciplinas envolvendo história e teoria do
cinema. Predominantemente, cursos em
Estudos de Cinema encontram-se voltados
para a pós-graduação.
A área de Estudos de Cinema envolve um
conjunto de expressões audiovisuais, mais ou
menos articuladas em dimensão narrativa, a
partir de uma miríade de estilos. Cinema é
antes de tudo uma ‘forma narrativa’ (em
seus primeiros tempos, e em alguns trabalhos
de vanguarda, também ‘espetacular’) que
envolve imagens em movimento (em sua
maioria conformadas pela forma da câmera)
e sons. Nas extremidades da definição do
campo cinematográfico encontramos
animações digitais, trabalhos experimentais
plásticos em proximidade com a vídeoarte,
ou narrativas extensas que cotejam novelas
ou mini-séries televisivas. A narrativa com
imagens e sons pode ter um corte ‘ficcional’
(quando entretemos o espectador com
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
8
hipóteses sobre personagens e tramas
fictícias) ou ‘documentário’ (quando
entretemos asserções, postulados, sobre o
mundo histórico ou pessoal). Muitas vezes
as definições não são tão claras e as cartas
estão misturadas, mas o campo do cinema
pode ser definido se pensado de modo amplo
e sem preconceitos. Estudos cruzados,
interdisciplinares, entre Literatura e Cinema,
Pintura e Cinema, Teatro e Cinema, História
e Cinema, Imagem Digital e Cinema etc.
possuem ampla bibliografia. Estudos de
Cinema, portanto, não é o ensino prático de
como fazer cinema (embora possa e deva
interagir com esta dimensão) e também não
é o estudo das mídias (televisão, internet),
nem das humanidades (antropologia e
história), das artes plásticas, da literatura, ou
do teatro. É tudo isso, trazendo em seu
centro irradiador a forma narrativa
cinematográfica.
No núcleo dos Estudos de Cinema
vislumbramos três disciplinas diversas:
‘História do Cinema’, ‘Teoria do Cinema’ e
‘Análise Fílmica’. Em História do Cinema
trabalhamos a dimensão diacrônica da arte
cinematográfica, seus diferentes períodos e
movimentos. Analisamos também as
produções nacionais (História do Cinema
Brasileiro, Chinês, Francês, etc). Neste
campo cabem estudos autorais, centrados em
personalidades da História do Cinema (o
cinema de Bergman, Welles, Renoir, Rocha,
etc). Em geral, estudos sobre História do
Cinema detêm-se no cinema ficcional.
Recentemente tem aumentado o espaço da
pesquisa em cinema documentário dentro da
história da produção cinematográfica
mundial. Na abordagem dos momentos em
que as vanguardas do século XXI cotejam o
cinema (expressionismo alemão,
construtivismo russo, impressionismo
francês, realismo italiano, surrealismo,
cinema experimental, o pós-modernismo,
etc) podemos constatar uma abrangência se
delineia para além do estreitamente
narrativo.
Temas que envolvem a própria noção de
história e a possibilidade de sua periodização
são trabalhados pela bibliografia em Teoria
do Cinema. Noções essenciais para o
estabelecimento desta história, como a noção
de Autor, são aprofundadas. Outro ponto
que tem chamado a atenção na Teoria do
Cinema é o questionamento da noção de
‘nacionalidade’ na definição dos diversos
cinemas nacionais. Temas caros ao universo
dos ‘estudos culturais’ (feminismo, minorias
étnicas, estudos de gênero, a questão do
sujeito) percorreram de modo intenso o
campo dos estudos de cinema nos últimos
dez anos. Também o horizonte da filosofia
analítica e do cognitivismo foi mapeado de
modo polêmico. Nos anos 60/70/80, o
conceitual do estruturalismo francês, a
semiologia (Metz) e depois o pós-
estruturalismo de Deleuze, Lacan, Derrida e
outros, tiveram forte influência. A Teoria
clássica do cinema também compõe este
campo de estudo, através da influência do
impressionismo (Epstein, Dulac, Balazs), do
construtivismo (Vertov, Eisenstein), da
fenomenologia (Bazin, Zavatttini), do
realismo (Kracauer). A reflexão recente
sobre cinema documentário mostra-se densa,
acompanhando um aprofundamento da
tendência analítica/cognitivista na
contraposição aos estudos culturais. A
Teoria do Cinema é, portanto, uma
disciplina dos Estudos de Cinema que
fundamenta estudos históricos e autorais.
Um terceiro horizonte dos Estudos de
Cinema pode ser delimitado na Análise
Fílmica. Definimos assim a pesquisa que se
debruça sobre o filme propriamente e suas
unidades (fotogramas, planos, seqüências,
cenas, etc). A análise fílmica detalha a
dimensão estilística do cinema, servindo de
substrato para a pesquisa histórica/autoral.
O ponto clássico da análise fílmica é a
montagem, conceito em moda dos anos 20
até os anos 60. Elementos estilísticos como
profundidade-de-campo, plano-seqüência,
entrada e saída de campo, espaço fora-de-
campo, mise-en-scène, raccord, falso
raccord, olhar, interpretação de atores,
música, falas, roteiro, fotografia, cenografia,
etc, compõem os tijolos sobre os quais se
constrói a estilística cinematográfica. A
análise fílmica fornece substância concreta
para o trabalho com a teoria do cinema,
embasando a reflexão. Olhar o estilo é o
último degrau que se consegue percorrer no
corpo-a-corpo com o filme. Em função do
movimento contínuo, e da ampla quantidade
de elementos que marcam a estilística
cinematográfica, analisar exige uma
verdadeira educação do olhar. O objetivo
desta educação deve ser o abandono dos
níveis mais imediatos de conteúdo,
conseguindo o ‘leitor’ elevar-se até a
dimensão da mise-en-scène propriamente.
Para terminar este breve apanhado dos
Estudos de Cinema, é importante esclarecer
uma questão. Na medida em que a arte
cinematográfica sofre, desde sua origem, a
mediação da técnica, é comum o discurso
que nega sua especificidade histórica. Sobre-
determinando a questão tecnológica,
transforma Estudos de Cinema em estudos
de mídia, posição expressa muitas vezes
através do conceito de ‘audiovisual’. O
cinema seria uma máquina, uma mídia, e
não uma forma narrativa, que tenderia a
desaparecer como outras máquinas antigas
do século XIX. Nossa visão é que o cinema
é uma forma narrativa relativamente estável,
veiculada através de mídias diversas,
oscilando em sua forma em função do
quesito tecnológico, entre outros.
A sobreposição cinema/mídia no conceito de
audiovisual leva à confusão entre instância
narrativa e a mídia que é veiculada. Para
esta visão, se uma mídia evolui
tecnologicamente, a narrativa que veicula
RAMOS continued…
9
ON THE PROFESSI ON
Películas de papel
Cartografía del estudio del cine
de América Latina
por GUSTAVO A. REMEDI | Trinity College | gustavo.remedi@trincoll.edu
também deve desaparecer. Como isto não
ocorre, surge uma esquizofrenia entre análise
e conteúdo, expressa na demanda insistente
de um outro Cinema, que se adeque a nova
máquina midiática. Postura que traz um
ranço normativo, querendo determinar como
o cinema deve ser, ou desaparecer, com o
surgimento da televisão, da internet, ou das
novas máquinas produtoras de imagens. A
visão tecnológica evolucionista, que possui
forte presença na universidade brasileira, tem
dificuldades em lidar com a evidência da
simultaneidade entre novas e antigas mídias
que não convergem. Para lidar com esta
dificuldade criou-se o conceito de
‘audiovisual’ que expressa, entre outros
aspectos, o desejo da redução cinema/mídia.
Na realidade, o campo dos Estudos de
Cinema tem em seu núcleo a dimensão
diacrônica da narrativa cinematográfica,
dimensão que realça sua estilística particular.
É para esta estilística, e sua história, que se
orienta Estudos de Cinema, abrindo-se
enquanto campo de conhecimento.
Tan importante como hacer cine es hallar el
lugar y el momento para reflexionar
sistemáticamente acerca de él. Pero al igual
que el cine de América Latina, que atraviesa
un período de auge, lo que se ha teorizado y
escrito también parece haber llegado a un
punto de inflexión. Nos proponemos aquí
echar luz sobre diversos aspectos del
tortuoso devenir del estudio del cine e
identificar algunas tareas pendientes, así
como un conjunto de nuevos desafíos y
riesgos.
No es aquí el lugar para repasar la historia
general del cine en América Latina, ni
tampoco la del cine producido en cada uno
de los países del continente. Diversos
autores, bastante establecidos, ya se han
encargado de ello (Burns 1975, Chanan
1985, 2004; Burton 1986, Armes 1987,
Schumann 1987, Mora 1989, King 1990,
Pick 1993, Johnson y Stam 1995, Martin
1997). Sí es preciso señalar que fue en el
contexto del surgimiento del cine
comprometido de los años 60 y 70 (del
llamado Nuevo Cine o Tercer Cine) que
también nació, o por lo menos cobró
impulso, un “discurso”—teórico, formal,
histórico—acerca del cine latinoamericano.
También se organizaron centros e institutos
dedicados a estos efectos. Fueron los
comienzos del pensamiento y el estudio del
cine de América Latina.
En su mayoría, fueron los propios cineastas
los que por medio de entrevistas, mesas
redondas, manifiestos y artículos en revistas
culturales, políticas, ocasionalmente de cine
(Cine Cubano, Cine del Tercer Mundo, Ojo
al cine, 1x1, Octubre, Cine y Liberación)
reflexionaban y escribían acerca de su arte:
de su relación con la sociedad, con los
desafíos políticos y culturales del momento,
de los temas que debía abordar, del modo de
tratarlos, la perspectiva a adoptar, el lenguaje
y la técnica cinematográfica, la relación con
el público, el problema de la financiación y
distribución. Tal es el caso, por ejemplo, de
Gutiérrez Alea, Glauber Rocha, Nelson
Pereira dos Santos, Jorge Sanjinés, García
Espinosa, Fernando Birri, Fernando Solanas,
Octavio Getino, entre otros. Algunos de sus
ensayos más importantes—“La estética del
hambre” de Rocha, “La dialéctica del
espectador” de Gutiérrez Alea, “Por un cine
imperfecto” de García Espinosa, “Un cine
junto al pueblo” de Sanjinés, etc.—fueron
recopilados y traducidos al inglés (Pick
1978, Chanan 1993, Martin 1997). Burton
(1986) recoge, en sus entrevistas, una
muestra del pensamiento teórico de estos
realizadores.
La mayoría de estos realizadores-ensayistas
cursaron diversos tipos de estudios
universitarios (derecho, teatro, filosofía,
historia, etc.) y experimentaron con diversas
disciplinas artísticas (teatro, poesía, música).
Eran, no obstante, intelectuales que
concebían la cultura y el arte como un
instrumento al servicio del cambio político y
social. En cuanto a sus “estudios de cine”,
la situación fue variada: Gutiérrez Alea,
García Espinosa y Fernando Birri estudiaron
en el Centro Esperimentale della
Cinematografia en Roma. Al volver a Cuba,
en 1959, año de la Revolución, García
Espinosa participó de la creación del
Instituto Cubano del Arte y la Industria
Cinematográfica (ICAIC). A su regreso a
Argentina, Birri fundó el Instituto de
Cinematografía de la Universidad del
Litoral. Patricio Guzmán, por su parte,
comenzó en el Intituto Fílmico de la
Universidad Católica de Chile pero se
graduó en la Escuela Oficial de
Cinematografía de Madrid. Sanjinés estudió
en Chile y luego dirigió el Instituto de Cine
de Bolivia. Los únicos estudios formales de
Pereira dos Santos fueron en Derecho,
aunque más tarde dictó el primer curso de
cine en el Instituto Central de Arte de la
Universidad de Brasília y dirigió el Instituto
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10
de Arte y Comunicación Social de la
Universidad Federal Fluminense.
En esa tarea de reflexión, discusión y
elaboración de un discurso acerca del cine
latinoamericano estos realizadores tuvieron
por interlocutores a otros intelectuales o
críticos que se desempeñaban en periódicos y
revistas culturales, a los aficionados al cine
nucleados en las cinematecas y los cineclubes
(que muchas veces publicaban sus propios
boletines y revistas), y por supuesto, a un
segmento culto y radicalizado de la clase
media—muchos de ellos jóvenes y
universitarios—que constituían su público
pero que también eran protagonistas de los
procesos de cambio social, político y cultural
que caracterizaron este acalorado período de
la historia. Pese a ello, ni la academia
latinoamericana ni la extranjera se
interesaron mayormente por el cine en
América Latina.
En América Latina, salvo contadísimas
excepciones, la preocupación cultural y
estética en el medio académico seguía
centrada en las bellas artes (la literatura, la
pintura, la música), con una casi total
desatención y desinterés por “la cultura de
masas”. La creación de las carreras de
periodismo y las escuelas y licenciaturas en
comunicación en los 70 y 80—en el contexto
de las dictaduras y con intereses ya muy
alejados del propósito del cambio social—
privilegiarán la prensa escrita, la radio, la
televisión, la publicidad. La reflexión sobre
el cine siguió girando alrededor de los
institutos y escuelas de cine privadas, los
cineclubes y alguna revista, que nucleaban a
realizadores, críticos (muchos de ellos,
autodidactas) y amantes del cine. No es
casual que la revista virtual argentina
dedicada al cine se llame, precisamente, El
amante. La revista virtual chilena La fuga,
no obstante, deja entrever un cambio en el
papel social del cine, muy diferente al que
habían imaginado los impulsores del Nuevo
Cine.
Distinto fue el panorama en Estados Unidos
o Europa donde debido a un mayor
desarrollo de la industria de los medios
masivos y a un mayor desgaste del
tradicional paradigma de las bellas artes el
estudio del cine se desarrolló en forma más
temprana. Ello fue además alimentado y
reforzado por la creación de áreas
universitarias dedicadas al estudio de la
cultura popular, la cultura de masas y los
estudios culturales que de la mano de la
Escuela de Frankfurt, la de Birmingham o la
semiótica francesa (Getino 2002)
incentivaron y organizaron el estudio, el
análisis y la crítica de lo que unos llamaron
“las prácticas culturales de las clases
populares” (Williams), la “hegemonía”
cultural (Gramsci), “la cultura de masas”
(Adorno), el arte mecánicamente
reproducido (Benjamin) y “la mitología de la
sociedad de consumo” (Barthes).
De todos modos, según López “hasta la
década de los 80 era casi imposible
encontrar un libro o más de una o dos
monografías en idioma inglés dedicadas al
cine latinoamericano” (1991). Fue el interés
y el compromiso con el proceso político de
América Latina (el contexto revolucionario
de los 60; las dictaduras militares de los 70,
el retorno a la democracia en los 80) lo que
motivó a algunos intelectuales en Europa y
Estados Unidos a interesarse por el cine en
América Latina, y en especial, el modo en
que el cine acompaña y se articula con el
proceso histórico cultural del continente.
En los 80 y 90, algunos cientistas sociales
“latinoamericanistas” (interesados en la
historia, la sociedad o la política de América
Latina) también descubrieron y se ocuparon
del papel que jugaba la cultura y dentro de
ella el cine. Lo mismo ocurrió con una parte
de la crítica literaria—que se aventuró un
paso más allá de la ciudad letrada—para
quienes Gutiérrez Alea, Guzmán, Sanjinés,
Rocha, Pereira dos Santos, Solanas y otros
autores pasaron a ocupar en el campo del
cine el mismo sitial que ocupaban en la
literatura los autores del “boom” literario:
Carpentier, García Márquez, Rulfo, Onetti,
Cortázar. (Uno de los peligros que enfrentan
los estudios culturales es, precisamente, caer
en la tentación de reemplazar una forma de
arte por otra, una vanguardia por otra,
traicionando su objetivo de estudiar la
cultura más allá de la alta cultura y del arte).
El (nuevo) cine latinoamericano, además,
ofrecía una nueva visión y una nueva imagen
de la realidad histórica, social y política,
sostenida por el carácter iconográfico,
indéxico, espacial y poético propio de este
poderoso medio expresivo. En efecto, aun
cuando no fuera del todo nueva, era una
imagen más incisiva, “tangible”, legible,
memorable, y sobre todo, accesible al gran
público, letrado o no. Esto vale tanto para
el género documental como para el cine de
ficción, que en América Latina, en buena
parte, siguió intentando captar y explorar
críticamente la realidad histórica, social y
cultural.
A la luz de lo anterior, no ha de extrañar que
quienes se dedicaron al estudio y enseñanza
del cine de América Latina en el mundo
anglosajón se formaran y desempeñaran en
la intersección de diversas disciplinas y
campos: por un lado, los programas de
estudios de América Latina, una de las áreas
geográfico-culturales de los programas de
Estudios Internacionales. Tal es el caso, por
ejemplo, de Burton o Shaw. Por otro lado,
los estudios del cine y la TV, como en el caso
de Chanan, Martin, Pick, López, Burton,
Mora, Berg, Buchsbaum, Noriega o
Aufderhaide. Y tercero, los estudios
literarios, de la cultura popular y los estudios
culturales. Tal es el caso de King, Johnson,
Foster, Stock, Podalski y un sinnúmero de
REMEDI continued…
11
autores que han publicado en revistas no
especializadas en cine como Revista
Iberoamericana
1
, Latin American Research
Review
2
, The Americas
3
, o Journal of Latin
American Cultural Studies
5
. También, en la
intersección entre cine e historia, caso de
Stevens (1997) o Baugh y Schoenecke
(2004), o entre cine y literatura (Podalski,
2002).
Hoy los estudios del cine de América Latina
atraviesan por una verdadera explosión pero
deben sortear una serie de obstáculos. Para
comenzar, la barrera del idioma, la
dispersión que caracteriza los escritos sobre
el cine y la dificultad para acceder a las
publicaciones del otro hemisferio, incluidas
las publicaciones virtuales. Segundo, el
problema del desigual desarrollo y
organización de los estudios
latinoamericanos como campo
transdisciplinario, tanto en el Sur como en el
Norte. Tercero, la distinta evolución del
estudio del cine en una y otra región.
Cuarto, el problema de la circulación y el
acceso a las realizaciones mismas, sobre todo
en el marco de una explosión de creación
cinematográfica y la coexistencia de al
menos tres o cuatro generaciones. Quinto,
el riesgo a una nueva mistificación, en donde
el cine, en reemplazo de la literatura, y un
pequeño número de películas y autores,
pasan a tomarse como resumen y
condensación de la cultura latinoamericana.
Sexto, la emergencia de una nueva
generación de estudios del cine, con nuevas
preocupaciones y agendas que intenta ir más
acá y más allá del Nuevo Cine, pero que
enfrenta nuevos desafíos y riesgos.
Además de la dispersión y débil
institucionalización del estudio del cine
apuntada por diversos autores—y que
pronto descubre cualquier investigador—el
estudio del cine de América Latina ha
generado dos bibliotecas: una en castellano y
otra en inglés. Muchos de los estudios
recientes más sistemáticos y de referencia
están publicados en inglés. Esto presenta
dos obstáculos para acceder a estos trabajos
desde América Latina: uno económico y otro
lingüístico. Inversamente, se corre el riesgo
de prescindir de investigar y acceder a lo que
se ha escrito y publicado en América latina,
y que debido a la distribución de libros y
periódicos, o a los sistemas de compras, no
siempre encuentra la forma de llegar hasta el
mundo académico, las bibliotecas y el salón
de clase. Es posible que algún día internet
resuelva parcialmente este problema
(Cineaste Otoño 2008), pero todavía las
bibliotecas y la mayoría de las publicaciones
virtuales ni contienen todo lo publicado en
castellano ni son de acceso público.
5
Otro obstáculo a superar es el menor
desarrollo de los estudios latinoamericanos
como campo transdisciplinario en América
Latina. En contraste con el mayor
desarrollo institucional de los mismos en el
Norte, que nacieron al abrigo del proyecto
de los estudios del área, la academia
latinoamericana sigue estando
mayoritariamente organizada—dividida—en
disciplinas y facultades separadas. El estudio
de América Latina, por consiguiente, ocurre
en forma compartimentada y desigual
(dependiendo de cada disciplina) y los
centros interdisciplinarios (por ejemplo, para
el estudio de América Latina) si es que
existen, son incipientes y débiles. Si a ello le
sumamos el desinterés histórico por el
estudio de la cultura popular, la cultura de
masas y el cine en particular, está claro que
no ha existido un espacio institucional lo
suficientemente apto como para albergar el
estudio del cine latinoamericano. Los
institutos y escuelas privadas en general
también son débiles para consolidarse como
usinas de investigación, enseñanza y
divulgación, o como referentes de peso a
escala continental, a excepción, quizás, de la
Fundación del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano
en La Habana. Lo mismo ocurre con las
revistas, en su mayoría de corta de vida. Son
escasos los estudios de autor
latinoamericano acerca del cine continental
como conjunto, y los que hay fueron
realizados en el extranjero, caso de Gumucio
(1983), Getino (2002, 2006) y Paranaguá
(1985, 2003). Distinto es el caso de los
estudios de los cines nacionales, acerca de los
cuales hoy disponemos de una cuantiosa
bibliografía, principalmente acerca de
Argentina, Brasil, Cuba y México. (Ver
Getino [2002], Elena y Díaz López [2003],
Shaw [2003], o las bibliografías en línea de
la Universidad de California-Berkeley o el
Centro de Información e Investigaciones de
la Fundación del nuevo Cine
latinoamericano, recién mencionado).
Aparte de los estudios históricos—que
predominan—, debido a las carencias
económicas, buena parte de la reflexión y el
discurso acerca del cine en América Latina
hoy gira principalmente en torno a la
institucionalidad del cine, las industrias
culturales, las formas de apoyar
financieramente su producción; de
viabilizar—multiplicar—la distribución y
exhibición de las películas; de crear fondos,
leyes, organizaciones, redes y formas de
cooperación con tales fines; o socializar los
medios de producción aprovechando la
revolución digital. (Getino 2006) Más raros
o escasos son los abordajes teóricos, estéticos
y de análisis de obras más allá de breves
reseñas periodísticas.
Las dificultades económicas también
impactan en el terreno estético y de
propuesta cinematográfica. Buena parte del
cine mexicano, argentino y brasilero es un
cine comercial, evasivo y para pasar el
tiempo (que, pese a ello, es preciso estudiar).
Por su parte, los realizadores y productores
artísticamente más ambiciosos estéticamente
y socialmente más comprometidos, sin
claudicar por completo en su independencia,
se ven forzados a optar por obras prolijas y
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12
fácilmente legibles para espectadores y
críticos formados en las convenciones
estéticas y cinematográficas de los grandes
mercados, juegos sutiles pero no muy
arriesgados, ejercicios virtuosistas y más de
una concesión a las fórmulas de Hollywood
a las que el público local ya se ha
acostumbrado. Allí radica parte del
abandono de la experimentación formal y la
búsqueda de nuevos lenguajes propio de los
60 y 70. Cada vez más se recurre a las
oportunidades de financiación que ofrece el
Primer Mundo, y a las oportunidades de
legitimación y promoción que ofrecen los
grandes festivales y premios (Cannes,
Hollywood) una vez superada la primera
etapa: Rotterdam, San Sebastián, La
Habana, Toronto o Berlín. Esto no significa
que no existan méritos estéticos y diferencias
formales y de tratamiento dignas de
consideración y estudio siempre que las
queramos descubrir, realzar y elevar a su
justo plano. La necesidad de interesar y
llegar al gran público nacional, de que el
espectador local se sienta representado y
tenido en cuenta, y a la vez aspirar a una
exhibición internacional también ha
resultado en no pocos aciertos y aportes en
materia de temas y tratamiento formal. Es
decir, los nuevos autores no se han
conformado simplemente con “contar otras
historias con los mismos medios” (el
lenguaje de Hollywood) como sugieren
Fornet (en Stock 1997 xiii) o Falicov (2007
418).
De lo anterior se desprende que otro de los
desafíos que enfrentan los estudios del cine
latinoamericano es poder escapar al
hechizo—al carácter monumental—del
Tercer Cine o el Nuevo Cine en su estado
más crudo y radical (de los 60 y 70), y que
por su diferencia formal, su carácter
experimental, su sofisticación teórica,
capturó y hasta monopolizó el interés—y la
fantasía política—de los estudios del cine.
Wood sostiene que parte de dicha atracción
responde a que la diferencia era más obvia
que en obras y estéticas anteriores y
posteriores, en las que la diferencia existe
pero es más sutil y menos visible “a los ojos
extranjeros”. Por ello recomienda usar “un
peine más fino” (248). Lo cierto es que
como muestran King 1990, Pick 1993,
Chanan 2003, y numerosas colecciones
recientes (Stock 1997, Stevens 1997, Noriega
2000, Shaw 2003, 2007; Elena y Díaz 2003,
Shaw y Dennison 2005, etc.), tanto el
“nuevo cine” como el cine emergente se las
ingenió para sobrevivir, responder y aportar
lo suyo en el marco de los distintos
contextos y encrucijadas que le tocó
afrontar: dictaduras militares, desilusión tras
el retorno de la democracia, colapso del libre
mercado, desafíos poscoloniales, lucha
contra la discriminación étnica, racial, de
género, la burocracia, la violencia, la
fractura social y cultural, el drama de la
migración y el exilio, la lucha por la
memoria, etc. Pese al inmenso poder de las
majors y las grandes corporaciones que
dominan la industria cultural, el cine
latinoamericano igual se hizo un lugar como
uno de los principales instrumentos
formativos de la opinión pública y la
identidad cultural.
Al margen de los inconvenientes para
acceder a lo que se escribe y publica en los
infinitos rincones del continente, otro
problema igualmente acuciante es la
dificultad para conocer, poder ver y exhibir
lo que se está produciendo en los distintos
países de América Latina, sobre todo en las
últimas décadas, por creadores jóvenes y en
otros circuitos y formatos: cortos,
documentales, videoclips. Al margen de las
películas más fácilmente comercializables y
digeribles que hoy conforman el nuevo
canon (pongamos por caso, Como agua para
chocolate, Estación central, La historia
oficial, ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?, Los
diarios de motocicleta), la inmensa mayoría
de las películas que se producen y se ven en
América Latina difícilmente entran en el
mercado global o los ámbitos dedicados al
estudio del cine, o lo hacen tardíamente.
Unas veces esto se debe a problemas de
distribución; otras de derechos; a veces
porque no tienen subtítulos; otras porque
vienen en formatos incompatibles; o porque
se apartan demasiado del patrón que fija
Hollywood, las distribuidoras y las propias
salas de cine. El problema se agrava para las
películas no comerciales, los documentales
(Burton 1990, Paranaguá y Avellar 2003),
los cortometrajes, los videos y las películas
en soporte digital, todo lo cual ha crecido
exponencialmente de la mano de las
movilizaciones sociales y políticas
(Aufderheide 2000) y las nuevas tecnologías.
Como resultado, el estudio del cine
latinoamericano sufre de dos males opuestos:
o se basa en un pequeñísimo número de
películas que consiguen penetrar el mercado
global (pero que no es representativo y
quizás sea lo menos interesante), o trata de
obras muy importantes y significativas, tanto
clásicas como contemporáneas, que más allá
del ámbito local, o los conocedores, nadie
vio ni verá nunca.
El interés por el cine de América Latina—
reemplazante de turno de la literatura, las
ciencias sociales u otras humanidades—y su
utilización como instrumento para conocer y
estudiar la realidad continental también
corre el riesgo de crear una nueva clase de
mistificación, en la medida que el cine es
solamente una forma de representación entre
muchas otras y no tiene por qué privilegiarse
frente a otras prácticas sociales y discursos
simbólicos.
López (2006) y Wood (2008) señalan que
uno de los aportes de los estudios de cine
más recientes es la preocupación por la
historia del cine anterior y posterior al
Nuevo Cine: dos continentes recién
descubiertos. También, un interés por
combinar el estudio histórico o
REMEDI continued…
13
institucional—más frecuentado en América
Latina—con los análisis textuales más
característicos de la crítica europea y
norteamericana (Wood 255).
Wood y Page (2005) advierten, no obstante,
el peligro de subordinar el estudio del cine
latinoamericano a los imperativos y debates
teóricos del Primer Mundo perdiendo de
vista aquello que queda fuera de “la mirada
extranjera” o los intereses, agendas y
fantasías de la crítica (Willemen 2006). Tal
la tentación de estudiar el cine
latinoamericano desde marcos teóricos post-
nacionalistas y post-políticos bajo la
influencia de una vaga idea de
“globalización”—mar de los sargazos en que
ha naufragado parte de la crítica literaria—
quitándolo de su contexto, desligándolo de
procesos sociales y culturales nacionales, o
no tomando en cuenta el modo en que los
autores—o las distintas coyunturas y
espacios culturales—modifican e imprimen
su sello a los lenguajes, convenciones y
géneros cinematográficos.
Notas
1
Ver, por ejemplo, Geoffrey Kantaris, “El cine
urbano y la tercera violencia en Colombia”,
Revista Iberoamericana LXXIV 223 (Abril-
Junio 2008), o el número especial dirigido por
Podalsky (2002).
2
Ver, por ejemplo, Virginia Higginbotham,
“Fast Frames: Insights into Mexican, Latin
American, and Brazilian Cinema” LARR 40, 3
(2005); Gustavo Subero, “Fear of the
Trannies: On the Filmic Phobia of
Transvestism in the New Latin American
Cinema”, LARR 43, 2 (2008); Paul Schroeder
“Latin American Silent Cinema: Triangulation
and the Politics of Criollo Aesthetics” LARR
43, 3 (2008); o Virginia Gibbs (1992).
3
Ver el número especial sobre “Latin American
Film History” dirigido por Ana M. López
(2006).
4
Pienso, por ejemplo, en los trabajos de Joanna
Page (2005), sobre la relación entre cine y
nación; Luis Martín Cabrera y Daniel Noemi
Voionmaa sobre Machuca; de Richard Gordon
sobre La última cena y Chico Rei; de Deborah
Martin sobre ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?; de
James Cisneros sobre Patricio Guzmán y Raúl
Ruiz; de Ignacio Sánchez Prado sobre Amores
perros, publicados en 2006 y 2007.
5
Cahiers du Cinema, Close Up, Film Quarterly,
Framework, Quarterly Review of Film &
Video, Screen, Sight and Sound, 24 Images,
etc., están disponibles en internet pero salvo
excepciones (Jump Cut, Cineaste) se llega a
ellas mediante bibliotecas y bases de datos
privadas o el pago de una suscripción.
Fuentes bibliográficas
Patricia Aufderheide, “Cinema” [From the Silent
Film to 1990], Encyclopedia of Latin
American History & Culture, 2nd Edition
(2008), 413-9.
___________, “Grassroots Video in Latin
America”, en Chon Noriega, Visible
Nations…(2000), 219-238.
Scott L. Baugh y Michael K. Schoenecke, Eds.
“Special Issue: Latin American Film”, Film &
History 34 1-2 (2004).
Jesús Martín Barbero, De los medios a las
mediaciones. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1987.
Jonathan Buchsbaum. Cinema and the
Sandinistas. Austin: University of Texas Press,
2003.
Bradford Burns. Latin American Cinema: Film
and history. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin
American Center / University of California,
1975.
Julianne Burton, Cinema and social change in
Latin America: Conversations with filmakers.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986.
___________, ed. The Social Documentary in
Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of
Pittburgh Press, 1990.
Michael Chanan, Cuban Cinema. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota, 2003.
María Lourdes Cortés, La pantalla rota: Cien
años de cine en Centroamérica. México:
Tauros, 2003.
Alberto Elena y Marina Díaz López, eds. The
Cinema of Latin America. London:
Mayflower, 2003.
___________, Tierra en trance: El cine
latinoamericano en 100 películas. Madrid:
Alianza Editorial, 1999.
Tamara Falicov, “Cinema” [Since 1990],
Encyclopedia of Latin American History &
Culture, 2nd Edition (2008), 419-23.
Octavio Getino, Cine Iberoamericano. Los
desafíos del nuevo siglo. Costa Rica: Editorial
Veritas, Fundación del Nuevo Cine
Latinoamericano (Cuba), 2006.
___________y Susana Velleggia, El cine de las
historias de la revolución. Buenos Aires:
Altamira, 2002.
Virginia Gibbs, “Latin American Film” (Review
Article), Latin American Research Review 27,
3 (1992), 203-215.
Alfonso Gumucio Dagrón, Cine, censura y exilio
en América Latina. México: Stunam-Cimca,
1983
Virginia Higginbotham, “Fast frames: Insights
into Mexican, Latin American, and Brazilian
Cinema” (Review Essay) Latin American
Research Review 40, 3 (October 2005) 273-
82.
Randal Johnson y Robert Stam, eds. Brazilian
Cinema. New York: Columbia University
Press, 1995.
John King, Magical Reels: A history of Cinema
in Latin America. New York: Verso 1990.
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John King, Ana M. López y Manuel Alvarado,
Mediating two worlds: Cinematic encounters
of the Americas. London: BFI, 1993.
Ana M. López, “The State of Things: New
Directions in Latin American Film History”,
The Americas. A Quarterly Review of Inter-
American Cultural History 63, 2 (October
2006).
_________, “Setting Up the Stage: A Decade of
Latin American Film Scholarship”, Quarterly
Review of Film and Video 12, 1-3 (1991),
239-260.
Michael T. Martin, ed. The New Latin American
Cinema, 2 Vols. Detroit: Wayne State
University Press, 1997.
Carl Mora, Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a
Society, 1896-2004. Jefferson, NC:
McFarland, 2005.
Lucía Nagib, The New Brazilian Cinema.
London and New York: Taurus, 2003.
Andrea Noble. Mexican National Cinema.
London and New York: Routledge, 2005.
Chon Noriega, ed. Visible Nations. Latin
American Cinema and Video. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Paulo Antonio Paranaguá, Cinema na América
latina. Porto Alegre: L & PM Editores, 1985.
___________. Tradición y modernidad en el cine
de América Latina. Madrid: Fondo de Cultura
Económica, 2003.
___________ y José Carlos Avellar, El cine
documental en América Latina. Madrid.
Cátedra, 2003.
Zuzana Pick, The New Latin American Cinema.
A Continental Project. Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1993.
Laura Podalsky, ed., “Literatura y cine en
América Latina”, Special Issue of Revista
Iberoamericana LXVIII, 199 (Abril-Junio
2002).
Cynthia Ramsey, “Third Cinema in Latin
America. Critical Theory in Recent Works”,
Latin American Research Review 23, 1
(1988): 266-75.
Deborah Shaw, ed. Contemporary Latin
American Cinema. Breaking into the Global
Market. Lanham, MD: Rowman and
Littlefield, 2007.
___________, Contemporary Cinema of Latin
America: Ten Key Films. New York:
Continuum, 2003.
Lisa Shaw y Stephanie Dennison, eds. Latin
American cinema: Essays on Modernity,
gender and national identity. Jefferson, NC y
Londres: McFarland, 2005.
Anne Marie Stock, Framing Latin American
Cinema. Contemporary critical perspectives.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
1997.
Peter Schumann, Historia del cine
latinoamericano (Trad. Oscar Zambrano).
Buenos Aires: Cine Libre/Editorial Legasa,
1987.
Donald F. Stevens, Based on a True Story. Latin
American History at the Movies. Wilmington,
Del.: SR Books, 1997.
David M. J. Wood, “With Foreign Eyes: English-
Language Criticism in Latin America”, Journal
of Latin American Cultural Studies 17, 2
(August 2008) 245-259.
REMEDI continued…
15
ON THE PROFESSI ON
Latin American Cinema and
Latin American Studies
by KATHLEEN NEWMAN | The University of Iowa | kathleen-newman@uiowa.edu
In the United States, Latin American film
scholars have a variety of institutional
homes: Departments of Art and Art History,
Cinema Studies (which might include the
study of filmmaking as well as film history
and theory), Communications Studies,
English, Media Studies, and/or Spanish and
Portuguese. Many U.S.-based film scholars
belong to two or three professional
organizations: the Society for Cinema and
Media Studies (SCMS), the Modern
Language Association (MLA), and the Latin
American Studies Association. Both the
MLA and LASA have film sections that meet
at, and generate panels for their national and
international professional meetings. In
1991, at a meeting of the Society for Cinema
Studies (the original name of SCMS) in Los
Angeles, scholars of U.S. Latino Film, joined
by Latin Americanist and Spanish film
scholars, founded the Latino Caucus, which
over the years has functioned as both a film
section and, at times, an advocacy group
within SCMS. At the LASA International
Congress in Montreal in 2007, the President
of the Society for Cinema and Media
Studies, at the invitation of the LASA Film
Section, spoke on the ways in which LASA
and SCMS might combine efforts.
As would be expected for scholars in Latin
American Studies, there are strong
connections between film studies faculty
based in the United States and those based in
Latin America, often facilitated by LASA or
SCMS. There are strong film studies
programs at academic institutions in Buenos
Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Mexico
City, Guadalajara, and other major cities in
Latin America, and most national capitals in
Latin America have public and private
filmmaking schools (one major international
school for filmmakers is based in San
Antonio de los Baños, Cuba). Graduate
programs in film studies in the United States
that support the study of Latin American
Cinema include the University of Iowa, New
York University, University of Southern
California, University of California at Los
Angeles, University of California at Santa
Barbara, University of California at Berkeley,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and
University of Texas at Austin, among others.
Scholars from both Latin America and the
United States attend film conferences in the
region: for example, the “Fourth
International Congress: Women and Silent
Film” was hosted by the Centro
Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y
Humanidades of the Universidad de
Guadalajara in 2006, and, since 2002, U.S.
Latin Americanist film scholars have
attended meetings of the Sociedade Brasileira
de Estudos de Cinema (SOCINE).
The change in media technology over the
last decades has profoundly affected the
study of film, though, while we have passed
or are in the process of passing from the
“celluloid age” to the “digital age,” film
remains an ephemeral medium. For research
on twentieth century film (fiction or
documentary, features or shorts), scholars
prefer to study the original 35mm or 16mm
films, if they have been preserved in film
archives under climate-controlled conditions,
though most of our research is undertaken
under much less optimal conditions. For
teaching, while many more Latin American
films are now available on DVD than even
ten years ago, it is clear that the DVD is
another media platform that will fall by the
wayside, requiring media libraries eventually
to upgrade, once again, their technologies
and to review their film holdings. Most U.S.
universities with strong graduate programs
in film studies do attempt to build a
collection reflecting the breadth and depth of
Latin American film history, but funding can
be limited and DVD releases difficult to
obtain, even with internet purchasing.
(When the Maleta de cine colombiano
became available in Bogotá, it made its way
to the University of Iowa in the suitcase of a
colleague, thus becoming our collection’s one
and only meta-maleta.) One further note
regarding formats: film teachers always
prefer the widescreen format versions of film
on DVD because it preserves the original
aspect ratio, that is, how the film would
have been seen when projected in a film
theater. It is always news among Latin
Americanist film scholars when a DVD
version of a restored film is released, such as
restored versions of films by Glauber Rocha
currently available or under preparation in
Brazil, or when museums, such as the Museo
de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
(MALBA), undertake to publish DVD
collections of films by contemporary
filmmakers. Every preservation effort is
important because much of Latin American
film of the silent period has been lost and
few governments anywhere have committed
sufficient funds to the preservation and/or
restoration of films of any period.
The increase in scholarship in Spanish,
English and Portuguese on Latin American
Cinema over the last two decades has
corrected a perception in U.S. film
scholarship that all Latin American film was
politically-committed New Latin American
Cinema. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá’s
Tradición y modernidad en el cine de
América Latina and John King’s Magical
Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin
America (Second Edition) remain the two
best overviews of Latin American film
history (including popular cinema,
commercial cinema, art cinema, and
experimental and avant-garde cinemas),
particularly when complemented by Ana M.
López’s article “Early Cinema and
Modernity in Latin America” in Cinema
Journal, the publication of the Society for
Cinema and Media Studies. Preservation
and access to film trade journals for the
silent period varies from country to country:
recently, for example, the Library of the
Centro de Investigación y Experimentación
ON THE PROFESSI ON
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
16
Latin American Film Scholarship in the UK
Mapping the Field
by JOHN KING | University of Warwick | aysar@ice.csv.warwick.uk
en Video y Cine (CIEVYC) in Buenos Aires
acquired a copy of Excelsior, a trade journal
first published in the second decade of the
twentieth century, which reveals both the
extent of Argentine film production and of
the importation of foreign film in the silent
period. The revision of the modernism
currently underway in Latin American
Literary Studies has found useful material in
the subdiscipline of sound studies within film
studies and in intermedia investigations of
the relation between records, radio, and film
sound. Likewise, comparative studies of the
“Golden Ages” of national cinemas, genre
films, and the current set of “new cinemas”
(by generations of directors coming to the
fore in the 1990s and in this decade) in Latin
America are reshaping our understanding of
the various trajectories of film production,
distribution, and reception in the region.
Finally, there are moments of great
excitement in the field and new research
possibilities. Just this last year, in Buenos
Aires, Paula Félix-Didier, Director of the
Museo Pablo Ducrós Hicken, and Fernando
M. Peña, the head film programmer for
MALBA and past director of the Buenos
Aires Festival Internacional de Cine
Independiente (BAFICI), discovered a print
of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, brought to
Argentina from Germany in 1928, that
contains footage thought lost to the world.
The footage revises our understanding of the
representation of the struggle between the
workers and the corporate powers in the
film. Since it is a print that showed many
times over the years in cine-clubs in Buenos
Aires, this discovery makes it possible for
film scholars to review what impact, if any,
this film might have had on Argentine
political cinema and political culture, and to
examine how such transnational exchanges
shape film history.
The academic study of Latin American
cinema in British universities has grown
considerably in the past twenty years and is
now one of the major areas of interest for
staff and students in the broad field of
literary and cultural studies. Most
universities today offer courses, normally
located in departments of Spanish and Latin
American Studies, on aspects of cinema, and
a number of faculty members publish
articles, book chapters and monographs
across a range of topics.
Before trying to define the main contours of
this field, some brief comments on the
reception of Latin American cinema in the
UK might help orient the discussion. The
biggest change in recent years, which
facilitates research and teaching, is the
availability of a number of Latin American
films on DVD, many with English
translation available. In the 1980s it was
very difficult to find material in this country.
Few movies received commercial release.
Television would show some films from
Latin America, which we would avidly video
and recycle. The London Film Festival and
the National Film Theatre in London would
organize country-based programmes with
the help of Embassies in the UK, but in
order just to see most movies, even once, it
would be necessary to travel to Latin
America, to different film festivals, such as
the Havana festival, or to work in the
different national Cinematecas and film
archives, since it was rare to find many Latin
American films being exhibited even in their
countries of origin.
The situation today is quite different. Apart
from DVD access and the continuing
stalwarts of Latin American film
exhibition—the National Film Theatre in
London, the different regional film theatres
and the activities of Embassies (in particular
the Mexican and the Brazilian Embassies)—
contemporary Latin American cinema has
become part of the viewing experience of a
broader public, not just the almost secret
fascination of initiates. This has been
helped, of course, by the extraordinary
visibility of certain Mexican ‘crossover’
directors, in particular Alfonso Cuarón,
Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González
Iñárritu, and, of course, Mexican film stars:
the face of Gael García Bernal is instantly
recognised by many. There is also a strong
interest in Brazilian directors like Walter
Salles and Fernando Meirelles, and the ‘new
wave’ of Argentine directors such as
Lucrecia Martel, Pablo Trapero, Fabián
Bielinsky and Adrián Caetano. Film
festivals, such as the ‘Discovering Latin
America’ festival in London, also screen a
wide range of documentaries and fictional
films from less ‘visible’ countries. This
interest and activity helps to create a market
for academic publication: mainstream
commercial publishers as well as university
presses are willing to consider books on
Latin American cinema, and journals—both
‘mainstream’ film journals and also ‘Latin
American Studies’ journals—are receptive to
this bourgeoning film scholarship.
I am not suggesting that scholarship here is
necessarily market-led: interest in Latin
American film studies had been increasing
before the recent focus on contemporary
cinema of the last ten to fifteen years. Nor
am I implying that the problem of access to
films has been solved: DVD can offer only a
small fraction of production, the most
commercially viable films. The most
significant independent producer of
contemporary Argentine cinema, Lita
Stantic, for example, has yet to put her own
remarkable film about the disappeared in
Argentina, Un muro de silencio (1993), onto
DVD. If scholars with no knowledge of
Spanish or Portuguese wanted to develop
studies of Latin American stars to add to the
rich literature on stars and society in the
Euro American tradition, they would be able
NEWMAN continued…
17
to write about García Bernal or Salma
Hayek, to take the case of Mexico, but not
about Dolores del Río or María Félix,
because the films of even these most famous
of ‘Golden Age’ stars are not readily
available in subtitled versions. Work on
stardom in Brazilian cinema—which is a
very strong feature of UK film studies—can
be found in the Centre for Brazilian Film
Studies at Leeds. One of the most
committed and successful producers of
recent Latin American cinema, the British
academic turned producer, Don Ranvaud—
who has produced the work of Salles,
Trapero, Meirelles and many other younger
directors—is currently engaged on a project,
through his company Ondamax films, of
bringing to DVD some of the most
important films of the sixties, directed by
Jorge Sanjinés in Bolivia, amongst others.
Even these films, that occupy a central
position in debates on sixties cinema, are in
danger of being lost from sight. The work
of film preservation and then distribution
remains one of the perennial problems of the
field. Most work in the UK on Latin
American film still comes from inside area
studies or language departments rather than
from film studies departments, although in
recent years we find more scholars with
Latin American expertise based in Film
Studies departments. These scholars are
often contributing to courses and
publications on world cinema. But wherever
they are housed, researchers look to mediate
between research carried out in Latin
America and the dominant interests of the
Euro American film studies tradition.
If we look to classify this work, we find that
most recent publications consider
contemporary ‘national’ and
‘transnational’cinemas. National and
transnational are not seen as exclusive,
oppositional categories. Nobody working in
Latin American film offers an essentialist
reading of national cinemas, since there is a
clear awareness that these cinemas, from
their inception, long before debates about
globalisation became fashionable, are a
blend of national and transnational
elements. The nation remains the bedrock
for film production and distribution in Latin
America and the state still plays a significant
role in a number of countries. It is also far
too simplistic to see film production from
the nineties as being exclusively
‘transnational’, and to wave farewell to the
national project, despite the obvious
attraction of crossover star directors such as
Cuarón, Salles and Del Toro, who are the
exceptions rather than the rule. Stephanie
Dennison (Leeds) and Lisa Shaw (Liverpool)
have co-written the volume on Brazil for the
Routledge national cinema series (Shaw and
Dennison, 2007), whilst Andrea Noble
(Durham) wrote the volume on Mexican
cinema for the same series, concentrating on
a close reading of representative films
(Noble, 2005). Several scholars have looked
at contemporary film movements from
within a national framework: Lúcia Nagib
(Leeds) has explored recent Brazilian cinema
(Nagib, 2003, 2007), Miriam Haddu (Royal
Holloway, London), has focused on Mexican
cinema in the nineties (Haddu, 2007), while
Joanna Page (Cambridge) has analysed
Argentine film of the last decade (Page,
2009). Jens Andermann and colleagues at
Birkbeck are looking at what they term the
‘recovery of the real’ in contemporary
Argentine and Brazilian film, and Catherine
Grant (Sussex) has published several
significant articles on post dictatorship
Argentine cinema. Geoffrey Kantaris in
Cambridge is completing a major
monograph study of urban cinema since the
eighties, in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico
and Brazil, exploring how place and identity
are reshaped by local and transnational
forces. Lúcia Sa in Manchester is also
working on images of the city in Brazil and
Mexico (Sa, 2007). Paul Julian Smith at
Cambridge regularly reviews Latin American
films and has written a guide to Amores
perros (Smith, 2003), while Else Vieira has
analysed another internationally successful
film, City of God (Vieira, 2005). Smith’s
focus on the transnational in cinema finds its
echo in much recent research. Deborah
Shaw (Portsmouth) has offered key readings
of contemporary films (Shaw 2003) and has
also edited a book that features a number of
essays that concentrate specifically on the
global market (Shaw, 2007). Armida de la
Garza (Nottingham) is also preparing for
publication the symposium papers of a
conference held at Puebla in 2008 on
transnational cinema. The proceedings of
another major conference held at
Cambridge, edited by Page and Haddu, also
offer a perspective on debates over the
national and the transnational in fiction film
and documentary (Haddu and Page, 2009).
In the main, the focus of UK-based research
is on the ‘big three’ industries of Argentina,
Brazil and Mexico. Some attention is being
paid to contemporary cinema in Peru (Sarah
Barrow, Anglia Ruskin) and Uruguay (Keith
Richards, Sheffield), with examples of their
work in Shaw and Dennison (2005), while
Rory O’Bryen (Cambridge) has explored
cinematic and literary representations of La
Violencia in Colombia (O’Bryen, 2008).
Cuba no longer receives the critical attention
as in the heyday of discussions about
‘imperfect’ or ‘third’ cinema that the
directors themselves led in the sixties and
early seventies, though Michael Chanan
(Roehampton) has updated his seminal book
on Cuba to include developments into the
twenty first century (Chanan, 2004).
Stephen Hart has approached a century of
filmmaking in the continent in his
Companion to Latin American Film through
a close reading of key film texts (Hart, 2004)
and he is active in encouraging work with
the International Film School in Havana.
Survey books on national cinemas cover the
pre 1960s period to some extent, and
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18
Dolores Tierney (Sussex) has published an
analysis of the work of the Mexican ‘Golden
Age’ director, Emilio Fernández, which
locates itself specifically in debates
concerning transcultural and transnational
perspectives (Tierney 2007). A discussion of
popular cinema in Brazil can be found in the
work of Shaw and Dennison (2004), while
Tierney and Ruétalo have edited a collection
of papers dealing with exploitation movies in
Latin America (Tierney and Ruétalo, 2009).
I have concentrated my focus here on book
publication, but many other researchers
throughout the country are publishing
regularly on cinema in specialist and non
specialist journals based in the UK and
throughout the Americas.
The significant number of recent titles,
outlined above, the work in progress, and
the numbers of postgraduates that are
focusing on film-related topics, all point to
an area of study that is now firmly
established in the UK, and where scholars
are forging productive working relationships
with filmmakers in Latin America and with
critics throughout the Americas and in
Europe.
[I would like to thank Stephanie Dennison,
Geoffrey Kantaris, Toni Kapcia, Andrea
Noble and Deborah Shaw for providing me
with bibliographical information. I would
also refer the reader to an excellent article by
David Wood which gives an illuminating
theoretical account of the challenges and the
pitfalls that await the ‘foreign’ critic: ‘With
Foreign Eyes: English Language Criticism on
Latin American Film’, Journal of Latin
American Cultural Studies, Vol.17, 2, August
2008, pp. 245-259.]
Works Cited
Chanan, Michael, Cuban Cinema, University of
Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2004
Haddu, Miriam, Contemporary Mexican Cinema
(1989-1999): History, Space and Identity, Edwin
Mellon, Lewiston, NJ, 2007
Haddu, Miriam and Joanna Page, eds., Visual
Synergies: Fiction and Documentary Filmmaking
in Latin America, New York: Palgrave
MacMillan, 2009
Hart, Steven, Companion to Latin American
Film, Tamesis, London, 2004
Kantaris, Geoffrey, Latin American Cinema: The
Urban Paradigm, fortchcoming
Nagib, Lúcia, Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo,
New Cinema, Utopia, I.B.Tauris, London and
New York, 2007
Nagib, Lúcia, ed., The New Brazilian Cinema,
I.B. Tauris, London and New York, 2003
Noble, Andrea, Mexican National Cinema,
Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2005
O’Bryen, Rory, Literature, Testimony and
Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture:
Spectres of ‘la Violencia’, Tamesis, London, 2008
Page, Joanna, Crisis and Capitalism in
Contemporary Argentine Cinema, Duke
University Press, 2009
Sa, Lucia, Life in the Megalopolis: Mexico City
and São Paulo, Routledge, Abingdon and New
York, 2007
Shaw, Deborah, Contemporary Latin American
Cinema: Ten Key Films, Continuum, London
and New York, 2003
Shaw, Deborah, ed., Contemporary Latin
American Cinema: Breaking into the Global
Market, Rowman and Littlefield, London, 2007
Shaw, Lisa and Stephanie Dennison, Brazilian
National Cinema, Routledge, Abingdon and
New York, 2007
Shaw, Lisa and Stephanie Dennison, Popular
Cinema in Brazil, Manchester University Press,
Manchester and New York, 2004
Shaw, Lisa and Stephanie Dennison eds., Latin
American Cinema: Essays on Modernity, Gender
and National Identity, McFarland, Jefferson NC
and London, 2005
Smith, Paul Julian, Amores perros, BFI Modern
Classics, London, 2003
Tierney, Dolores, Emilio Fernández: Pictures in
the Margins, Manchester University Press,
Manchester and New York, 2007
Tierney, Dolores and Victoria Ruétalo, eds.,
Latsploitation: Latin American Exploitation,
Trash and Cult Cinema, Routledge, Abingdon
and New York, 2009
Vieira, Else, ‘City of God’ in Several Voices:
Brazilian Social Cinema as Action, Critical,
Cultural and Communications Press, London,
2005
KING continued…
19
DEBATES
Inequality in Latin American Literary
and Cultural Studies
Introduction
by CYNTHIA STEELE
University of Washington, Seattle
cynthias@u.washington.edu
Since its inception, through the foundational
work of Jean Franco, Joseph Sommers, and
Hernán Vidal, among others, and continuing
into the recent presidency of Arturo Arias,
literary and cultural studies have played a
pivotal role in the Latin American Studies
Association. While the six authors brought
together in this edition of the Forum share a
passion for literature and a commitment to
democratization in the Americas, they differ
widely in their views on how best to marry
these two concerns.
In his provocative opening essay, Jon
Beasley-Murray speaks for many of us in
lamenting the reduction of the Latin
American literary canon, in the United
States, Canada and Europe, to Magical
Realism, as exemplified by the works of
Gabriel García Márquez and his imitators.
As he acutely observes, the genre contained
the seeds of its own obsolescence, and most
literary critics long ago tired of it and turned
their attention to experimental narrative
and/or testimonio. Many of our students,
however, have not followed suit, leaving us
with the dilemma of either boring them with
‘good’ literature, or boring ourselves—and
selling out—by teaching them middle-brow
literature designed to compensate First-
World readers for their “overdevelopment.”
Jean Franco invites us to step outside the
canon and consider an emerging body of
literature that seems to defy the forces of
globalization: literature written in indigenous
languages. This is a literature, Franco
argues, that challenges “the distinctions that
placed high culture over popular cultures,
literary language over dialect, metropolis
over province and thus tacitly affirmed class,
gender and racial inequalities.” Despite the
historical forces of dispersal and
acculturation, “languages that were
scheduled to disappear with
globalization…are being reinvigorated by
indigenous writers.” Her two cases in point,
mapuche literature in Chile and zapotec
literature in Mexico, have both evolved
through militant resistance to colonization
by the state, and exemplify both the
preservation of a rich oral tradition and its
global dissemination through the Internet.
Idelber Avelar’s essay provides an excellent
overview of the best works of recent literary
and cultural criticism, many of which
exemplify globalization in their trilingual
publication. Moreover, they share a refusal
to limit themselves to one or two
overarching theoretical debates. Rather,
Avelar posits, they share a “meticulously
specific, object-driven [approach]…usually
anchored in one or two national traditions,”
and their theoretical concerns emerge
inductively, rather than existing a priori to
confirm a particular metacritical stance.
Ileana Rodríguez considers the applicability
of the genre of Ecocriticism—which has
thrived among U.S. and European literary
critics in response to environmental
concerns—to the Latin American context.
She cautions against prioritizing concerns
about the environmental over those about
human exploitation—ecology over
equality—, while acknowledging the
common roots of both types of analysis in
the political-social and against desarrollismo.
The forces of modernization, she notes, have
always regarded the natural world as
exploitable frontier, in contrast to the ancient
beliefs of Rigoberta Menchú and other
indigenous peoples, who have often been
excluded by both modernization and the
environmental movement.
John Beverley, for his part, argues that the
populist turn taken by many Latin American
countries in recent years has elicited a
neoconservative response from one sector of
the Latin American critical establishment.
For some critics who came of age in the
Sixties, Beverley argues, the disavowal of
armed struggle in middle age has entailed a
retreat into the privileged space of the
Lettered City of which Angel Rama spoke.
Finally, Luz Horne and Daniel Noemi
Voionmaa trace the evolving representation
of marginality in Latin American fiction,
from nineteenth-century realism to the
modernism of Clarice Lispector. They then
concentrate their analysis on the new
documentary literature immersed in the
problem of urban violence, exemplified by
Paulo Lins’s Cidade de Deus and Fernando
Vallejo’s La virgen de los sicarios. In this
recent fiction, they observe, violence does
not emanate primarily from the state, which
is absent or invisible, but from market
forces. Moreover, “this new aesthetics of the
marginal” is characterized by
“spectacularization”; “Latin America has
become a stage for the spectacle of
violence.” The authors argue that this
literature has created “a new language and a
new logic to talk about marginality,” as in
the novels of César Aira. In those of Nora
Fernández and Diamela Eltit, the characters’
“fragmented and corroded” bodies are
assimilated into their abject surroundings.
In juxtaposing the views of three generations
of cultural critics, from both North and
South, and from the Spanish-, Portuguese-
and English-language traditions, these essays
suggest the diversity of views and
approaches, and the vitality of critical
debate, in the field of contemporary Latin
American literary and cultural studies. I
trust they will spark further debates among
humanists and social scientists alike.
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Against (In)equality
Bad Latin American Literature
by JON BEASLEY-MURRAY
University of British Columbia
Jon.beasley-murray@ubc.ca
The central concern of literature is not so
much inequality, but difference. And so it
should be. Literature enables an exploration
of otherness, variety, and singularity. It does
so by allowing readers to feel or sense other
worlds, different from their own, thereby
relativizing their own experience, such that
they recognize that they, too, are different.
Hence literature differs from film, at least as
described by the Frankfurt School theorist
Siegfried Kracauer: film often encourages its
spectators to see themselves as the same, as
part of a mass, but literature tends to
emphasize either individualism or a much
more diffuse sense of commonality.
1
Film
constructs a mass audience of equals;
literature posits a common readership
characterized by diversity. Even critic
Benedict Anderson’s famous argument about
the role of the novel and novel-reading in the
construction of nationalist sentiment stresses
the range of sensations to which, for
instance, picaresque narratives expose their
readers: a “tour d’horison,” in the case of
José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’s El
periquillo sarniento, of “hospitals, prisons,
remote villages, monasteries, Indians,
Negros,” whose exemplary differences
combine to constitute the collectivity that
will be called Mexico.
2
In short, literature is
more about imagination than calculation,
experience than measurement, affect than
effect.
Literary criticism, by contrast, is all too
often preoccupied with issues of equality or
inequality. Traditionally, this is registered in
a discourse on value, for which some books
are better than others in whatever way that
“better” is to be defined. Indeed, literature
properly speaking, in this traditional
conception, is defined by the fact that it
contributes to a cultural sphere defined by
the nineteenth-century British critic Matthew
Arnold as the “best which has been thought
and said.”
3
More recently, the version of
inequality that preoccupies critics has been
imported more or less directly from political
discourse and concerns the evaluations
implicit, it is said, within literature itself.
How, for instance, are women or the
indigenous represented relative to men,
whites, or mestizos? Or how might a
literary text advance the cause of equality,
more broadly conceived? Still, however, and
despite the traditionalists’ lament that
relativism now rules the roost, in fact
notions of inequality or equality, and of
better or worse, remain to the fore. It is just
that new standards of judgment are in force.
Meanwhile, the institutional and economic
apparatus of book publishing is always
about calculation, measurement, and effect:
costs, sales, awards, and so on. Inevitably
implicated in that apparatus, literary
criticism, too, is complicit in the conversion
of the book as locus of literary experience
into just another commodity. This is true as
much of academic and scholarly
commentary as it is of journalistic reviews.
Literary criticism tends to side with
exchange value rather than use value.
To separate out literature and criticism in
this way, however, is of course an artificial
exercise. Literature today is almost
unimaginable without the apparatus of
production, distribution, and reception that
enables texts to find readers. It is hard to
imagine use without exchange, although
ironically that is what literature itself
encourages us to do, by erasing (if only
temporarily) our awareness of its own
material supports. Almost as soon as we
look up from the page, we too are engaged
in the evaluation and calculation that we
had briefly abandoned in the reading
experience. Taken as a whole, then,
literature and the critical apparatus that
surrounds and enables it helps transform
affect into effect, and packages difference as
inequality. This is nowhere more visible
than in the construct that is Latin American
literature, by which I mean literature labeled
as belonging to Latin America as a region
rather than to Mexico or Peru (or wherever)
as individual nations. Perhaps this visibility
is because Latin American literature as such
only comes into being through the process of
translation, both literal and metaphorical, by
which Latin American texts enter the world
market. And this is a relatively recent
phenomenon: for most intents and purposes,
Latin American literature was invented as
recently as the 1960s, with the region’s so-
called literary “Boom.” In what follows, I
retrace a brief history of the Boom, focusing
first on how it came to redefine the template
of what was “good” literature, and then on
how it has subsequently waned in critical
appreciation. Indeed, many Latin
Americanist critics have practically deserted
the field of literary criticism. I suggest that
we should return to the study of literature,
prepared now self-consciously (and self-
reflexively) to embrace the “bad” Latin
American literature as much as the “good.
When Latin American fiction burst onto
global consciousness in the late 1960s, it was
heralded as the savior of world literature.
U.S. novelist William Kennedy’s review of
Gabriel García Márquez was particularly
hyperbolic but not especially atypical: “One
Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece
of literature since the Book of Genesis that
should be required reading for the entire
human race. [. . . Mr. García Márquez’s]
success is one of the best things that has
happened to literature in a long, long time.”
4
The fact that Kennedy’s review was entitled
“All of Life, Sense and Nonsense Fills an
Argentine’s Daring Fable” (my emphasis)
shows that the specific provenance of this
21
salvation was immaterial: Argentina,
Colombia, it was all the same. What
mattered was that something new had come
along to fill the gap left by a now waning
First World modernism. Indeed, the Boom
supplied an apparent efflorescence of vitality
and inventiveness “at a moment,” as critic
Gerald Martin explains, “when such
creativity was in short supply internationally
[. . .] and critics repeatedly asked themselves
whether the novel, in the age of the mass
media, was now moribund.”
5
In 1967, for
instance, novelist John Barth published a
much-discussed essay on “The Literature of
Exhaustion,” a disquisition on “the used-
upness of certain forms or exhaustion of
certain possibilities.”
6
Yet the outlook is very
different in Barth’s follow-up essay, “The
Literature of Replenishment,” published in
1980. Now the Latin American Boom has
saved the day! Here for instance Barth’s
praise of One Hundred Years of Solitude is,
critic Johnny Payne observes, “as gushy and
unqualified as a back-cover blurb. It is ‘as
impressive a novel as has been written so far
in the second half of our century [. . . ].
Praise be to the Spanish language and
imagination!’”
7
Or rather, presumably, praise
be to Spanish in translation: Barth effaces
the process of translation and promotion
through which García Márquez’s novel lands
on his desk, and in which he himself
participates so enthusiastically. Any hint at
the workings of the market in symbolic
goods would undermine those very qualities
that Barth claims to find in the Latin
American text: its “organic originality” that,
in Payne’s gloss, could “‘magically’ recover
the conventions and artifices of the past,
while at the same time cross-fertilizing U.S.
writing.”
8
Latin America and its literary production
was soon summarized in the two-word
formula “magical realism,” encapsulating
both its “magical” inventiveness and the
notion that it was intimately intertwined
with some “real” political commitment. For
Latin American literature was “good” twice
over: because of its aesthetic innovation, and
also thanks to a sense that it was somehow
rooted in popular struggle.
The seal on the region’s cultural achievement
was the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded,
first, to Miguel Angel Asturias in 1967 and
Pablo Neruda in 1971, and later to García
Márquez in 1982. The Prize citation on this
latter occasion was framed as though the
honor were awarded to the entire region
rather than to one distinguished
representative. “For a long time,” it
proclaims, “Latin American literature has
shown a vigour as in few other literary
spheres. It has won acclaim in the cultural
life of today.”
9
The citation then delineates
the two elements that make Latin American
literature so worthy in the popular and
critical imagination. First, the region
combines “many impulses and traditions”
that range from “folk culture, including oral
storytelling, reminiscences from old Indian
culture, currents from Spanish baroque in
different epochs, influences from European
surrealism and other modernism” and that
collectively “are blended into a spiced and
life-giving brew.” Second, however, this
heady cocktail, “spiced and live-giving,” is
further enhanced by a committed attachment
to the cause of social justice. “The violent
conflicts of political nature—social and
economic—raise the temperature of the
intellectual climate,” we are told. The
citation continues, again as though
proclaiming a collective award: “Like most
of the other important writers in the Latin
American world, García Márquez is strongly
committed politically on the side of the poor
and the weak against oppression and
economic exploitation.”
10
In short, the 1982
Nobel Prize is awarded less to an individual
writer, than to a continent that has given
renewed life to world culture; and less to a
writer than to the idea of the writer as a
politically engaged intellectual who
transforms difference into a passionate call
for equality.
Even today, for most readers there is no
other world literature that enjoys a similar
aura of quality and even moral
uprightness—except perhaps the modern
notion of “world literature” itself, in which
(by analogy with, say, “world music”) the
virtues of Latin American cultural
production are extended to the entire Third
World. Common conception has it that the
very notion of “bad Latin American
literature” is an oxymoron. Moreover, what
is most remarkable about this successful
branding of a continent’s culture is that it is,
nonetheless, a branding: it is a marketing
operation, with extraordinary commercial
results. As his Nobel Prize citation notes,
García Márquez for instance “achieved
unusual success,” with One Hundred Years
of Solitude “translated into a large number
of languages and [selling] millions of
copies.”
11
The Nobel committee has
explicitly to mark this success as “unusual”
in the context of its award of its highest
accolade. For once, literary value and
market value here go hand in hand. Or in
Martin’s words, “What really confused the
issue” of the Boom was that its protagonists
“managed both to achieve critical
recognition and to become bestsellers.” The
Latin American Boom involved “the
wholesale conversion of literary production
into a commodity process” without,
apparently, the loss of its aura of exclusivity
predicted by a theorist such as Walter
Benjamin.
12
It did not take long, however, for a backlash
to ensue, at least in the more refined circles
of cultural criticism. Perhaps most famously,
the British novelist Julian Barnes declared a
moratorium on magical realism only two
years after García Márquez’s Nobel, and at
precisely the point at which this style, now
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
22
the signature gesture of the new category of
“postcolonial” writing, was sweeping all
before it. Barnes’s mocking suggestion is
that:
A quota system is to be introduced on
fiction set in South America. The
intention is to curb the spread of
package-tour baroque and heavy irony.
Ah, the propinquity of cheap life and
expensive principles, of religion and
banditry, of surprising honour and
random cruelty. Ah, the daiquiri bird
which incubates its eggs on the wing; ah,
the fredonna tree whose roots grow at
the tips of its branches, and whose fibres
assist the hunchback to impregnate by
telepathy the haughty wife of the
hacienda owner; ah, the opera house now
overgrown by jungle. Permit me to rap
on the table and murmur “Pass!”
13
How did Latin American fiction become so
quickly a matter of ridicule? It is easy to
blame its imitators. As critic Theo Tait
points out, the 1980s saw “a flood of semi-
supernatural sagas [. . .] released all over the
world—full of omens, prodigies, legendary
feats, hallucinatory exaggerations, fairytale
motifs, strange coincidences and
overdeveloped sense-organs.”
14
Tait even
understates the case when he observes that
“with time and overuse, artistic style
degenerates into mannerism.” In fact,
magical realism was very soon subject to
pastiche, and from there it was but a short
step to Barnes’s parody. Moreover, as Tait
also comments, magical realism was
particularly vulnerable to such
transmutations. In that “wonder and
novelty were always an important part of its
appeal, [. . .] the style had a built-in
obsolescence: the decline into artificial
gesture and cheap exoticism was
inevitable.”
15
Meanwhile, in Latin America
itself the politics of the Boom had long been
under fire, not least from the influential
Uruguayan critic Angel Rama, for such
failings as its exclusivity, its cult of the
individual author, and for its “enslavement
to the mechanisms of publicity.”
16
No
wonder then that Latin Americanists should
have turned almost wholesale either to more
challenging texts by more recondite authors
such as Diamela Eltit or Ricardo Piglia, or to
non-literary or para-literary genres such as
testimonio and so (as in the title of one of
critic John Beverley’s books) “against
literature” altogether.
17
Yet the strange result of this conjunction of
circumstances is that those of us who teach
Latin American literature for a living in
North America and Europe find ourselves in
a peculiar double bind. We can put non-
canonical works on the syllabus, but so very
often dampen the enthusiasm of students
attracted to our classes precisely by the
prospect that they will be reading what they
regard in advance as the inventive and
edifying work of the Boom and its sequels.
Or we can teach García Márquez et. al., and
perhaps even the still more popular avatars
such as Isabel Allende or Laura Esquivel, but
never quite without the sense that we are,
however reluctantly, embracing a “bad”
Latin American literature only because the
students think it will do them some good.
Let us approach bad Latin American
literature a little less abashedly, first by
understanding its continued appeal, and
second by perhaps reconsidering its (by now)
middlebrow utopianism. For it is a prime
instance of what we could call liberal, well-
intentioned exoticism, a means by which to
recognize and negotiate difference. In the
context of the rapid globalization of culture
and communications technologies of which
the rise of Latin American literature was
itself a part (with novels written by
Colombians in Mexico, published in
Barcelona, translated in London, and
making bestseller lists in New York), magical
realism offered a way of understanding a
whole new set of differences that suddenly
impinged upon Western consciousness.
What is more, it offered a way of relating to
these novelties: it proposed that the act of
reading (or, more generally, cultural
consumption) could itself be a form of
solidarity. Reading (or perhaps merely
buying) a work produced elsewhere could be
a demonstration of acceptance and open-
mindedness in the midst of the postnational
confusion that could otherwise overtake
traditional middle-class sensibilities.
Reading came to seem a political act. Hence
the rise of “world” culture, as a particular
variant on the global. By the late 1980s,
Western consumers could face the heady
onrush of globalization by wearing their
Thai-style batik t-shirts, listening to
Moroccan music as remixed in England,
drinking free-trade Tanzanian coffee, and
reading Paulo Coelho. Culture always
involves position-taking, and Latin American
literature, charged as it was with a sense of
political engagement (the brand of the real),
offered a paradigmatic market choice for
those who felt vaguely ill at ease with their
own self-consciousness as the economic
beneficiaries of unequal trade. It is, in short,
an important mode of what political
philosopher Jacques Rancière would term
the reconfiguration of the sensible (feeling
itself) in postmodern times.
18
Or to put this
another way: if, as critic Idelber Avelar
argues, in Latin America the Boom’s success
served as compensation for economic and
political underdevelopment; outside of Latin
America precisely this same literature (and
its successors) functioned according to a
similar logic of compensation, but now to
make up for overdevelopment.
19
Finally, then, Latin American literature—
compensation or comfort in the guise of self-
improvement—has become the very epitome
of middlebrow culture. No wonder it
should have been so soon scorned by writers
BEASELY-MURRAY continued…
23
such as Julian Barnes, and also the object of
wary regard by Latin American and Latin
Americanist critics themselves. Like the
classic middlebrow culture of the 1950s and
1960s as described by cultural critic Janice
Radway, Latin American literature provides
“a kind of social pedagogy for a growing
class fraction of professionals, managers, and
information workers,” a “sentimental
education” to guide them through, now, not
so much modernity and modernization as
postmodernity and globalization.
20
It
mobilizes an “enthusiasm for sentiment,” a
way of reading “completely suffused by
feeling and affect.”
21
At the same time, it
offers a reconversion of value: if the Boom
was striking originally for the way in which
it transmuted aesthetic value into
commercial value without, for all that,
apparently destroying the aura of the work
of art, perhaps the post-Boom, or the Boom’s
legacy, has been the magical transmutation
of market value into political reassurance,
the purchase of a sense of engaged solidarity
through the exercise of cultural taste. But it
is not, in this sense, all that different from
testimonio as read even by the most anti-
literary of proponents of Latin American
cultural studies. And rather than partaking
in a new round of value judgments in which
some texts would always end up better than
others, perhaps we can turn around the
liberal desire to cast difference as
(in)equality; we can examine and teach bad
Latin American literature as symptom of
unfulfilled desires in the global North as
much as the South. At stake is a
redistribution of the sensible that precedes
any struggle over how what is sensed is to be
evaluated or weighed.
Endnotes
1
Kracauer, The Mass Ornament. Guy Debord
subsequently develops a similar, albeit much
broader, argument in The Society of the
Spectacle.
2
Anderson, Imagined Communities, 30.
3
Arnold, Culture and Anarchy, 6.
4
Quoted. in advertising material, New York
Times, May 6, 1970, 40; see also Kennedy,
“Socialist Realism.”
5
Martin, “Boom, Yes; ‘New’ Novel, No,” 53.
6
Barth, “The Literature of Exhaustion,” 310.
Not that exhaustion is necessarily negative in
Barth’s view: he champions Samuel Beckett
and, indeed, Jorge Luis Borges because they
“paradoxically turn the felt ultimacies of our
time into material and means for [their] work”
(317).
7
Payne, Conquest of the New Word, 17.
8
Ibid.
9
Gyllensten, “Presentation Speech.”
10
Ibid.
11
Ibid.
12
Martin, “Boom, Yes; ‘New’ Novel, No,” 54.
See Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction.”
13
Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot, 99.
14
Tait, “Flame-Broiled Whopper.”
15
Ibid.
16
Rama, “Carta de Angel Rama a Zona
Franca,” 15. See also Rama, “Angel Rama tira
la piedra . . .”
17
Beverley, Against Literature.
18
Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics.
19
Avelar, The Untimely Present, 30-31.
20
Radway, A Feeling for Books, 15, 17.
21
Ibid., 29, 33.
Bibliography
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities:
Reflections on the Origin and Spread of
Nationalism. London: Verso, 1991.
Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy. Edited
by J. Dover Wilson. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1935.
Avelar, Idelber. The Untimely Present:
Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction and the
Task of Mourning. Durham, NC: Duke
University Press, 1999.
Barnes, Julian. Flaubert’s Parrot. London:
Jonathan Cape, 1984.
Barth, John. “The Literature of Exhaustion.” In
Postmodern Literary Theory: An Anthology,
edited by Niall Lucy, 310-21. Oxford: Blackwell,
2000.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age
of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Illuminations,
edited by Hannah Arendt and translated by
Harry Zohn, 217-51. New York: Schocken,
1968.
Beverley, John. Against Literature. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New
edition. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.
New York: Zone, 1996.
Gyllensten, Lars. “Presentation Speech.” The
Nobel Prize in Literature 1982.
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laure
ates/1982/presentation-speech.html.
Kennedy, William. “Socialist Realism.” PEN
America Journal 6.
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/138
/prmID/606.
Kracauer, Siegfried. The Mass Ornament:
Weimar Essays. Edited and translated by
Thomas Y. Levin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1995.
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
24
Martin, Gerald. “Boom, Yes; ‘New’ Novel, No:
Further Reflections on the Optical Illusions of
the 1960s in Latin America.” Bulletin of Latin
American Research 3, no. 2 (1984): 53-63.
Payne, Johnny. Conquest of the New Word:
Experimental Fiction and Translation in the
Americas. Austin: University of Texas Press,
1993.
Rama, Angel. “Angel Rama tira la piedra . . .”
Zona Franca 14 (1972): 15-17.
____________“Carta de Angel Rama a Zona
Franca: El Boom establece expresamente un
recorte empobrecedor de nuestras letras, que las
deforma y traiciona.” Zona Franca 16 (1972):
10-15.
Rancière, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics: The
Distribution of the Sensible. Translated by
Gabriel Rockhill. London: Continuum, 2004.
Tait, Theo. “Flame-Broiled Whopper.” Review of
Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown. London
Review of Books (October 6, 2005).
Overcoming Colonialism
Writing in Indigenous Languages
by JEAN FRANCO
Columbia University
jf29@columbia.edu
The Argentine critic, Josefina Ludmer,
recently pointed out that with globalization
the parameters of Latin American literature
and literary studies have totally changed.
Traditional divisions between national and
cosmopolitan realism, between realism and
avant-garde, between pure literature and
social literature have disappeared and even
the difference between historical reality and
fiction may disappear. The distinctions that
placed high culture over popular cultures,
literary language over dialect, metropolis
over province and thus tacitly affirmed class,
gender and racial inequalities have been
challenged in many ways, the most striking
of which is the continent-wide emergence of
literature in indigenous languages that
extends from the Mapuche in the south to
the Tahahumara in Northern Mexico, from
the Tupi-Guaraní to the Nahuas. Languages
that were scheduled to disappear with
globalization, and that had long been
marginalized by imperial Spanish are not
only defended by native speakers but are
taught in universities and reinvigorated by
indigenous writers.
It was in 1992 that representatives of 120
indigenous peoples met in Quito to organize
a protest against the quincentennial
celebrations of Columbus’s discovery of
America and called for, among other things,
a defense of native languages, recognizing
that the subordination of native languages to
Spanish ratified the long-standing oppression
of the originary inhabitants of the continent.
Paradoxically this defense of native
languages has occurred at a time of dispersal
when emigration is creating new identities,
such as the binational Mixteca in California
and the urban indigenous in Mexico City
and Lima. In Mexico, the colonization of
the Lacandon jungle by landless peasants in
the 1980s brought together Tzotziles,
Tajobales, and other groups, many of whom
would join the Zapatista army. In 1994
when the Zapatistas emerged from the
Lacandon forest and took over several
municipalities, they addressed the
inhabitants in the six indigenous languages
of the region.
The number of people speaking indigenous
languages varies considerably: millions speak
Quechua and only a few hundred puapua, a
language of Baja California. Moreover,
national policies have given rise to very
different linguistic environments. In the
worst cases, like that of El Salvador
following the Matanza of 1931 in which
thousands of indigenous were slaughtered in
the wake of a rebellion, the native language
was suppressed and is only now being
relearned. Speakers of indigenous languages
were made to feel inferior. In the life story
of the Peruvian Gregorio Condori Mamani,
transcribed from the Quechua, Condori
describes himself as sightless and dumb
because he did not have access to writing
and did not speak Spanish even after a spell
in the army where officers prohibited the
speaking of Quechua. During the civil war
in Guatemala in the eighties, the army tried
to prohibit the speaking of native tongues
and the wearing of native dress. At the
other extreme is Paraguay, a country
officially bilingual in Spanish and Guaraní.
In Mexico, where there may be as many as
60 indigenous languages, nahua has now
been incorporated into University courses
and there has been official support for
workshops and conferences in many of the
languages. In Chile, the mapuche have a
radio program in mapudungun. Peoples
who, in the past, were not supposed to have
writing much less a literature are now
attending writing workshops, reciting poetry
BEASELY-MURRAY continued…
25
at meetings and publishing in anthologies.
When Microsoft recently announced a
program in mapudungun, the language of
the mapuche, there was a public protest not
against the technology as such, but against
what was termed the intellectual piracy of a
project that had been carried forward
without any participation by the mapuche
themselves.
One cannot write in an indigenous language
without calling up the whole history of
colonialism, given the power relations that
dictated the first and many subsequent
transcriptions of Native American texts into
phonic writing. The post-conquest
imposition of castellano in the service of the
state which controlled official history
relegated orally-transmitted cultures to an
inferior category outside the lettered city.
The first grammars and dictionaries of native
languages were instruments in the work of
conversion. In the nineteenth century
transcription of native languages fell into the
hands of foreigners, given the lack of interest
among the lettered classes; thus, for instance,
Europeans disputed the grammar and
transcription of the Quechua alphabet. In
the last century, the evangelical work of the
Summer Institute of Linguistics imposed
ideological preference; it is interesting that
the Zapotec dictionary it published was
addressed to the needs of three groups: the
indigenous needing to learn Spanish; the
official who needs to know the language;
and thirdly, linguists and anthropologists.
There is no mention of any cultural
production by the Zapotecs themselves.
Initially writing was encouraged because of
the need to preserve culture that was in
danger of being eroded or lost because of
emigration and dispersal. The tzotzil writer,
Pérez Fernández, states that one of the great
preoccupations of the elders and leaders of
the communities is that most of our customs,
traditions and ancestral knowledge are being
lost too rapidly. But there is also a new
writing that goes beyond the transmission of
traditions to explore the indigenous
experience within modernity. In Mexico,
thanks to the labor of non-indigenous
intellectuals, especially the poets Carlos
Montemayor and Jaimes Sabines, careful
attention has been paid to the transcription
of indigenous languages into phonetic script.
Montemayor’s anthology La voz profunda
which has been published in a bilingual
edition in Spanish and indigenous languages
included essays, poems and stories
1
.
Because of the extraordinary variety of
indigenous languages, I will focus two of the
most prolific: zapotec literature in Mexico
and literature in mapudungun in Chile, both
of which are rooted in a history of resistance
to the state.
The zapotec spoken in the Isthmus of
Tehuantepec is the only indigenous language
of Mexico to have a substantial modern
literary tradition, thanks in part to its
political history. Juchitlan, its regional
capital, is a city with a history of rebellion
that goes back to the fight against Aztec
domination and it has a modern indigenous
intellectual tradition dating back to the
twenties and thirties when a group of
intellectuals living in Mexico, most notably
Andrés Henestrosa, wrote some of their
work in zapotec. But the contemporary
renaissance surely dates from the political
movement of the 1980s. In 1981, the
Coalition of Workers, Peasants and Students
of the Isthmus (COCEI) put into practice
self-government and cultural revival. In its
two years in office before being dismissed by
the central government in 1983, an action
that was met by widespread protest, COCEI
supported a literacy campaign, a radio
station, publications and a bookstore. The
zapotec language became the preferred mode
of communication, even among some non-
indigenous citizens. Its policy exemplified,
according to Jeffrey Rubin, what
postcolonial development might have looked
like if indigenous and Western cultures had
met on more equal terms, not necessarily a
rejection of the Western or the modern nor a
reinforcing of geographical and cultural
borders between local and outside, but
rather a creation of multiple modernities by
means of non-Western knowledge and style
2
.
Thus even before the Zapatista army
emerged from the Lacandon jungle in 1994
and addressed meetings in six indigenous
languages, COCEI had already adopted the
zapotec language at its meetings, using the
customs and adornments of zapotec ritual
and drawing on the historical memory of
past rebellions. The journal, Guchach Reza
often illustrated by the painter, Francisco
Toledo and his friends, brought together
zapotec writing with critical writing by
foreign intellectuals, an important
consideration when taking into account the
often restricted notion of indigenous
cultures.
Victor de la Cruz, a zapotec poet and editor
of the 1983 anthology, Flor de la palabra
(Flower of the Word), was well aware of the
difficulties of anthologizing a literature that
had not yet been recognized as such. In one
of his best-known poems, Tu laanu. Tu lanu
(Who are we? What is our name?), he
represents writing as a form of alienation, as
an empty house in which there is no listener
and therefore no presence. The word on
paper cannot reproduce voice. “Why does
one write on paper/ Instead of on the
earth?” the poet asks. “Whence came this
paper that imprison our word/ the word our
fathers carved on stones/that they sang in the
night when they danced?” Describing
writing as a second language which kills the
native tongue, he ends the poem by asking
again, “Who are we? What is our name?”
What Victor de la Cruz underscores is that
the community cannot be present in writing
as it is in orally transmitted cultures. This
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
26
divided self is, not surprisingly, a feature of
much indigenous poetry. The Yucatecan
Maya poet, Briceida Cueva Cob in a poem
with the title Yan a bin xook (You will go to
school), while accepting schooling finds her
true reflection in the family hearth where the
burning fire mirrors her true self. The verse
“You will cross the threshold of your
imagination/ and go into your own house/
without having to knock on the door”
suggests the radical difference between the
society which the girl needs a permit to enter
and the true self reflected in the native
hearth.
Like zapotec writing, the writing of the
mapuche poets in Chile has been strongly
influenced by the militant resistance to the
state which has persistently denied the
indigenous component of the nation. In the
1940s when Pablo Neruda tried to found a
literary journal using the name Araucania
(the old name for mapuche territory), he was
ordered to change the title. The Pinochet
government revoked mapuche land rights
and at the present time there is militant
resistance to government licensed dam
projects which affect the environment. As
recently as 1992 when Chile was represented
at the World Fair in Seville by a dazzling
iceberg, the country emphasizes its whiteness
as if the indigenous did not exist. Textbooks
mention their subjugation in the nineteenth
century but tend to ignore their recent
history, as if to assume their absorption into
the modern state. Yet over a million people
identify themselves as mapuche and half of
them live in urban areas. Because they have
been under attack and removed from their
lands, their identity is constantly being
renegotiated so that what constitutes the
mapuche self (Mapuchengen) is defined in
many different ways and can be quite
volatile. In 1993 the state passed an
indigenous law which demanded proof of
mapuche identity for land claims, thus
placing bureaucratic criteria on a people
who identified themselves as belonging to a
particular place or as participating in
particular rituals but not necessarily
according to purely racial criteria.
The mapuches represent a challenge to the
state for several reasons—because of their
language, their social organization and their
land claims. “Mapu” means land and “che”
people and they see as their prime mission
the defense of the environment. Their
language is mapudungun (or
mapuchezungun). Their basic political unit
is headed by the lonko (the political leader
of the community) and the machi, the
religious leader, who is often a woman who
performs healing rituals and conducts the
ceremonial life of the community. But in
today’s world the mapuche increasingly use
modern means of communication, especially
radio which serves as a way of disseminating
mapudungun and, of course, the Internet.
Mapuche poetry often addresses the long
resistance of the mapuches to the Spaniards
and the Chilean state, the loss and recovery
of language and memory after the wars of
extermination and the sense of mutilation
and loss that comes with the transfer of
voice into writing. One of the best known
mapuche writers, Elicura Chihuailaf, in his
Confidential Message to the Chilean people
which is part memoir, part history and part
political tract, writes of Nvtram, the art of
speech linked to historical memory. He
describes mapudungun poetry as being
between dream and memory—dream being
an important element of mapuche culture.
The machi (male or female) intervenes
between the visible and invisible world and
along with the lonko or Genpin Alonko, the
possessor of speech, is the central figure in
the community. Chihauilaf describes himself
as an oralitor, underscoring the dual nature
of his mission to link oral tradition and
written communication and to recognize a
brotherhood of world literature while
bearing the responsibility of a marginalized
people. The poet and musician Leonel
Lienlaf in an interview described writing in
mapudungun as a political challenge
“…because we cannot forget that thanks to
writing they seized our lands and deceived
us. For us, for mapuche culture, the writing
process is a two-edged sword... My work is
an eighty percent turn towards orality. For
this reason, my publications have less to do
with books than with oral spaces for
collective development. The development of
my poetry has to do with the collectivity.
For this reason too documentaries have been
part of my work for they have to do with
orality. Poetry only exists inasmuch as
words can be shared
3
.” He goes on to
underscore that territoriality is not only the
land we see and inhabit but the spirit that
inhabits it. Mapuche poetry often evokes
past struggles as well as the foundation myth
that recounts the primordial struggle
between the mountain, Tren Tren, and Kai
Kai, the hostile oceanic force. One of the
great contemporary poems, “i” (Song),
transposes this legend into an account of her
personal journey from inheriting a broken
tradition to her becoming a machi. The
poem is not written in mapudugun but code
switches between chedungun (a variant of
mapudungun spoken in the Huilliche region)
and Spanish. The mixture of language,
according to one critic, demonstrates the
impossibility of speaking a single
language...and implies readers who are
willing to inhabit this plural space.
If I have stressed zapotec and mapudungun,
it is because these languages have been
effective in reaching beyond the community
while remaining true to their history and
preoccupations. Nowadays, thanks to the
Internet, even the smallest linguistic
community can reach an international
public. The inequality that had forced the
marginalization of orally transmitted
cultures is being erased not only by the
FRANCO continued…
27
transcription of languages into phonetic
script but by technologies that have given a
new lease of life to orally transmitted
culture.
Endnotes
1
There is a bilingual edition in English and
indigenous languages: Words of the True
People, Carlos Montemayor and Donald
Frischmann, eds. (Austin, Texas: 2004)
2
Jeffrey Rubin, Decentering the Regime.
Ethnicity, Radicalism and Democracy in
Juchitlan, Mexico (Durham: Duke University
Press, 1997), 1
3
Both these poets are included in an anthology
in English translation compiled by Cecilia
Vicua and translated by John Bierhorst. See
Ul: Four Mapuche Poets (Pittsburgh: Latin
American Literary Review Press, 1998)
Inscriptions of Inequality in Latin American
Literary and Cultural Studies
by IDELBER AVELAR
Tulane University
iavelar@tcs.tulane.edu
One can speak today—let us see for how
long—of inequality as something that has
actually been going down in parts of Latin
America. The most impressive figure may be
the 33 percent of all poor Brazilian families
who have risen to the middle class since
Lula’s inauguration in 2003. Precarious as
all literacy numbers tend to be, Venezuela’s
and Bolivia’s nominal reduction of their
illiteracy rates to zero deserves to be
celebrated. According to Venezuela’s
National Institute of Statistics, 50.5 percent
of Venezuelans lived below the poverty line
in 1999. By 2007, that number was down
to 31.5 percent. The relationship established
with national patrimony by countries such as
Ecuador, Bolivia, and more recently
Paraguay has at least stopped the bleeding of
decades-long transfers of wealth from the
poor to the rich. All of these governments
have their problems and some—like
Chávez’s—display unmistakably
authoritarian features. But the gains are also
real.
Recent years have made visible the extent of
the devastation left by the processes
euphemistically designated as neoliberalism
or privatization. What stares the analyst in
the face is not the modest gains of recent
center-left governments, but the depth of the
destruction caused by the defunding of the
public sector and the deregulation of private
businesses after the 1980s. Education,
culture, and literature are measures of how
pervasive the onslaught was. When you
look at how Brazil’s federal university system
was treated by Fernando Henrique
Cardoso’s government—no expansion in the
student body took place and faculty did not
have any nominal raises between 1995 and
2002—you begin to get a sense of how
damaging the privatization period was to
education. Even in FHC’s more socially
conscious version—as opposed to, say,
Menem’s wholesale liquidation of Argentina
or Fujimori’s ransacking of Peru—
privatization included an explicit attack on
the concept of education as a common good
that a society may choose to provide to all
its members.
Privatization also affected cultural policy and
Latin American Cultural Studies produced
what was perhaps the definitive critical
reflection on its consequences, George
Yúdice’s The Expediency of Culture (2002).
Yúdice’s study notes how culture has
acquired a ubiquitous role as mediator, one
whose “conservative” or “emancipatory”
character is determined through complex
social interactions. The Expediency of
Culture is also representative of a
phenomenon specific of the past decade: the
trilingual publication of scholarship in
Spanish America, the United States and
Brazil, an editorial trend that has made of
“Latin American Cultural and Literary
Studies” something quite distinct from what
it was a decade ago. It has established a
dialogue in terms more horizontal than those
viable back when some subfields in the
United States were dominated by the anxiety
over their own privileged position vis-à-vis
the continent they studied. Other instances
of this welcome editorial development are
Sylvia Molloy’s At Face Value:
Autobiographical Writing in Spanish
America (1991), Fondo de Cultura
Económica, 2001, Argos, 2004; Doris
Sommer’s Foundational Fictions (1993),
Fondo, 2004, UFMG, 2004; Julio Ramos’s
Desencuentros de la modernidad en
América Latina, 1989 Spanish edition
translated at Duke (1999) and UFMG
(2008); my own Untimely Present (1999),
Cuarto Propio, 2000, UFMG, 2003; and
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Josefina Ludmer’s El cuerpo del delito: Un
manual (1999), Pittsburgh, 2004, UFMG,
2002, among others.
Auspiciously, this has not been a one-way
road in which only books by U.S.-based
scholars get disseminated. Works by Nelly
Richard, Beatriz Sarlo, Néstor García
Canclini, Gonzalo Aguilar, and other
Spanish America-based scholars have also
appeared in English and Portuguese, while
Brazilians Roberto Schwarz, Silviano
Santiago, and Flora Süssekind have seen
their work appear in Spanish and English.
As visible above, a notable place here
belongs to the Federal University of Minas
Gerais Press, which has brought much
English- and Spanish-language Latin
American Cultural Studies scholarship into
Portuguese (along with Argos, which has
published, in addition to Molloy, other
leading essayists such as Graciela Montaldo).
These editorial events should not go
unrecorded when one assesses the state of
the discipline in the United States and
discusses, for example, how to “incorporate
Brazil into Latin American Studies.” But the
fact is that they do. No matter how
horizontal certain dialogues may have
become, some neocolonial habits die hard.
I believe most colleagues would agree that in
the United States the discipline has not been
dominated by one set of debates such as
those that revolved around testimonio vs.
literature, mestizaje vs. transculturation vs.
hybridity, or Subaltern vs. Cultural Studies.
This is certainly a good thing, but it makes
totalizing evaluative efforts difficult, perhaps
futile. At any rate, I tend to disagree with
apocalyptic assessments of the field, and
among the many works of the past decade
that I find deserving of note, most share an
interesting feature: they tend not to replicate
the ideological gesture of taking a
metacritical stance as a priori lens whose
validity the object would then confirm,
something that was almost a tic in certain
debates of the 1980s and 90s. These studies
tend to be meticulously specific, object-
driven pieces of scholarship, usually
anchored in one or two national traditions
(or in a regional one, e.g. Caribbean, Andes)
rather than in some fiction of “Latin
America.” They are not “anti-theoretical”
at all, but their theoretical concepts tend to
emerge inductively, during, not before the
interpretive act takes place. The ones that
have been particularly inspiring to me
further share the feature of devoting thought
to the relations between “real” (political,
economic) and rhetorical (literary, plastic)
manifestations of inequality.
Jens Andermann’s The Optic of the State:
Visuality and Power in Argentina and Brazil
(2007) moves that debate to an institutional
terrain and shows how at the turn of the 20
th
century those two states constructed a visual
field through museums, cartography, and
other institutions. The museum’s “material
theater of sovereignty” (p.22) assembled
practices related to the scientific project of
the time as well as with state massacres and
expeditions, a link also featured in a
contemporary classic in the field such as
Gabriela Nouzeille’s Ficciones somáticas:
Naturalismo, Nacionalismo y políticas
médicas del cuerpo (Argentina 1880-1910)
(2000). Andermann’s work is also
auspicious in exemplifying a kind of cross-
national collaboration that has become more
common in recent years—in this case, his
sustained dialogue with Álvaro Fernández
Bravo, whose Literatura y frontera: Procesos
de territorialización en las culturas
argentinas y chilena del siglo XIX (1999)
and later articles are key pieces in the
conversation. Some novel things have
happened in this regard, with the appearance
of books by scholars who venture beyond
their national boundaries and end up not
“making a contribution,” but reshaping an
entire subfield in another country. I think of
works such as Argentine Gonzalo Aguilar’s
Poesía concreta brasileña: Las vanguardias
en la encrucijada modernista (2003), a
monumental synthesis that goes far beyond,
I believe, any single study of Concretism
done in Brazil in the past 50 years.
Horacio Legrás’s Literature and Subjection
(2008) will be read in years to come, as its
detailed engagement with novelists such as
Juan José Saer and Roa Bastos demonstrates
that the only Subaltern Studies that literature
may be able to offer is the mapping of the
rhetoric of subalternization; in that sense it
makes a nice counterpoint to John Beverley’s
Subalternity and Representation (1999),
which synthesized a previous way of
thinking about those problems in Latin
American Cultural Studies. Legrás’s book is
also a healthy reminder that the effects of
transculturation are never reducible to its
uses by economic and political elites (p. 18),
a premise that makes possible a less stifling,
more open field of inquiry than the one
allowed by the tired discussions over which
concept (mestizaje, transculturation,
hybridity, etc.) to privilege in interpreting
cultural exchanges.
In Gender Studies, both the documentation
of exclusion—be it of women or gay or
lesbian or transgendered subjects—and the
mapping of transgressive gestures by the
excluded coexist with more multifaceted
readings, where the normalizing /
conservative or emancipatory / liberating
components of gender practices are not given
in advance. Jean Franco and Sylvia Molloy,
especially, have made that qualitative leap
possible, by leaving legacies of engagements
with the gendering of Latin American
lettered culture that are both inspired by
social justice and attentive to the intricacies
of the literary text. (Molloy’s foremost
contribution to that legacy in the past decade
may well have been her novel El común
olvido, an implacable staging of a masculine
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voice.) At least two generations of Latin
American(ist) feminists, from Nelly Richard
to Mary Louise Pratt, from Ileana Rodríguez
to Kathleen Newman, have continued that
work. In the past decade, some of the
important landmarks in Gender Studies have
been Licia Fiol-Matta’s study of Gabriela
Mistral, A Queer Mother for the Nation
(2002), the collective Chicana Feminisms
(2003), Juana María Rodríguez’s powerful
Queer Latinidad (2003) and Arnaldo Cruz-
Malavé’s always sophisticated readings, as in
his Queer Latino Testimonio (2007) or in
his volume coedited with Martin
Malalansan, Queer Globalizations (2002).
To the field delimited by luminaries such as
Franco and Molloy, younger scholars such as
José Quiroga and Robert Irwin have added
indispensable books. Again, it is notable
how nationally grounded they have tended
to be. In Quiroga’s Cuban Palimpsests
(2005), gender is a realm where highly
unique struggles around Cuban identity,
culture, and politics take place. Likewise,
Irwin’s Mexican Masculinities (2003) tackles
issues around borders, not only the
geographical one, but also those separating,
for example, homo- from heteroeroticism.
They manifest themselves in rather specific
forms in Mexico, due not only to its location
but also to the singularity of its
revolutionary process. Other landmarks in
Queer Studies, going back to Jorge Salessi’s
contemporary classic Médicos, maleantes y
maricas (1995), include Daniel Balderston’s
mapping of homosexuality in literature in a
host of essays and edited volumes, and in his
Deseo, cicatriz luminosa: Ensayos sobre
homosexualidades latinoamericanas (2004).
Important works in masculinity / gay studies
have also been done for the Colonial
period—see Pete Sigal’s edited volume
Infamous Desire: Male Homosexuality in
Colonial Latin America as the inquiry
around gender goes through as interesting a
moment now as any it had earlier enjoyed.
Presses such as Argentina’s Feminaria and
Chile’s Cuarto Propio, as well as journals
such as Mexico’s Fem, have attested to the
continuous vitality of feminist scholarship in
Latin America.
About Early Modern Studies I am less
equipped to opine, but in conversations with
colleagues such as John Charles, whose own
monograph on Andean appropriations of
literacy will give a lot of food for thought
when it comes out, I sense that the best
recent studies have also displayed the same
geographical and historical embeddedness, as
opposed to more ideological (pan-indigenist,
pan-Latin Americanist or Third Worldist)
gestures. Colonial Studies can only be
“political” if it is, first, rigorous in its
historiography and meticulously grounded in
its object. Again with the caveat that I am a
distant, lay observer when it comes to Early
Modern Studies, my sense is that this
awareness is now more solidly established in
the field than it had been in a recent past.
A few questions have stood out in
monographic studies of modern literature.
Crime, violence, punishment, and exclusion
have represented perhaps the dominant
cluster, as evidenced by excellent books such
as Juan Dabove’s Nightmares of the Lettered
City: Banditry and Literature in Latin
America, 1816-1929 and Glen Close’s
Contemporary Hispanic Crime Fiction: A
Discourse on Urban Violence, both tributary
to a contemporary classic mentioned above,
Josefina Ludmer’s El cuerpo del delito: Un
manual. Ludmer’s is a definitive study of the
historical role that—in Horacio Legrás’s
words—“the aesthetic representation of
crime has come to play in relationship to
both the consolidation of the state and the
emergence of a ‘people’.” What sets it apart
from much previous scholarship is that crime
appears not a theme to be sought and
explained in literature, but as something that
allows literature to become a dispositif, an
operative piece in the real relations between
the state and the body politic. Again, that
process is—as Ludmer would agree—highly
specific to Argentina, due to the role played
by lettered culture in the constitution of the
country’s modern state, unparalleled and
unknown, say, in Brazil or Peru.
Systematically, then, we find much of the
best scholarship on Latin America literature
not necessarily thinking in terms of “Latin
America” at all. Many Area Studies
programs in the United States would do well
to reflect on that fact.
Revisiting the 1960s has inspired good work.
For its sophistication, Diana Sorensen’s A
Turbulent Decade Remembered: Scenes from
the Latin American Sixties (Stanford, 2007)
deserves mention, as it produces what
appeared impossible a few years ago: an
innovative recasting of the Spanish American
boom in ways that replicate neither its
celebratory self-perception nor later critiques
of it. Sorensen accomplishes it with an eye
to the boom’s duplicitous nature as an
experience of decline and inauguration. As
with most good literary criticism, her volume
thoroughly thinks through the relations
between the rhetorical and the social
dimensions. Another set of period studies is
the postdictatorial scholarship on the
Southern Cone nations, the synthesis of
which in the past decade was advanced by
Sandra Lorenzano’s Escrituras de la
sobrevivencia (2001), Saudades (2007), and
Políticas de la memoria (coedited with Ralph
Buchenhorst, 2007), Beatriz Sarlo’s Tiempo
pasado (2005) and Escritos sobre literatura
argentina (2007), and Miguel Dalmaroni’s
La palabra justa. Literatura, crítica y
memoria en Argentina (1960–2002). If we
go back in the period studies to the early 20
th
century, Rubén Gallo’s Mexican Modernity:
The Avant-garde and the Technological
Revolution (2007) certainly deserves a place
of distinction, for its skillful, simultaneous
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handling of aesthetic and historical
questions.
In Critical Race Studies, much has been
written in the past decade, but I would single
out two books: Antonio Risério’s A utopia
brasileira e os movimentos negros (2007)
and Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz’s Escritura
afropuertorriqueña y modernidad (2007).
Risério’s is a powerful challenge to the
importation of binary U.S. racial paradigms
into Brazil, written not from a conservative
standpoint but by an essayist of a lifelong
engagement with black and mestiço Brazilian
cultures. Santiago-Díaz’s monograph on
Afro-Puerto Rican Vieques writer Carmelo
Rodríguez Torres, the most sophisticated
literary analysis of race, diaspora, modernity,
and imperialism I have read in a while,
documents how ellipsis has been at the
center of the literature produced in Vieques’
unique neocolonial conditions.
This is certainly a partial assessment, framed
by my own limits, focus, and preferences,
but it does suggest that the best works in the
field have tended to combine social and
rhetorical questions in dynamic, innovative
ways. In mapping the relations between real
and symbolic dimensions, they have also
tended to share a local character, an object-
driven embeddedness that makes some
earlier—and current—debates on “Latin
America” appear a bit byzantine and
unfruitful.
Perspectivas eco-críticas latinoamericanas
Conocimientos transpuestos recuperados
por ILEANA RODRÍGUEZ
Ohio State University
rodriguez.89@osu.edu
La eco-crítica se define como el estudio de
las relaciones entre la cultura y su medio
ambiente natural y social. El desarrollo de
tal crítica se predica sobre el conocimiento
de que todo está interrelacionado y sobre el
reconocimiento de la relevancia de los
problemas de la representación y
administración de lo natural en relación al
todo social, humano. La eco-crítica pone
primero en escena los textos que hablan de
estos asuntos y luego propone una reflexión
teórica sobre los mismos. Mas, si la eco-
crítica está hoy por hoy relacionada con los
movimientos ambientalistas, las filosofías
holísticas sobre la naturaleza y su relación
con lo social-cultural son de larga raigambre
indígena en la América Latina.
Nadie puede dudar que los estudios críticos
de la cultura latinoamericana siempre han
puesto en escena las relaciones entre lo
humano y lo natural, pero el tenor de los
mismos estudios cambia de ángulo de visión
según las urgencias de época. Yo me
atrevería a decir que los estudios coloniales
primero y los estudios postcoloniales
recientemente pueden bien entenderse dentro
de la rúbrica eco-crítica, como también
pueden bien serlo los estudios sobre la
modernidad latinoamericana y su tránsito
hacia la postmodernidad. Digo esto porque
¿quién no ha oído siquiera hablar del
animismo de las culturas indígenas y quien
no recuerda el arduo trabajo de los
exploradores a principios de los
enfrentamientos euro-americanos en su
denodado esfuerzo primero por recorrer los
paisajes humanos y naturales, y después por
clasificar y controlar las especies que hicieran
primero veedores y oidores y más tarde
naturalistas y geógrafos? ¿Quién que haya
leído los ya clásicos libros de Antonello
Gerbi puede dudar del lugar central que la
naturaleza ocupa en las relaciones
conflictivas entre los europeos y los
americanos? ¿Y qué decir del libro de
Michel Foucault El orden de las cosas que
nos habla de las crisis de las nomenclaturas
europeas en su contacto con las especies
naturales de este continente que vinieron
primero a desordenar y luego a reorganizar
todo el conocimiento europeo precisamente
sobre lo natural? De la misma manera
podemos recordar todos los textos sobre la
pampa, la selva, la llanura, los campos de
caña de azúcar, las bananeras, las
tabacaleras, la explotación del caucho, que
marcaron toda la literatura social de la
modernidad temprana en nuestras incipientes
repúblicas. ¿Y quién puede ignorar, hoy por
hoy, la importancia de la coca en las
literaturas y culturas del presente? El corpus
letrado en su totalidad está marcado por esta
preocupación no llamada eco-crítica pero
que puede bien subsumirse en ella.
Es posible considerar que muchos críticos
culturales, sobre todo aquellos afectos a
aferrarse a las tradiciones imperantes en la
era de las formaciones nacionales,
consideren la eco-crítica como una moda
más de las academias norteamericanas, a
pesar de que los ejemplares trabajos
contemporáneos de bolivianos,
guatemaltecos, y colombianos demuestran lo
contrario. No voy a negar que el sesgo es
diferente, que la eco-crítica está más ligada
al ambientalismo que a la explotación del
trabajo humano, pero eso no quita que el
ímpetu sea el mismo, lo político-social. Y en
esto, los trabajos de los latinoamericanistas
coinciden con los de la eco-crítica en el
análisis de los conflictos y tensiones creados
por la modernidad a nivel de lo natural-
social. Creo que bien podríamos argumentar
que la eco-crítica es una posición contra el
desarrollismo, contra los aspectos negativos
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de la modernidad, contra la destrucción de
medio-ambientes naturales para favorecer las
industrias extractivas, contra el uso y abuso
de las plantas para producir estupefacientes.
El trabajo de Arturo Escobar, para
mencionar sólo uno, es ejemplar en este
aspecto. Mi propio trabajo es de este tenor
puesto que ciertamente pone en escena la
relación entre naturaleza y sociedad,
naturaleza y conocimiento, naturaleza y
política y mis estudios se apoyan en enormes
genealogías conformadoras de grandes
campos disciplinarios.
La eco-crítica nos permite re-evaluar los
diferentes proyectos transcontinentales,
valorar los recursos naturales como recursos
sociales, y evaluar epistemologías alternas,
tal las indígenas y sus contratos culturales
con lo natural. Estas constituyen
paradigmas contrarios a la explotación
irrespetuosa de los recursos naturales. Si se
quiere, con la eco-crítica hay un retorno a
formas animistas del pasado, a tradiciones
pastoriles, virgilianas, que, no obstante,
responden a necesidades humana inherentes,
a mecanismos de admonición y de
supervivencia. Idealizar las comunidades
orgánicas del pasado, relevar lo prístino,
natural, impoluto, responde a imaginarios
sociales inexistentes en lo real pero posibles
a nivel simbólico; son propuestas proféticas,
si se quiere, entendiendo lo profético en el
sentido de Richard Rorty, esto es, un
universo de convicciones fluidas,
herramienta de persuasión, imaginación,
poesía y valor. Lo profético significa
predecir lo que todavía no es y por eso las
nuevas ideas, aunque parezcan irrealizables,
tienen que entrar a formar parte del debate
público y persuadir. Los movimientos
liberadores son atractivos no precisamente
por sus exactitudes de diagnóstico sino por
su imaginación, el valor de sus propuestas, y
el asumir que el espacio público es flexible.
Ideas opuestas al sentido común constituyen
el locus de lo profético, esto es, el lugar de
posibilidades no realizadas cuya fuerza
radica en crear nuevos lenguajes, lógicas,
tradiciones—utópicas por el momento en la
medida que sólo existen en la imaginación.
El envés de estos imaginarios es apocalíptico
y profetiza el fin del planeta—holocaustos
nucleares, calentamientos globales,
contaminaciones sin retroceso, destrucción
de capas de ozono, lluvias ácidas, tierras
yermas, aguas contaminadas, especies en
extinción, uso de alimentos como
combustible. Por eso las diferentes
disciplinas vuelven a la idea del respeto a la
tierra, a la madre naturaleza, y proponen un
desarrollo respetuoso. Así lo vemos en las
escuelas que hablan de desarrollos
alternativos, de modernidades periféricas, de
las tensiones de la modernidad.
Mi trabajo ciertamente bordea los marcos de
tal crítica. En mi libro, Transatlantic
Topographies, la naturaleza es la
protagonista principal en la medida que es
su apreciación, la interrelación que los
procesos culturales tienen con ella, lo que va
moldeando las formaciones sociales. La
tierra, la naturaleza, los recursos naturales,
ciertamente constituyen el trasfondo que
apoya las formaciones sociales coloniales y
modernas. Cuando yo emprendí esta
investigación, mi propósito era justamente
replantearme no sólo una visión y una
representación sobre la naturaleza sino una
manera de articular las visiones y las
representaciones específicamente culturales a
los proyectos de investigación y desarrollo
que habían empezado desde los primeros
conflictos globales que se suscitaron a partir
de la llegada de los españoles primero y
después de los europeos al continente
americano. Propuse ahí que la idea moderna
de la naturaleza siempre significó un
movimiento que se alejaba de la noción ‘de
lo natural’ hacia significados económicos—
explotación, extracción, acumulación
primaria de capital, desarrollo. Desde el
principio de las confrontaciones euro-
americanas, la naturaleza deviene empresa,
frontera, en el sentido inglés de la palabra,
esto es, tierra virgen, tierra de nadie, libre de
explorar. Por eso propongo que los
documentos primarios y secundarios de la
colonización constituyen genealogías de los
proyectos de investigación para el desarrollo
que podemos leer en las universidades y
agencias que propician tales empeños.
Este proyecto me enseñó a ver la naturaleza
desde una multitud de articulaciones. Pude
constatar la importancia que la tierra/lo
natural tenía para la cultura en general.
Aprendí cómo la guerra obstruye la
producción de alimentos y cómo la
destrucción de la tierra y la alteración de los
ciclos de producción y el cambio en el tipo
de cosechas es central al proyecto de
subyugación colonial. El hambre es pues
una manera de subyugar. Imposible no ligar
esta idea con la producción de etanol en el
presente y el uso del maíz con propósitos
energéticos. Cómo no ver la producción de
distopías culturales, ciencia ficción en la que
alimentar máquinas es primario y antecede
la alimentación de las personas. Y cómo no
articular estas ideas distópicas a las de
Miguel Ángel Asturias y su personaje
Machojón, quien, en un arranque de
desesperación quema sus campos de maíz.
Y en mi nuevo libro, The Limits of
Liberalism, uno de los momentos cruciales
del debate sobre estas filosofías ecológicas es
la discusión sobre ‘culturas milenarias’ y
‘creencias’ que emprende Rigoberta Menchú
y ante las cuales uno entra de lleno en esos
diálogos postergados y conocimientos
despreciados, como bien viene
argumentando desde hace tiempo Walter
Mignolo. Y ¿no es acaso Menchú quien
informa que los ambientalistas les han
robado sus ideas sin darles crédito? ¿No es
ella acaso la que pone en escena la exclusión
indígena de los movimientos mundiales en
aras de la salvación del planeta? Hay
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32
segmentos de su texto, Rigoberta, la nieta de
los Mayas, que son directamente útiles a la
eco-crítica. Por ejemplo cuando habla de su
madre. El signo madre, en ella, significa
entidades biológicas y culturales, vehículo
que acarrea el sentido de la cultura
milenaria. La madre de Rigoberta es
partera, curandera, vidente. Conocía el xew’
xew que curaba dolores, los tiernos tallos de
las hojas del chilacayote que curaban las
heridas de los pies causadas por el lodo, el
k’a q’ eyes que curaba los resfríos, el saq
ixoqto para los dolores de estómago
causados por el hambre. La naturaleza era
para ella un texto donde leía signos tales
como la fortaleza de los vientos, el sonido de
los animales, su presencia en lugares
inesperados, el movimiento del tiempo, la luz
y la oscuridad. Entendía el canto de los
pájaros, y por eso supo predecir la muerte de
su hijo Patrocinio. Ella vivía en Chimel,
lugar mágico, encantado, tierra rica en toda
variedad de árboles, pájaros, flores, un
bosque de nubes, los pulmones del planeta.
Cuando leo a Rigoberta, pongo en
perspectiva las habilidades del rastreador en
Sarmiento, que siempre me fascinó con su
magia detectivesca que ahora encuentro
estaba relacionada a la lectura de lo natural,
al rastro dejado en los caminos, de ahí su
nombre de rastreador. Ya no digamos el
relato de Don Segundo Sombra,
conocimiento de lo natural en el momento
de su desvanecimiento en lo lírico al ser
absorbido por lo industrial.
El trabajo de naturalistas y geógrafos que
recorren a pie las llanuras con sus
instrumentos de medir inmensidades, de
contar, de almacenar, de clasificar, de
interceptar y tratar de domeñar lo natural
encanta. La lectura de Rápido Tránsito de
José Coronel Urtecho nos pone al tanto de
todos estos viajeros que recorrían el río San
Juan en busca de la manera más expedita de
atravesar el continente lado a lado y cómo,
en su travesía, se iban maravillando ante el
silencio cautivo de lo natural. El verdor
convertía de nuevo el proyecto de desarrollo
en paisaje, en literatura, al desembocar en el
gran lago, lago de tiburones de agua dulce, a
poca distancia del océano, casi
estrangulando la cintura de América y
convirtiéndola en pasaje natural—ahora
totalmente poluto. Los niños de Nicaragua
aprenden que su geografía es su historia y la
historia natural, su historia social.
De la misma manera podríamos hablar, con
escritores, poetas, ensayistas y desarrollistas
sobre las otras regiones de América. Por
ejemplo, podríamos hablar con los
agrimensores y poetas Euclides de Cuna y
Wilson Harris sobre la inmensidad pasmosa
de la amazonía. Sitio archi-explorado, lugar
de tránsito de todo investigador, de todo
desarrollista. Libros como The Fate of the
Forest nos hablan de los desarrollos fallidos.
Y toda la literatura de fronteras termina en
sus orillas, José Eustacio Rivera y Rómulo
Gallegos en Venezuela, Vargas Llosa en el
Perú, Wilson Harris en Guyana. La selva es
un gran tropo literario, desarrollista y
medioambientalista. En sus bordes termina
la sabana, la civilización, y empieza lo
desconocido, primero y último día de la
creación según el novelista cubano Alejo
Carpentier, punto de cambio y lugar de
límite de las ambiciones de la familia
Rockefeller.
Y así podríamos hablar no sólo de lo que se
ve y se mide sino de lo que se come, el
banano, la fruta más limpia puesto que la
envuelve su propia cáscara, el azúcar, para
Sidney Mintz, la gran contribución de
América a Europa—energía para
trabajadores y soldados. Para ya no hablar
de la coca, la hoja milagrosa, que cura,
calma, embriaga, enloquece, produce gran
acumulación de capital y grandes cambios en
la articulación de los grupos de poder. Con
ella rigiendo al centro de las narrativas de
acumulación de capital y criminalidad hoy,
cerramos este artículo. Para la perspicaz
analista cultural, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, la
hoja de coca no es droga, no es cocaína—los
indígenas de Arguedas y Alegría la mascan
sin cesar para descansar y calmarse. Para los
testimonialistas y novelistas colombianos,
como Alfredo Molano y Fernando Vallejos,
la cocaína envenena los cuerpos—de las
mulas que las cargan en sus estómagos, de
los que la absorben por la nariz. La coca
corrompe gobiernos, transforma a los niños
en sicarios matones, traspasa fronteras y
produce toneladas de documentación.
Digamos, para terminar, que si la eco-crítica
está íntimamente asociada a los movimientos
ambientalistas en los países ricos, en
América Latina está asociada a la
colonización y a la modernización, a la
explotación y a la opresión. En América
Latina, los recursos naturales, sean tierra,
paisaje, cultivo, o explotación y opresión
han sido tropo fundamental de lo cultural
pero su énfasis no ha recaído en la
protección de la naturaleza solamente sino
también y muy particularmente en la
protección de lo humano.
Referencias
Escobar, Arturo
1995 Encountering Development: The Making
and Unmaking of the Third World.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press.
González Echevarría, Roberto
1990 Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin
American Narrative. Cambridge; New
York: Cambridge University Press
RODRÍGUEZ continued…
33
Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia
n.d. “Una mercancía indígena y sus paradojas:
La hoja de coca en tiempos de
globalización”
<http://www.cocasoberania.org/mercancia
_indigena_y_sus_paradojas.pdf>;
“Celebración de la hoja de coca”
<http://www.lostiempos.com/noticias/31-
10-06/31_10_06_pv4.php>.
Hecht, Susana and Alexander Cockburn
1989 The Fate of the Forest: Developers,
Destroyers, and Defenders of the
Amazon. London: New York, N.Y.:
Verso.
Gerbi, Antonello
c.1985Nature in the New World: From
Christopher Columbus to Gonzalo
Fernández de Oviedo. Jeremy Moyle (tr).
Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh
Press
1973 The Dispute of the New World: The
History of a Polemic, 1750-1900.
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Foucault, Michel
1970 The Order of Things: An Archaeology of
the Human Sciences. New York:
Pantheon Books.
Rodríguez, Ileana
2004 Transatlantic Topographies: Islands,
Highlands, Jungle. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press.
2009 Liberalism at its Limits: Crime and Terror
in the Latin American Cultural Text.
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Rorty, Richard
1998 Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1998.
Vallejo, Fernando
1999 La Virgen de los Sicarios. México:
Alfaguara, 1999.
Molano, Alfredo
2004 Loyal Soldiers in the Cocaine Kingdom:
Tales of Drugs, Mules, and Gunmen.
James Graham (tr). New York: Columbia
University Press.
Menchú, Rigoberta
1998 Rigoberta, la nieta de los Mayas.
Madrid: El País-Aguilar.
Mignolo, Walter
2000 Local Histories, Global Designs:
Coloniality, Subaltern Kowledges, and
Border Thinking. Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton UP, 2000.
Urtecho, José Coronel
1972 Rápido Tránsito. San José, Costa Rica:
Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana,
EDUCA.
Mintz, Sidney Wilfred
1985 Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar
in Modern History. New York, N.Y.:
Viking.
¿Existe un giro neoconservador en
Latinoamérica hoy?
por JOHN BEVERLEY
University of Pittsburgh
brq@pitt.edu
Se habla mucho estos días del retorno de lo
político. Conjuntamente de la necesidad de
un cambio de paradigma que pone
nuevamente el énfasis en el estado en vez de
la sociedad civil y los movimientos sociales.
Esto es en parte porque, en casos como
Bolivia o Venezuela, los movimientos
sociales se han vuelto el estado (para pedir
prestada una frase de Ernesto Laclau), o se
están prestando activamente a proyectos
políticos para ganar el poder de estado.
Pero este retorno de lo político también trae
en su secuela una serie de nuevas preguntas e
incertidumbres. En particular, quiero sugerir
aquí que en la actualidad se está
produciendo un giro neoconservador en el
pensamiento socio-cultural latinoamericano
que busca intervenir en esta nueva
coyuntura. Este giro es doblemente
paradójico: primero, porque ocurre en el
contexto del resurgimiento de la izquierda
latinoamericana en los últimos años;
segundo, porque se manifiesta
principalmente desde la izquierda.
La idea de un giro neoconservador, y el
concepto en si, se refieren a historia
conocida en los Estados Unidos que lleva a
un grupo de intelectuales desde la izquierda
eventualmente a una posición de apoyo para
Reagan y sus seguidores en el partido
Republicano. Ser “neo”conservador
entonces implica que no eran conservadores
inicialmente—eran liberales, social
demócratas, trotskistas, aun en algunos
casos estalinistas. Son “nuevos”
conservadores como los “nuevos cristianos”
del siglo XVI en España, sin el elemento de
coerción.
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El giro neoconservador en Estados Unidos
aparece inicialmente sobre todo como una
crítica generalizada de la Nueva Izquierda y
la contra-cultura de los sesenta, y de las
nuevas formas de “identity politics” como el
feminismo o los movimientos de afirmación
étnica. Similarmente, implícita en el giro
neoconservador latinoamericano hay una
variante de la distinción ya bastante
difundida entre izquierda respetable e
izquierda “retrograda”, para usar la
caracterización de Jorge Castañeda
(“Morning in Latin America,” Foreign
Affairs, September/October 2008). En Chile
o Brasil, la izquierda respetable está en el
poder. Pero en Argentina, Bolivia, o
Venezuela la izquierda “respetable” forma a
veces parte de la oposición política a los
gobiernos de la izquierda “retrograda” en el
poder.
La pregunta subyacente es por lo tanto sobre
la naturaleza de lo que se ha entendido
convencionalmente como “izquierda”. En
otras palabras, la “izquierda” intelectual
tradicional en América Latina hoy, o una
parte significativa de ella, ¿sigue siendo de
izquierda? ¿O se está volviendo como en el
caso norteamericano una especie nueva
derecha?
Para comenzar una respuesta, sería útil hacer
una distinción entre neoconservadurismo y
neoliberalismo, una distinción banal pero
quizás necesaria, ya que estas posiciones a
menudo se desdibujan entre si. Los
neoliberales creen en la eficacia del mercado
libre y en un modelo utilitario de agencia
humana, basado en la maximización de la
ganancia y la minimización de la pérdida.
Como se sabe, el neoliberalismo en principio
no propone otra jerarquía de valor a más
que el deseo del consumidor en si y la
efectividad del mercado libre y la democracia
formal como mecanismos para ejercitar la
libertad de elección. Esta desjerarquización
implícita en la teoría neoliberal entraña por
lo tanto un fuerte desafío a la autoridad de
las élites intelectuales tradicionales para
determinar los estándares de valor cultural.
Por contraste, los neoconservadores sí creen
que hay una jerarquía de valores
epistemológicos, estéticos y morales imbuida
en la formas de la alta cultura y las
disciplinas académicas—una jerarquía
vinculada esencialmente al paradigma de la
Ilustración. Piensan que es importante
defender e impartir esos valores pedagógica
y críticamente contra la fuerza
desterritorializadora de la sociedad de
mercado y la globalización. Este papel
requiere de la autoridad del intelectual
tradicional, en el sentido que Gramsci le da
al concepto—es decir, el intelectual que
habla en nombre de lo universal y que opera
en la universidad y el mundo del arte y la
cultura, y en el debate de las ideas en la
esfera pública.
Con afán ilustrativo podríamos decir en un
contexto latinoamericano que los Vargas
Llosa (padre e hijo) o los así llamados
escritores “McOndo” o Manifiesto Crack, o
la tendencia en los estudios culturales que
pone primordialmente el énfasis en las
operaciones del mercado de bienes
culturales, o la mencionada celebración de la
“sociedad civil” en sectores de las ciencias
sociales (incluyendo a veces los estudios
subalternos), constituyen una aceptación,
implícita o explícita, de una posición
neoliberal. Pero esas tendencias—y otras
que se relacionan con ellas—son algo
diferente del giro neoconservador. En cierto
sentido el giro neoconservador está dirigido
contra estas tendencias de la teoría social y
cultural, que tendían a dominar la escena en
el período anterior. Usando una conocida
distinción de Raymond Williams, podríamos
decir que el neoliberalismo es la tendencia
residual y que el neoconservadurismo es, o
está tratando de ser, la tendencia emergente
en el pensamiento socio-cultural en
Latinoamérica. Surge precisamente en el
momento en que el neoliberalismo ha
perdido su hegemonía como ideología.
Se pueden vislumbrar elementos de una
posición neoconservadora en, por ejemplo,
las posiciones actuales de Beatriz Sarlo, uno
de los intelectuales públicos más importantes
de Argentina. He hecho referencia antes a
Jorge Castañeda. También podría sugerir
los casos de Sergio Ramírez en Nicaragua,
Elizabeth Burgos y Teodoro Petkoff en
Venezuela, o (en ciertas formulaciones)
Héctor Aguilar Camín en México. (El
modelo del intelectual neoconservador en
América Latina de otra generación es
Octavio Paz). Pero no hay espacio aquí
para considerar casos particulares. Y, por
supuesto, existen variantes de lo que
denomino aquí el giro neoconservador en
cada país de América Latina. Generalmente,
esas variantes expresan una especie de
pliegue o escisión dentro del campo
intelectual de la izquierda. Consciente del
peligro de generalizar demasiado, porque es
evidente que hay marcadas diferencias de
situación y posiciones involucradas, me
atrevo a sugerir seis temas entrecruzados que
caracterizan el giro neoconservador:
1) Un rechazo generalizado a la autoridad—
la “razón subjetiva”, según la fórmula de
Sarlo—de una “voz” y experiencia
subalterna o popular. Relacionado con
esto, un escepticismo frente no sólo a las
políticas identitarias multiculturales sino
también ante las nuevas formas y sujetos
de protagonismo popular informal, como
las turbas chavistas, o los cocaleros de
Evo Morales, o los piqueteros, o los
comuneros mapuches en Chile. La idea
subyacente es que los nuevos gobiernos
neo-populistas de la izquierda
“retrograda” movilizan esta “razón
subjetiva” de una forma demagógica y
aventurista.
BEVERLEY continued…
35
2) Una defensa del académico, el artista
profesional, o el escritor-crítico y de sus
procedimientos metodológicos y su
función cívica-pedagógica. Involucrado
en esta defensa hay el auto-
reconocimiento de una generación de
intelectuales y profesionales de izquierda
que asumieron riesgos considerables
durante tiempos difíciles en sus
respectivos países, pero que ahora están
en proceso de ser desplazados por nuevas
fuerzas políticas y actores más jóvenes.
En lugar de identificarse con estos nuevos
actores, que muchas veces no provienen
de la clase intelectual (o, como en el caso
de Álvaro García Liñera en Bolivia o
Marcos en México, se salen de esa clase),
el giro neoconservador los ve sin
simpatía, como si les faltara legitimidad,
o como si de algún modo fueran
demasiado ingenuos.
3) A pesar del rechazo explícito o implícito
de las políticas identitarias, se reafirma
paradójicamente una posicionalidad
“criolla” latinoamericana contrapuesta a
lo que es percibido como el carácter
“anglo” de las nuevas modalidades de la
teoría postmoderna. Este énfasis en “lo
nuestro” o lo “local” hace del giro
neoconservador una variante del
Arielismo: el supuesto de que los valores
y la identidad cultural de Latinoamérica
están vinculados de una manera
especialmente significativa a su expresión
literaria y artística.
4) Una resistencia notable a reconocer las
demandas de autonomía y las nuevas
formas de agencia desarrolladas por los
movimientos identitarios indígenas o
afro-latinos, o de las mujeres y las
minorías sexuales—movimientos que de
una forma u otra involucran aspectos de
lo que Aníbal Quijano ha llamado la
“colonialidad del poder” en América
Latina. Se trata en cierto sentido de un
enfrentamiento de intelectuales y artistas
tradicionales e intelectuales orgánicos de
los movimientos sociales.
5) Un rechazo general del proyecto de la
izquierda latinoamericana de los años 60
y 70, y en especial (pero no sólo) de la
lucha armada, a favor de una posición
política más cautelosa, con la advertencia
de que una equivocación “voluntarista”
similar acecha en el corazón de las nuevas
políticas identitarias y nacionalistas de los
gobiernos neo-populistas. Este rechazo
conlleva un paradigma implícito de
desilusión personal, similar al modelo
autobiográfico de la picaresca barroca, en
que se asocia la juventud con las ilusiones
del período revolucionario de los 60 y 70,
y la madurez con una posición más
desengañada y sensata.
6) Una reterritorialización y defensa de las
disciplinas académicas, contra los
disturbios de lo que Néstor García
Canclini solía llamar en el heyday de los
estudios culturales “ciencias sociales
nómadas”. En el caso de la literatura en
particular, esto involucra una afirmación
del llamado “valor estético” y del canon,
un canon moderno-vanguardista, pero
también normativo, disciplinador,
jerarquizador. En este sentido, aunque es
sobre todo un fenómeno de la esfera
pública latinoamericana, el giro
neoconservador atraviesa también el
campo académico de los Latin American
Studies.
¿De donde surge el impulso detrás del giro
neoconservador? Creo que representa un
efecto superestructural de la integración de
Latinoamérica a los procesos actuales de
globalización. Registra por un lado la crisis
de sectores de las clases media y alta
afectadas de manera negativa por las
políticas neoliberales de ajuste estructural, la
reducción del apoyo estatal a la educación
superior (y a la educación en general), y la
proliferación de la cultura de masas
comercializada. Por otro lado, surge del
debilitamiento de la hegemonía ideológica
del neoliberalismo. La “marea”, al igual que
la elección de Obama en Estados Unidos,
muestran que cada vez más la ideología
neoliberal es percibida por todos lados como
insuficiente para garantizar la
gobernabilidad. Las consecuencias de las
políticas económicas neoliberales produjeron
una crisis de legitimación tanto del estado
como de los aparatos ideológicos,
incluyendo la escuela, los museos, la familia,
las instituciones religiosas, el mundo del arte
y la cultura, y el sistema tradicional de
partidos políticos. La tendencia libertaria
implícita en el modelo de “elección racional”
a través del mercado no puede servir como
plataforma para la imposición de una
estructura normativa de valores y
expectativas sobre poblaciones. La
combinación de privatización y proliferación
de cultura de masas desestabilizó la
autoridad cultural de un sistema previo de
normas, valores, y jerarquías representado
por los intelectuales. Al mismo tiempo, la
fuerza innovadora de las medidas
económicas neoliberales empieza a descrecer
y/o producir efectos perversos. En esta
nueva coyuntura, el giro neoconservador se
ofrece como una ideología de
profesionalismo y disciplinaridad centrada
en la esfera de las humanidades, que fueron
especialmente desprestigiadas y perjudicadas
por las reformas neoliberales en la
educación, una ideología implementada por
y a través del estado y los aparatos
ideológicos para contrarrestar la crisis de
legitimidad provocada por el neoliberalismo.
Si este hipótesis es correcta, el giro
neoconservador puede ser visto como un
intento por parte de una intelectualidad
criolla, progresista, profesionalizada, en su
mayoría blanca o blanca-mestiza, de clase
media o clase media-alta, de capturar, o
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recapturar, el espacio de autoridad cultural y
hermenéutica en Latinoamérica de, por un
lado, el neoliberalismo, y, por otro, de las
nuevas formas heterogéneas de gestión
política de los movimientos sociales,
representado sobre todo por los nuevos
gobiernos de la “marea populista”.
Despliega para ese fin una doble estrategia
de interpelación: hace un llamado a crear
una nueva forma de hegemonía cultural,
entendida en el sentido de lo que Gramsci
llama “el liderazgo moral intelectual de la
nación”, que incorpore sus propios criterios
disciplinarios de autoridad, profesionalismo
y especialización; al mismo tiempo, hace un
intento de redefinir (o limitar) los proyectos
emergentes de la izquierda latinoamericana
dentro de lo que continúan siendo
parámetros dominados por esos criterios.
Se podría argumentar que la operación
crítica y política representada por figuras
como Beatriz Sarlo es algo completamente
distinto del tipo de neoconservadurismo
propugnado en las “guerras culturales” en
los Estados Unidos. Más bien, se podría
decir de esa operación, o dice de sí misma,
que no sólo viene desde la izquierda, sino
que es también en cierto sentido una defensa
de la izquierda contra lo que se percibe
como un relativismo postmodernista
cómplice con el neoliberalismo y un
neopopulismo demagógico post-neoliberal.
Sin embargo, si bien mi propia posición no
es completamente desinteresada, no creo
estar exagerando el caso. Estoy tratando de
captar una tendencia emergente que todavía
no ha tomado total conciencia de sí misma y
que, como tal, podría desplazarse en
distintas direcciones. Creo que el giro
neoconservador continuará siendo una
tendencia dentro de la izquierda y la
intelectualidad progresista en América
Latina, y en el campo de los Latin American
Studies. Pero también es posible que si, en
contextos concretos, la situación política se
polariza más, esta tendencia se alinee
políticamente con posiciones más
explícitamente conservadoras o de centro
derecha, como sucedió en los casos de los
New York Intellectuals en los Estados
Unidos (muchos de los cuales terminaron en
el Partido Republicano de Reagan) o los
llamados Nuevos Filósofos o el historiador
Francois Furet en Francia. Los ejemplos de
Jorge Castañeda en México o Elizabeth
Burgos en Venezuela hacen alusión a esta
posible consecuencia en un contexto actual
latinoamericano.
El giro neoconservador de los 70 y 80 en los
Estados Unidos comienza en el campo de la
crítica cultural, pero pasa rápidamente a la
órbita de la política. Esa crítica dividió
tanto a la izquierda como al Partido
Demócrata, muchas veces sobre líneas
raciales y generacionales, inhibiendo así la
gran promesa de los sesenta en los Estados
Unidos: la formación de un nuevo bloque
histórico popular-democrático pluri-racial y
potencialmente mayoritario en el corazón de
la sociedad norteamericana. En este sentido
allanó el camino para la restauración
conservadora de los 80, un período de
“larga duración”, como dicen los
historiadores económicos, del cual solo
comenzamos a salir con Obama. Si mi
diagnóstico de un giro neoconservador en
Latinoamérica es correcto, y enfatizo su
carácter tentativo, mi temor es que actúe
también como inhibidor o límite a los
objetivos y posibilidades de la izquierda y el
pensamiento progresista latinoamericano en
el período venidero.
Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Marginality
in Contemporary Latin American Literature
by LUZ HORNE
Cornell University
lh257@cornell.edu
and DANIEL NOEMI VOIONMAA
University of Michigan
danielnv@umich.edu
In the first pages of Berkeley em Bellagio
(2002), by Brazilian writer João Gilberto
Noll, the narrator—an invited writer at
Berkeley University very similar to the actual
author—reflects about the contradictions of
studying third world misery from the
comfortable position that the first world
provides:
eu me preguntava quem estava ali de
fato interessado por esses quadros de
miséria afastados de seus cotidianos
quase principescos. O que fariam com
essas imagens que para eles deveriam
reverberar como campos de refugiados
de todo o azar do planeta? –azar que
eles nunca iriam constatar fora de suas
embaixadas, de seus hotéis de segurança
eletrônica ou desarmados de suas
fantasias de ajuda às populações de
onde eu viera (para lhes ensinar em
vão) (18, our emphasis).
In spite of the narrator’s cynicism about his
students’ interest and about the impossibility
for them to establish a direct contact with
third world poverty, following this quote the
narrator clarifies that his own position is not
better: his images of misery don’t come from
“reality” either, but mainly from cinema.
He is also distanced from the “reality” he is
supposed to talk about and explain. Thus,
through this reflection, one of the main
problems involved in the representation of
marginality comes to light: the problem of
mediation. This is a problem with several
BEVERLEY continued…
37
sides. On one hand, it relates to the subject
and his/her class position: to talk about the
marginal from a certain economic and social
well being may derive in or create exoticism,
paternalism or a didactical perspective (the
one who feels entitled to teach the other).
On the other, mediation appears
unavoidably in cultural representation: in
film or in literature, as in art and politics,
representation—the attempt of ‘bringing
back’ something that is not there—implies a
distance from/to the subject or object being
represented. This distance—and mediation
can be understood as the effort to traverse
that trajectory—will always remain. No
matter what we do we will always require
mediation if there is anything we want to re-
present.
In fact, as we know, the problems involved
in the representation of marginality are
multiple and have always been a matter of
controversy. However, the old question,
implicit in Noll’s novel: “How must
professors, researchers, writers or artists in
general, ‘depict’ the reality of social
marginality?” is still pertinent and relevant
today. In order to understand some of the
main forms and versions this question takes
in Latin American literature today, we need
to make a brief (and necessarily partial)
review of the ways in which the answers (as
well as the questions themselves) have
changed through time.
***
During the second half of the 19
th
century,
the narrative that prevailed had a romantic-
realist approach. The marginal characters,
i.e. belonging to lower social classes but
rarely to its very extremes, tend to be
comical and dumb; they speak ‘funny’ and
are tricksters without being evil, as we can
see in Martín Rivas (1863). Hardly is the
social structure put into question; on the
contrary, most of the time it is reproduced or
reinforced. A few decades later, as we can
see through many of the naturalist novels
written during the turn of the century, even
though this aesthetic broadens the artistic
field and directs the reader’s gaze towards
the marginal aspects of society (Cambaceres’
novels or D’Halmar’s Juana Lucero [1902]
are interesting examples), it tends to
reproduce the exclusion through a
representational system of classification and
normalization. Then, in the first decades of
the past century, we witness the emergence
of a literature that tries to engage with Latin
American reality, and particular, its nature,
su tierra, in a different way.
Mundonovismo, as it name implies, creates a
vision of Latin America as something new
and different (to/from Europe). In some of
Horacio Quiroga’s short stories, in La
vorágine (1924) by Colombian writer José
Eustasio Rivera or in Doña Bárbara (1929)
by Venezuela’s future president Rómulo
Gallegos, marginality acquires the meaning
of brutality, anti-civilization, and madness.
Nature, which symbolizes everything outside
ordem e progreso, must be tamed. But that
perspective was not enough for many young
writers and intellectuals who saw in the
events of 1917 a real possibility of change,
and believed that literature had a more
concrete (social and political) function in
society. So, the late 1920s and 1930s see the
appearance of the most significant
movement, until then, that attempts to
represent the reality of the marginal. Social
Realism, with its shocking language and
sometimes pedagogical plots and
monotonous rhetoric, brings marginal
characters into the ‘center’ of literary
creation. They are now the protagonists;
they use their own expressions and are far
from being turned into comical figures. The
collection of short stories, Los que se van,
published in 1930 by the Ecuadorian writers
Joaquín Gallegos Lara, Demetrio Aguilera
Malta and Enrique Gil Gilbert, is an
excellent example of this and of all the
contradictions that Social Realism entails.
However, Social Realism was rapidly
dismissed as second rate literature. Other
more “elaborated” literary forms took stage.
Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) (1938) by
Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos and El
llano en llamas (1953) by Mexican Juan
Rulfo are part of this change. Even though
these texts have elements from Social
Realism, the straightforward political
rhetoric that characterized this aesthetics
disappears. Also, the new urban reality of
the continent was one of the main problems
that affected the representation of
marginality at this time. Migration from the
countryside had created a new reality of
poverty and marginality. An urban Critical
Realism tries to acknowledge and represent
this new situation and the system that
produces it, but always keeping in mind that
what is being written is literature.
So, as it aims also to artistically express the
structural causes of social injustice, the
representation of marginality becomes more
and more complex. The position, the locus
of enunciation, from where the writer
“speaks,” becomes a key issue for which we
find different kinds of answers. Magical
Realism seems to constitute an escape from
this: it produces an allegory of marginality
that appears to exclude the voice of the
marginal. On the other side of the spectrum,
A hora da estrela (1977), by Brazilian writer
Clarice Lispector, makes the problem of how
to speak on behalf of the other the central
aspect of the novel. During the 1970s and
80s, Testimonio constitutes a serious—and
controversial—attempt to end with the
privileged position of the writer. In fact,
mediation persists as an unresolved problem.
Certainly, the marginal can be understood in
different ways and perspectives. Racial,
gender and economic inequalities produce
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
38
different definitions of the marginal and
different ways of thinking about it.
Nevertheless, given that Latin America is the
most unequal region of the world in terms of
income, when thinking about “marginality,”
the economic factor continues to be the most
important and determinant one and this is
certainly reflected in the themes addressed by
literature. (See Centeno and Hoffman 2003.)
Therefore, in order to understand the literary
representation of marginality in the present,
we must link it to the social and economic
conditions where that marginality is
happening. In the case of today’s literature,
the crucial moment in which the theme of
social marginality seems to reemerge as a
recurrent topic is related to the establishment
of neoliberalism in Latin America in the late
1980s and 1990s. In this sense, the question
“How does literature represents marginality
today?” could be rephrased as “How do
literature and neoliberalism dialogue?”
So, in the midst of this complex and plural
scenery, we would like to propose a series of
characteristics, problems or themes that we
believe are frequent in the current literature
and in its treating of marginality. Obviously,
we have no pretension of being exhaustive.
This is just a (very) preliminary attempt to
understand how marginality manifests itself
in the representation of situations, spaces,
and subjects, and to propose a set of
questions that we believe are crucial to think
this topic today.
I. Realism and the Marginal
Clearly, one of the privileged concepts used
to refer to the various attempts of
representing marginality has been realism.
Although not exclusively, the last decades
offer us a plethora of texts that choose a
clear, incisive, objective, and legible prose
and a preoccupation for the creation of
verisimilar worlds in the representation of
marginality. Reified human relations, lack of
solidarity, and an increasing feeling of
loneliness appear to be recurrent topics that
result from the new conditions imposed,
mainly, by neoliberalism’s laws. Closely
related to this, there is a type of literature
that could be said to take a documentary
form. As we can see in Paulo Lins’s Cidade
de Deus, Luiz Ruffato’s Eles eram muitos
cavalos, Rafael Courtoisie’s Tajos and
several of the Colombian sicario’s novels—
just to name a few examples—the lines
demarcating fiction and reality, and literature
and document, are distorted or, on occasion,
almost fully erased. This, of course, has
certain consequences and problems. For
instance, the reception (and the selling and
buying) of these fictions as if they were
depicting the “real” Latin America, the
“only” reality, thus creating a turmoil of
new stereotypes and reinforcing older ones.
Remarkably, this phenomenon repeats what
happened before with Magical Realism,
although now the reality depicted is far from
magical.
II. Marginality and Violence
One of the main marks of the current
literature dealing with the representation of
marginality is the exacerbation of violence.
A type of violence that is also, as it occurs
with the situations mentioned above,
described with a very incisive and graphic
language. We are confronted with violence
of all kinds—violence that produces
marginality, violence that is produced by
marginality: we face a never ending vicious
cycle of violence. Yes, violence has become a
trademark of Latin American literature.
Instead of women flying to the skies
wrapped up in white sheets, they are now
being raped and gunned down.
De Castro Rocha, in his study of Brazilian
contemporary culture, provides us with a
general view of our problematic. He argues
that there has been a shift from a “dialectic
of malandroism” towards a “dialectic of
marginality which is mainly based in the
overcoming of social inequalities through
confrontation instead of reconciliation, and
through the exposition of violence instead of
its concealment” (2). Now it is not about
neglecting differences, but rather bringing
them “to the fore, refusing the uncertain
promise of social reconciliation” (15).
Violence, he emphasizes several times, is at
the core of what is a “new form of
relationship between social classes” (15) and,
the ways in which it is approached and its
representation, determines the “symbolic
[and aesthetic] battle” (16), that the new
productions are fighting.
Violence, in many cases, does not come from
ominous totalitarian states (hence a
difference from testimonio or the literature
de denuncia from the 70s or 80s). Now that
the state is (supposedly) almost invisible, or
has been transformed into a system that, like
god, is everywhere but nowhere to be seen;
now, under these circumstances, state
violence is not only reproduced through its
presence but also, and perhaps more so,
through its absence and abandonment
towards its subjects.
1
The marginalized, the
“refugees,” as Noll calls them, the people
“without a state” have become what they
are not only for the lack of citizenship (as
Arendt used to think) but mostly because the
state does not get to them (they are left out,
they become leftovers). The “Market,” of
course, terrible and appealing, becomes the
expression of this non visible force. The
market, unbeatable and autotelic since it
(tries to) explains itself, is the “cause” of
inequality and marginality and the source of
the violence that is fought with more
violence. Literature—not only the texts but
HORNE and VOIONMAA continued…
39
also itself as an institution—has entered a
new phase in its relation to the market.
In fact, it is very interesting to notice that
most of the criticism that a work like
McOndo
2
received, remarked the absence of
marginality (the short stories depict a middle
or upper middle class way of living). This
can be read, at least, from two perspectives:
the dangerous insistence that the “marginal”
belongs to Latin American culture and
therefore must be present in every cultural
production (to some extent this recalls the
controversy between the Florida and Boedo
groups in the 1920s). But another reading is
possible. Without suggesting that all
literature has to address the issue of
marginality, the absence of it and the
insistence in the social class of the
protagonists (as said, middle or upper
middle) can be interpreted as another way in
which it—marginality—is present. In fact,
invisibility constitutes a powerful way of
exerting and showing violence.
III. Marginality as Spectacle
Parallel to this absence of the marginal, we
have what seems to be the opposite: the
overly explicit, almost naturalistic
description of marginal people and their
lives. However, in contrast with classic
naturalism, now, in this new aesthetics of
the marginal, we ought to consider
spectacularization. In general terms we can
affirm that Latin America has become a
stage for the spectacle of violence. Violence,
poverty, marginality at large, becomes a
commodity to be written about, and,
naturally, to be sold. Recent Colombian
literature is perhaps the foremost example
of it: the literature of the sicario, the epitome
of violence and marginality, has had a
tremendous commercial success, and
expands much beyond the mere literary
realm. Let us just mention Rosario Tijeras,
by Jorge Franco; La virgen de los sicarios
(Our Lady of the Assassins) by Fernando
Vallejo; Satanás by Mario Mendoza (not a
sicario’s novel but one that has violence at its
core); or, again, Cidade de Deus (City of
God), by Paulo Lins. The problems that
arise from this “success” are various and not
to a lesser extent determine the ways in
which marginality is conceived.
Simultaneously, the role of literature, and
our role as critics, is at stake. The problem
is not one-sided. On one hand, marginality
has become a commodity, but as such it
sparks discomfort, especially among the
most progressive sectors. On another, it has
also turned into an intellectual and
theoretical token, scorned by many who see
in that the repetition of what is being
criticized (the commodification of
marginality). Following the steps Clarice
Lispector took in A hora da estrela, some of
today’s literature decides to include this
problem within itself and express its
contradictory position.
IV. The New World of Marginality
As we can appreciate in the literary
production that engages with marginality,
the exclusion that characterizes it—which
should be understood in dialectical terms
since exclusion implies a way of belonging as
well—contributes to the formation of a
particular world. In fact, it would be
possible to talk about the creation of a new
world, a world of marginality with its own
rules and characteristics; one that provides a
distinctive Weltanschauung.
There is an exclusion from the symbolic
realm that generates a new kind of language
and a new logic to talk about marginality (as
seen in many of César Aira’s novels, or in
the works of João Gilberto Noll, Sergio
Chejfec, Diamela Eltit, Nona Fernández, or
Caio Fernando Abreu). There is an
exclusion from law that creates a new set of
rules and even a particular Law (as it is the
case in César Aira’s La villa or in Eltit’s
Mano de obra); there is also a spatial
exclusion that allows the establishment of a
different space (topos) for marginality
(Rodolfo Fogwill’s Vivir Afuera or Nona
Fernández’s Av. Diez de Julio Huamachuco
could be thought as reflections about
marginality’s space), and a different time in
which marginality occurs that is the base for
a different time (chronos) to address the
marginal (Sergio Chejfec’s Boca de lobo
constitutes a remarkable example).
V. Marginal Subjects and Bodies
The excluded and marginal subject is
repeatedly represented as a fragmented and
corroded body. There is almost always a
connection to monstrosity (teratology, as
seen in Fetiche y fantoche by Ecuadorian
writer Huilo Ruales); and sickness and
madness (Diamela Eltit and Paz Errázuriz’s
El infarto del alma). The marginal subject is
therefore presented as completely
desubjectivized; s/he has lost all humanity
except for his/her (fragmented and/or
mutilated) body. There is a process of
assimilation between this “destroyed”
subject and the abject surroundings. So it
occurs in Onde andará Dulce Veiga (1991),
by Caio Fernando Abreu, in El aire (1992),
by Sergio Chejfec or in Los años inútiles
(2002), by Peruvian writer Jorge Benavides.
In these texts, the subjects and the spaces of
misery get confused: the subjects become
trash, rubbish, literal and literary leftovers.
However, this confusion doesn’t occur only
between subjects and spaces. In its
recurrence, the “garbage scenes” show the
similarity of marginality and its traces in
different parts of the world.
As mentioned, Noll uses the term “refugee”
to refer to the marginal. This becomes
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
40
highly significant if we think about the
delocalization that, notwithstanding their
referentiality, these narratives seem to project
when dealing with marginality. In fact,
although in several occasions the texts do
refer to concrete spaces or historical
moments which allows us to establish with
precision the when and where of the
narration, the repetition of the topics,
problems and situations presented make us
think that there is no great difference
between what happens in a Favela in Rio or
in a Comuna in Medellín, or to the subjects
who live there. As Silviano Santiago
suggests in O Cosmopolitanismo do pobre,
marginality acquires a singular and quite
frightening cosmopolitanism. In Retrato de
una infancia havanaviejera, Zoe Valdés’s
young narrator connects the Brazilian
favelas, the shantytowns in Caracas, and the
poor neighborhoods in Havana, creating a
Latin American map of marginality and a
transnational dialogue. (This mirrors and
mimics a not so imaginary map of richness
and the transnational circulation of capital.)
Marginality crosses borders and becomes a
new marker in our global times. The
marginalized subject is the subject that
migrates in order to follow the flow of
capital: the marginalized subject becomes the
new nomad.
Final Remarks
At its best, one of the fundamental aspects
in the literary representation of the marginal
is its ability to suspend and defer some
conventions that the reader is expecting to
find. There may be a dislocation of the
perspective, a viewing from an unexpected
standing point: the reader, then, will be
able to ‘discover’ what has always been
already there.
We should expect—if we dare to ask—that
the exhibition of individual bodies that have
been transformed into leftovers and rubbish,
instead of provoking a feeling of guilt and/or
condescendence, would show how the
individual (considered only as a living body)
becomes an object of power, becomes what
Foucault calls “docile bodies.” Therefore, it
is about trying to maintain the power
existing in the marginal: to recuperate
marginality’s rebelliousness. Thus, getting
rid of condescendence, we would be capable
of showing dehumanization in a way that
gives humanism back its political
dimension—a humanism that is not longer
exotic, picturesque, or charitable.
Marginality and its representative attempt
allow us, precisely, to imagine a new politics:
a politics of openness and inclusion where
there are no prophecies to be fulfilled or
sentences to be carried out. Thinking about
marginality and its representation emerges
today as an alternative to think a different
future.
Endnotes
1
The presence of the state, its participation and
relevance, has never been actually completely
erased. In other words, its invisibility or plain
disappearance is a neoliberal ideal that has not
occurred. Given the current circumstances of
the world crisis, and specially if we see the
cases of the governments in Venezuela, Bolivia,
and Ecuador—where the state participation
has increased in the last years—this notion of
an invisible state is, certainly, more than
dubious.
2
An anthology of short stories by “young
writers,” published in Spain in 1996, and
edited by the Chileans Alberto Fuguet and
Sergio Gómez.
References
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Veiga. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras,
1990.
Aira, César. La villa. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 2001.
Benavides, Jorge. Los años inútiles. Madrid:
Alfaguara, 2002.
Blest Gana, Alberto. Martín Rivas. Caracas:
Ayacucho, 1977.
Centeno, Miguel Ángel and Hoffman Kelly.
2003. “The Lopsided Continent. Inequality in
Latin America.” Annual Review of Sociology.
29: 363-390.
Chejfec, Sergio. Boca de lobo. Buenos Aires:
Alfaguara, 2000.
—-. El aire. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2008.
Courtoisie, Rafael. Tajos. Montevideo:
Alfaguara, 1999.
de Castro Rocha, João Cezar. “The ‘dialectic of
marginality’: preliminary notes on Brazilian
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62: http://www.brazil.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/
pdf_file/0008/9359/Joao20Cezar20Castro20R
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D’Halmar, Augusto. Juana Lucero. Santiago:
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Eltit, Diamela. Mano de obra. Santiago: Planeta,
2002.
—- and Errázuriz, Paz. El infarto del alma. 2ed.
Santiago: F. Zegers, 1999.
Fernández, Nona. Av. Diez de julio
Huamachuco. Santiago: Uqbar, 2007.
Fogwill, Rodolfo. Vivir Afuera. Buenos Aries:
Sudamericana, 1998.
Franco, Jorge. Rosario Tijeras. Barcelona:
Norma, 1999.
HORNE and VOIONMAA continued…
41
ON LASA2009
Report from the Program Chairs
by EVELYNE HUBER | University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill | ehuber@unc.edu
and CYNTHIA STEELE | University of Washington-Seattle | cynthias@u.washington.edu
Fuguet, Alberto and Gómez, Sergio. Eds.
McOndo. Barcelona: Mondadori, 1996.
Gallegos, Rómulo. Doña Bárbara. Caracas:
Ayacucho, 1977.
Gallegos Lara, Joaquín, et al. Los que se van.
Quito: El Conejo, 1985.
Lins, Paulo. Cidade de Deus. São Paulo:
Companhia das Letras, 1997.
Lispector, Clarece. A hora da estrela. Rio de
Janeiro: Nova Frontiera, 1984.
Mendoza, Mario. Satanás. Barcelona: Seix
Barral, 2002.
Noll, João Gilberto. Berkeley em Bellagio. Rio
de Janeiro: Objetiva, 2002.
Ramos, Graciliano. Vidas Secas. Lisboa:
Caminho, 1991.
Rivera, José Eustasio. La vorágine. Madrid:
Cátedra, 1990.
Ruales, Huilo. Fetiche y fantoche. Quito:
Universidad Católica, 1994.
Ruffato, Luiz. Eles eram muitos cavalos. São
Paulo: Boitempo, 2001.
Rulfo, Juan. El llano en llamas. Madrid:
Cátedra, 1985.
Santiago, Silvano. O Cosmopolitismo do pobre.
Belo Horizonte: UFMG, 2004.
Valdés, Zoe. Retrato de una infancia
habanaviejera. Nuevos narradores cubanos.
Madrid: Siruela, 2000.
Vallejo, Fernando. La virgen de los sicarios.
Bogotá: Santillana, 1994.
In the months since our last report, LASA
sent out acceptance notices to some 7,000
individuals. Many of the proposals
consisted of entire panels, but many
proposals were for individual papers. The
individual paper proposals were handled in a
two-stage process: The track chairs made
decisions about acceptance and grouped the
papers into panels with the greatest possible
thematic coherence. Proposals that were
accepted but could not be placed in this way
were forwarded to us, with the charge to
look across tracks to combine paper
proposals into panels or accommodate them
in already existing panels. In order to
accommodate as many proposals as possible,
we had to make frequent use of established
LASA practice and ask many panel chairs to
accept additional papers to their panels. The
great majority of panel chairs graciously
granted these requests, and we trust that
these new papers will make excellent panels
even better by offering additional
perspectives.
The LASA Secretariat added Melissa
Raslevich to its staff in order to deal with
the extraordinary workload generated by the
Congress. Despite great efforts of the highly
efficient and committed staff, response time
to emails sometimes remained longer than
potential Congress participants would have
hoped. We thank everybody for their hard
work and their patience.
The planning of special panels and sessions
has made much progress: The latest high-
profile acceptances have come from ex-
President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. There will
be special panels on Rethinking Welfare
States and Inequalities; on What Constitutes
“Good Research”? Perspectives on Research
Practice, Research Ethics, and Research
Standards of “Truth” from the North and
South; on Publishing Your Research in
Academic Journals; on Inequalities in New
Latin American Cinema; and on Literature
and the Left Turn in Latin America. After
much negotiating, the receptions will be held
at the university after the last panels of the
day in order to make it as easy as possible
for Congress participants to join them.
The Preliminary Program is on line at the LASA
website <http://lasa.international.pitt.edu/>.
Preregistration is required for all
participants. Names of participants who fail
to preregister will not appear in the Program
book. Thus, this is a preliminary program
in the true sense of the word. It happens
before every Congress that some accepted
participants fail to preregister and
consequently some sessions are left with only
a couple of papers. In those cases, we shall
do our best to find panels for these
remaining papers where they can be
presented to an interested audience and
stimulate dialogue with the other scholars
on those panels.
The hotel information is available at the
LASA website as well. We would encourage
all participants to make their hotel
reservations soon, to ensure that you get
space in the hotel of your choice. All U.S.
participants also need to keep in mind that
Brazil has visa requirements, so it would be
a good idea to get started on those trámites.
The next report from the Program Chairs
will appear immediately after the Congress.
We hope that all planned events will occur
with all preregistered participants, regardless
of the dark economic clouds upon us. And
we trust the intellectual excitement generated
by the Congress will do justice to the
preparatory work and the collective efforts
of all the participants and the LASA staff.
We are greatly looking forward to seeing you
all in Rio.
ON LASA2009
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
42
Rio de Janeiro
por KARL ERIK SCHØLLHAMMER
Rio 40 graus?
Cidade maravilha?
Purgatório da beleza?
E do caos...
Capital do sangue quente?
Do Brasil?
Capital do sangue quente?
Do melhor e do pior?
Do Brasil...
Cidade sangue quente?
Maravilha mutante...
(Rio 40 graus, música de Fernanda Abreu,
Fausto Fawcett e Carlos Laufer)
Rio de Janeiro—Cidade Maravilhosa ou
Maravilha mutante, em sua versão mais
contemporânea—é o emblema e cartão
postal do Brasil, cidade de muitas faces que
se confunde com a própria imagem do país,
abrangendo sua diversidade e seus intensos
contrastes.
Com a vinda da família real portuguesa no
Brasil em 1808, o Rio de Janeiro, que já era
capital da colônia desde 1765, tornou-se
capital do império português e logo do
império independente e, depois, da república
federativa. Nesse período, a cidade sofreu
notáveis modificações, com grande
crescimento de sua população, mudanças em
sua topografia—devidas ao desmonte de
diversos morros, aterros—, abertura de
grandes avenidas e túneis, além da criação de
diversos marcos arquitetônicos de vários
estilos. Em 1960, a capital administrativa foi
transferida para Brasília, e o Rio de Janeiro
entrou em declínio econômico e político,
perdendo importância como centro de poder,
mas nunca sua vocação de centro cultural e
amálgama criativo. Quem mora no Rio ama
a cidade e lamenta seus infortúnios. Ser
carioca não é tanto um atestado de
nascimento mas um estado de espírito. É
uma maneira de ser e de viver que implica
gentileza, malícia, orgulho, garra, alegria e
uma boa dose de tropical melancolia regada
a música e boemia, como diria o poeta
Torquato Neto.
Encravada entre as praias e as montanhas, a
cidade oferece uma paisagem natural
exuberante, um prazer visual que foi descrito
e homenageado inúmeras vezes em imagem,
música e literatura e que ainda resiste apesar
da ocupação urbana caótica e da precária
preservação do patrimônio natural da
floresta e da mata tropicais. No imaginário
coletivo mundial, o Rio de Janeiro se impõe
como capital da alegria, do carnaval e da
exuberância dos corpos expostos, ao mesmo
tempo em que horroriza com seus altos
índices de violência e do crime. Contudo é
o lugar de encontro e de contraste, entre
natureza e cidade, riqueza e miséria e entre
história e modernidade. A maioria dos
turistas que visita o Brasil passa um tempo
no Rio, e a visita às praias da zona sul é
obrigatória. Poucos, entretanto, chegam a
conhecer a cidade que pulsa do outro lado do
túnel Rebouças—a zona oeste e a baixada
fluminense com seus gigantescos complexos
de favelas—, apenas enxergada à distância
pela elite da zona sul, quando atravessa a
Avenida Brasil e a Linha Vermelha.
Infelizmente, a realidade demográfica carioca
está marcada pela segregação social
facilmente percebida na geografia da cidade.
A fronteira entre zona sul e zona norte
dificilmente é transgredida, e o privilégio de
morar na zona sul pertence apenas a uma
minoria. O Rio continua sendo uma cidade
partida.
Hoje, o visitante logo vai se sentir em casa
nos bairros de Ipanema e Leblon, onde
encontrará uma rica variedade de bares e
restaurantes, seja na Rua Garcia D’Ávila e
arredores da nas praças Nossa Senhora da
Paz ou nas ruas Dias Ferreira, Ataulfo da
Paiva e Conde de Bernadotte, entre muitos
outras do Leblon. No Baixo Gávea, perto da
PUC-Rio, há pontos tradicionais, oferecendo
opções variadas entre os cardápios de comida
brasileira típica no Hipódromo e Braseiro e o
refinamento da cozinha do Guimas. Em
Copacabana, a área mais densa e variada da
zona sul, a dica é confiar na tradição popular
e investir nos locais considerados clássicos,
como a Adega Pérola na Siqueira Campos,
ou um chá à beira da piscina no Hotel
Copacabana Palace.
Nos últimos anos, o centro da cidade vem
sendo revitalizado, oferecendo excelentes
opções de lazer e cultura, além de livrarias,
sebos e restaurantes. Lá, o visitante também
poderá apreciar o inestimável patrimônio
histórico e arquitetônico da cidade, não
43
apenas de sua fase colonial e neo-clássica,
mas também do período moderno (Museu de
Arte Moderna, Edifício Gustavo Capanema,
Aeroporto Santos Dumont, Edifício da
Associação Brasileira de Imprensa). O
visitante pode começar o passeio pelo
Corredor Cultural no Paço Imperial,
atravessar o Arco do Telles, pegar a Rua do
Ouvidor em direção à Igreja da Candelária,
passando por um leque variado de
monumentos, igrejas e construções históricos
assim como centros de cultura (Centro
Cultural Banco do Brasil, Centro Cultural
dos Correios e Casa França-Brasil).
Cruzando a Avenida Presidente Vargas em
direção à Praça Mauá poderá visitar o
Mosteiro e a Igreja de São Bento, um
belíssimo monumento barroco e uma
verdadeiro oásis de paz, cuja entrada
discretíssima se faz pela Rua Dom Gerardo.
Outra boa pedida é o almoço no restaurante
Albamar na torre do velho mercado
municipal na Praça Marechal Âncora, com
vista para a Ilha Fiscal, o que dá a dimensão
da antiga cidade e faz imaginar como era a
chegada por mar ao Rio de Janeiro antes da
era da aviação.
Pode-se também adentrar o Centro pela
Cinelândia e seguir pela Avenida Rio Branco,
onde estão localizadas obras primas da belle
epoque, o Teatro Municipal, a Biblioteca
Nacional e o Museu Nacional de Belas Artes,
construídos em estilo eclético na primeira
década do século XX. No Largo da Carioca
estão situados a Igreja e o Convento de Santo
Antônio, construídos em 1592 e que hoje
geram um contraste dramático com a
modernidade arquitetônica do prédio da
Avenida Chile. Na rua da Carioca há uma
rica opção de lojas e prédios charmosos,
muitos em estilo neo-clássico; seguindo em
direção à Praça Tiradentes, há teatros e
opções culturais interessantes, como uma
visita ao Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica ou
uma noite de gafieira e samba de raiz no
salão de dança tradicional Estudantina.
Daqui, muitas opções se abrem. Durante o
dia uma visita ao comércio popular do Saara,
nas proximidades da Rua Alfândega, é uma
forte atração para qualquer olhar curioso e,
ao mesmo tempo, um encontro com os
emigrantes árabes e judeus e, mais
recentemente, nordestinos e coreanos que
aqui convivem pacificamente. Depois, vale a
pena entrar pela Rua do Lavradio, passar por
detrás da Catedral Metropolitana e conhecer
o bairro boêmio da Lapa, antigo reduto de
malandros e sambistas, hoje revitalizado pela
nova cena musical carioca. A noite na Lapa
é conhecida por suas múltiplas opções de
casas de shows, com ritmos brasileiros, como
chorinho, samba, forró, que certamente vale
a pena conferir. A outra opção é retornar em
direção ao Largo de São Francisco com uma
parada obrigatória no magnífico Real
Gabinete Português de Leitura na Rua Luis
de Camões, e eventualmente visitar a galeria
recém-aberta Largo das Artes num belo
sobrado colonial. No centro da praça está a
Igreja de São Francisco da Paula, construída
entre os séculos XVIII e XIX; mas também
vale a pena conhecer o belo prédio neo-
clássico do Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências
Sociais (IFCS) da Universidade Federal do
Rio de Janeiro antes de seguir pela Rua
Gonçalves Dias e procurar um descanso na
tradicional confeitaria Colombo.
Para o visitante estrangeiro, a experiência da
cidade normalmente se limita à zona sul, mas
no centro da cidade convergem as muitas
facetas da cidade e um passeio por essa zona
torna-se chave para compreender melhor de
onde vem e para onde vai o Rio de Janeiro.
É no centro que a diversidade do Rio fica
mais evidente e onde uma caminhada de
algumas horas é uma verdadeira viagem no
tempo, passando por uma multiplicidade de
gostos e sabores do rigor português à
extravagância francesa, da ginga africana ao
otimismo do modernismo brasileiro. Há um
certo caos sedutor no centro que convida o
visitante a explorar e descobrir uma cidade
cheia de meandros e mesclas singulares.
A partir do centro é fácil visitar outros
bairros históricos bem típicos como Saúde e
Gambôa, que ficam atrás da Praça Mauá, ou
ir em direção à zona oeste no outro lado do
canal do Mangue, ou Vila Isabel e Tijuca—
o primeiro imortalizado nas canções de Noel
Rosa e o segundo nas crônicas de Nelson
Rodrigues—, cada um com seus encantos,
segredos e desafios. Uma visita ao bairro
boêmio de Santa Teresa entretanto é quase
uma obrigação para quem quer conhecer a
história da cidade e o charme dessa zona da
cidade. Há muitas maneiras de se chegar ao
alto de Santa Teresa, uma delas é pegar o
bondinho que atravessa os arcos da Lapa; a
estação fica próximo ao Largo da Carioca.
Alcançando o topo da montanha, o
bondinho segue pelas ruas pavimentadas de
paralelepípedo passando em frente de casas e
palacetes do início do século XX, várias delas
em refinado estilo art-nouveau ou Jugendstil,
hoje meras lembranças da riqueza e
prosperidade dos primeiros moradores desse
bairro. Hoje, Santa Teresa preserva sua
independência e, apesar de estar cercada por
favelas, é um bairro de convivência social
tranqüila onde se prolifera grande energia
libertária que se expressa na proliferação de
ateliês artísticos e eventos de cultura e arte ao
longo do ano. No Largo dos Guimarães há
excelentes opções de restaurantes como o
Sobrenatural, o Bar do Mineiro e o melhor
almoço de comida nordestina da cidade no
Bar do Arnaudo, mas vale a pena estender a
visita para o Largo das Neves, eventualmente
com uma paradinha no Goiabeira para uma
cerveja. Santa Teresa parece um bairro
parado no tempo, e só recentemente
começou-se a aproveitar a variedade de casas
e prédios ignorados pelo mercado imobiliário
local para criar pousadas e restaurantes para
o visitante e o turista que espera encontrar
mais no Rio de Janeiro de que a beleza da
praia de Copacabana.
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
44
O primeiro encontro com Rio de Janeiro
pode ser um descobrimento desafiante.
Além de ser uma aula de história do Brasil,
é uma exposição aos problemas sociais
contemporâneos enfrentados nas grandes
metrópoles brasileiras. Quem quer se
aproximar mais da realidade da população
mais pobre encontra hoje opções de
pousadas, hospedagem e programas culturais
em várias favelas da zona sul como o Morro
do Pereirão, da Conceição, do Cantagalo, da
Rocinha, do Vidigal, entre outras. Cada
bairro tem sua característica própria e,
principalmente na visita aos bairros como
Gloria, Catete, Flamengo e Botafogo, é
possível notar como a cidade se lançou sobre
o mar para poder se expandir em direção ao
sul, ímpeto modernizador que culminou com
a urbanização de São Conrado e da Barra da
Tijuca na década de 60 e, mais tarde, do
Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Para quem tiver
tempo e interesse na arte popular brasileira, é
indispensável uma visita ao museu Casa do
Pontal no Recreio dos Bandeirantes, que
abriga a belíssima coleção de Jacques Van de
Beuque, o maior e mais significativo acervo
de arte popular do país. Os bairros de
dentro, como Laranjeiras, Cosme Velho e
Jardim Botânico, Lagoa e Gávea,
conseguiram manter-se melhor preservados
do processo de crescimento urbano
acelerado, embora também neles haja
exemplos crassos da urbanização informal e
da chamada verticalização das favelas. Um
dos principais desafios para o novo governo
do estado e, em particular para o novo
prefeito da cidade, será a regularização
democrática do crescimento espontâneo e
descontrolado na zona oeste e zona norte.
Rio de Janeiro é uma cidade que se vive
como muitas cidades, cada uma com seu
perfil particular e o prazer do encontro
colabora com a capacidade do visitante de
viver sua multiplicidade.
Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa (or
Maravilha Mutante in a more contemporary
version), is both the emblem of Brazil and its
postcard—a city of many faces that is often
perceived as the very image of the country,
its diversity and intense contrasts.
With the arrival of the Portuguese royal
family in Brazil in 1808, Rio de Janeiro,
which had been the capital of the colony
since 1765, became the capital of the
Portuguese empire, of the independent
empire afterwards, and then the capital of
the Federal Republic. Over these periods the
city has undergone remarkable changes,
including great population growth, major
changes in topography due to the leveling of
hills and embankments, the construction of
major avenues and tunnels as well as the
creation of landmark architectural projects
of different styles. In 1960 the national
administrative capital was moved to Brasília
and Rio de Janeiro entered into a period of
economic and political decline, losing
importance as a center of power—but not its
place as a center of cultural and artistic
expression. Those who reside in Rio love
the city and lament its misfortunes. Being
carioca is not so much a testament of place
as it is a state of mind and spirit. It is a way
of being and living that conveys at once a
sense of kindness, malice, pride, defiance,
joy—and a strong dose of tropical
melancholy merged to music and to the
bohemian, as the poet Torquato Neto would
say.
Nestled between beaches and mountains, the
city offers an exuberant landscape, a visual
pleasure that has been described and praised
countless times in the visual arts, music and
literature—and a city which still stands tall
despite urban chaos and slim successes in
preserving a precious natural ecology. The
world imagines Rio as a joyous capital, a
place for carnival and exuberant near-
nakedness, but also as a place that strikes
fear because of high rates of crime and
violence. It is, then, a place of encounters
and contrasts between nature and city,
between wealth and poverty, between the
historic past and modernity.
Most tourists who visit Brazil spend time in
Rio—and going to the beaches of the zona
sul is mandatory. But few get to know the
city that pulsates on the other side of the
Rebouças tunnel, the zona oeste and the
baixada fluminense with its huge complex
of slums; the slums are viewed only at a
distance by the elites of the zona sul as they
cross Avenida do Brasil and the Linha
Vermelha. Unfortunately, carioca
demographic reality is marked by highly
visible socioeconomic segregation. Borders
between the southern and northern zones are
crossed only with difficulty and the privilege
of living in the zona sul belongs to just a
minority. Rio remains a divided city.
Visitors, then, will immediately feel at home
in the neighborhoods of Ipanema and
Leblon, where they will find a wide variety
of bars and restaurants in Rua Garcia
D’Ávila and in the outskirts of Our Lady
of Peace Plaza, and on the Dias Ferreira,
Ataulfo of Paiva and Conde de Bernadotte
Leblon streets—among many others in
Leblon. In Baixo Gávea near PUC-Rio there
are multiple points of gastronomic interest,
offering choices that vary from typical
Brazilian food in the Hipódromo and
Braseiro to the refined cuisine of Guimas.
In Copacabana, the densest and most diverse
area of the southern zone, the trick is to
trust the popular tradition and stop in places
considered classics, like Adega Pérola in
Siqueira Campos or have tea by the pool at
the Hotel Copacabana Palace.
A revitalized city center offers excellent
options for recreation and culture, as well
as bookstores, snack bars, and restaurants.
Here the visitor can view aspects of the
SCHØLLHAMMER continued…
45
priceless historical and architectural heritage
of the city—not just of the colonial and neo-
classical period but also of the modern era,
in the Museum of Modern Art, the Gustavo
Capanema building, Santos Dumont airport
and the Brazilian Press Association building.
Visitors can begin touring at the Cultural
Corridor in the Imperial Palace, continue to
the Arco do Telles, take Rua do Ouvidor
toward Igreja da Candelária to see a variety
of monuments, churches and historical
buildings as well as centers of culture
(Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Centro
Cultural dos Correios and Casa França-
Brasil). Crossing President Vargas Avenue
toward Plaza Mauá you can visit the
Monastery and Church of St. Benedict, a
beautiful Baroque monument and a real
oasis of peace with its discreet entrance on
Rua Dom Gerardo. Next try lunch in the
Albamar restaurant in the tower of the old
municipal market in Marechal Âncora Plaza;
it overlooks the Ihla Fiscal and conveys an
idea of the size of the old city as well as a
sense of how it might have been to arrive in
Rio by sea, before the aviation era.
You can also enter the heart of Rio through
Cinelândia and follow Avenida Rio Branco
to see masterpieces of the Belle Epoque, the
Teatro Municipal, Biblioteca Nacional, and
the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes—all built
in the eclectic style of the first decade of the
twentieth century. In Largo da Carioca see
the Igreja and o Convento de Santo Antônio,
built in 1592; it generates a dramatic
contrast with the modern architecture of the
buildings on Avenida Chile. You will find
Largo da Carioca to have a rich choice of
shops and charming buildings, many neo-
classical in style, and going towards Praça
Tiradentes you will discover interesting
theaters and cultural sites such as the Centro
de Arte Hélio Oiticica, or a night of dancing
gafieira and samba de raiz in the traditional
Estudantina hall.
From here, many options. During the day in
the area around Rua Alfândega you may
wish to visit the popular Sahara market.
Here you will be among immigrants of many
ethnic backgrounds and nationalities who
live and work together in harmony. After
this you can proceed to Lavradio Street, go
behind the Metropolitan Cathedral and visit
the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, a
former hangout for malandros and sambistas
that has been revitalized by the new carioca
musical scene. A night in Lapa offers many
choices of shows that feature Brazilian
rhythms such as chorinho, samba, forró,
certainly worth experiencing. An alternative
is to return toward Largo San Francisco with
a compulsory stop at the magnificent Real
Gabinete Português de Leitura in Rua Luis
de Camões and possibly visit the newly
opened Largo das Artes gallery, situated in a
lovely colonial loft. At the center of the
square is Igreja de São Francisco da Paula,
built between the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries; also worth seeing is the beautiful
neoclassical building of the Institute of
Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Federal
University (IFCS) before proceeding along
the Rua Gonçalves Dias and looking to relax
at Colombo, the traditional pastry shop.
Visitors limiting their explorations to the
south zone miss discovering that the city
center is key to a better understanding of
where this multifaceted city came from and
where it is going. It is in the center that the
diversity of Rio de Janeiro is most evident
and where a walk of several hours is a real
journey in time through a variety of
authentic tastes and flavors from the
elemental Portuguese to the French
extravagance, from the swing of Africa to
the optimism of modern Brazil. There is a
certain seductive chaos in the center that
invites the visitor to explore and discover a
city full of meanderings and singular
blendings. From the center is easy to visit
other historical districts like Saúde and
Gambôa behind Mauá Square, or to go west
to the other side of the Mangue channel, or
to Vila Isabel and Tijuca—the former
immortalized in the songs of Noel Rosa and
the latter in the chronicles of Nelson
Rodrigues—each with its charms, secrets and
challenges. A visit to the bohemian
neighborhood of Santa Teresa is almost a
must for anyone wishing to know the history
of the city and the charm of this zone.
There are many ways to reach the top of
Santa Teresa; one of them is to take the
cable car that crosses the Lapa arches. The
station is next to the Largo da Carioca.
Reaching the top of the mountain, the cable
car follows streets of paralelepípedo, passing
in front of early twentieth century houses
and palaces, many of which are in fine Art
Nouveau or Jugendstil style—now mere
memories of the wealth and prosperity of the
early residents of that neighborhood. Today,
Santa Teresa preserves its identity, and is,
despite being surrounded by slums, a quiet
neighborhood that expresses its libertarian
energy in the proliferation of workshops and
artistic and cultural events throughout the
year. In Largo dos Guimarães one has
excellent choices of restaurants like
Sobrenatural, and Bar do Mineiro. The best
Northeastern lunch can be savored at Bar
Arnaud, but it is worth extending the trip to
Largo das Neves for a short stop for a beer
at Goiabeira. Santa Teresa neighborhood
looks like a place frozen in time but recently
there has appeared a variety of homes and
buildings with inns and restaurants for the
visitor who hopes to find more in Rio de
Janeiro than just the beauty of Copacabana
beach.
The first encounter with Rio de Janeiro may
be challenging: besides being a history class
of sorts, it also is an exposure to social
problems currently facing large cities in
Brazil. The person who wishes to be closer
to the reality of life for the poorest people
can find living accommodations and cultural
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
46
programs in various favelas of zona sul, like
Morro do Pereirão, Conceição, Cantagalo,
Rocinha, and Vidigal, among others. Each
neighborhood is unique and in visits to
districts such as Gloria, Catete, Flamengo
and Botafogo one can see how an expanding
city has pushed southward toward the sea,
producing a modernizing impetus that
created the suburbs of São Conrado and
Barra da Tijuca in the 60s, and later, Recreio
dos Bandeirantes.
For those with interests in Brazilian folk art,
a visit to the museum in the Casa do Pontal
in Recreio dos Bandeirantes is essential:
it has the largest and most significant
collection of folk art in the country, with
a marvelous grouping of the works of
Jacques Van de Beuque.
Interior neighborhoods like Laranjeiras,
Cosme Velho and Jardim Botânico, Lagoa
and Gávea have managed for the most part
to shield themselves from accelerated urban
growth—although within some of them
there are gross instances of “informal”
urbanization and the so-called verticalization
of slums. One of the major challenges for
the new government of the state, and
particularly for the new mayor of the city, is
the democratization of the spontaneous and
uncontrolled growth in the west and north
zones. Rio de Janeiro has a unique profile,
and a full appreciation of the city is
enhanced by the opportunity of the visitor to
have an intimate and pleasurable experience
with its great diversity.
SCHØLLHAMMER continued…
47
NEWS FROM LASA
LASA Voluntary Support
by SANDY KLINZING
Richard Adams
Jeremy Adelman
Max Aguero Fernandez
Sandra Aguilar Rodríguez
Alethia Alfonso García
Alejandro Alvarez Bejar
Silvia Alvarez Curbelo
Helene Anderson
Joan Anderson
Robert Anderson
Ronald Angel
Clara Maria Araújo
Benjamin Arditi Karlik
Ariel Armony
Cynthia Arnson
Maria Ines Arratia
Jonathan Arries
Eduardo Arturo
Wendy Ashmore
William Atkins
Karen Atkison
Craig Auchter
Robert Austin
Javier Auyero
Claudia Avellaneda
Luis Fernando Ayerbe
Florence Babb
Mervyn John Bain
Helga Baitenmann
Llana Barber
Cleoni Maria Barboza Fernandes
Anne Barnhart
Sarah Barrow
Lourdes Bates
Florencia Bazzano Nelson
Peter Beattie
Emilio Bejel
Alvaro Bello Maldonado
Suzy Denise Bermúdez Quintana
Louis Bickford
Nicholas Birns
Cole Blasier
David Block
Fabian Borges-Herrero
Tarcisio Botelho
Kirk Bowman
Viviane Brachet-Marquez
Philip Brenner
Ronald Briggs
Natalie Brody
Sherwin Bryant
Karl Buck
Jo-Marie Burt
Bruce Calder
Emilce Cammarata
Taina Caragol
Adalberto Cardoso
Glen Carman
Joyce Carman
Hubert Carton de Grammont
William Castro
Denise Cavalheiro Leite
Federico Chalupa
Paul Michael Chandler
Norma Chinchilla
Peter Cleaves
Deb Cohen
Patricia Coldwell
Cristina Contera
Janet Conway
Nicholas Copeland
Jack Corbett
James Corcoran
Romer Cornejo
Javier Corrales
Victoria Cox
Linda Craft
Marta Cruz Concepcion
Héctor Cruz-Feliciano
Marco Cupolo de Maio
Ivan Darias Alfonso
Rafael Dávila-Franco
Guillermo De La Peña
Claudia de Lima Costa
Aurelio De los Reyes
Isabel De Sena
Angelo Ricardo de Souza
Anna Deeny
Carmen Diana Deere
Nancy Deffebach
Jill DeTemple
Rut Diamint
Ubaldina Díaz Romero
Dorothy Dillon
Muchísimas gracias, muito obrigados, thank you! In a year
when difficult economic conditions have taken their toll on
contributions to non-profit organizations, LASA members
and friends have continued to dig deeply into their pockets to
support the Association. Over $43,661 in contributions were
received during 2008, including $25,000 to establish the new
Diskin Dissertation Award, which will be presented for the
first time at LASA2009 in Rio de Janeiro.
LASA was additionally honored to welcome three new Life
Members since our last report, bringing to 68 the number of
individuals who have made this significant commitment. We
are highly indebted to Eduardo Silva, Gabriela Soto Laveaga
and Anthony Bebbington for choosing a LASA Life Membership!
We send our most sincere thank you to these individual
donors to all LASA funds during 2008. Many people selected
multiple funds and made repeated gifts during the year. Their
contributions will support travel to the Rio meeting and help
LASA see to it that Congress participation is made available
to colleagues everywhere who wish to take part. We look
forward to seeing you in Rio and to introducing you to the
grantees that will benefit from your thoughtfulness. (For
additional information on Life Memberships or any of the
LASA Funds please contact the Secretariat at 412-648-1907
or at lasa@pitt.edu.)
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
48
John Dinges
Joseph Dorsey
Isabel Dos Santos
Gordon Eaton
Marc Edelman
Edward Epstein
June Carolyn Erlick
Sylvia Escárcega
Dina Fachin
Maria Soledad Falabella Luco
Paul Fallon
Alceu Ferraro
Ricardo Ffrench-Davis
Cornelia Butler Flora
Jan Flora
Jose Flores
James Foster
Claire Fox
Bonnie Frederick
Christian Freres
Henry Frundt
Leo Garofalo
Jonathan Golden
Mary Goldsmith
Carlos Eduardo Gomes Siqueira
Juan Gonzalez Mendoza
Geoff Goodwin
Colin Gordon
Laura Graham
Pamela Graham
Kathleen Grainger
Paul Greenough
Merilee Grindle
Adela Yomara Guerra Aguijosa
Carla Guerrón Montero
Matthew Gutmann
Charles Hale
Lenore Hale
Marion and Stephen Hall
Elizabeth Hamill
Nora Hamilton
Regina Harrison
Jonathan Hartlyn
Paul Haslam
Julie Hempel
James Henderson
Lucila Hinojosa Córdova
Emily Hogue
Lasse Hölck
Evelyne Huber
Juan Enrique Huerta Wong
Christine Hunefeldt
Carlos Manuel Indacochea
Ernesto Isunza Vera
Jean Jackson
Eva-Lynn Jagoe
Andrea Jeftanovic
Mariela Sonia Jiménez Vásquez
Gladys Jiménez-Muñoz
Amy Kaminsky
Temma Kaplan
Robert Karl
Terry Karl
Friedrich Katz
Leisa Kauffmann
Margaret Keck
A. Douglas Kincaid
Masao Kinoshita
Gwen Kirkpatrick
Chuck Kleymeyer
Benjamin Kohl
Robert Kruger
Aurélie La Torré
Lisa Laplante
Brooke Larson
Alex Latta
Linda Ledford-Miller
Elizabeth Leeds
Kathryn Lehman
Rogerio Leite
Michelle Lenoue
Daniel Levy
Linda Lewin
Laura Lewis
Annette Lilly
Jorge Linares Ortiz
Soledad Loaeza
Paul Lokken
Mary Long
Ryan Long
Thely Lopes
Susan Lord
Lois Lorentzen
James Loucky
Elizabeth Lozano
David Luis-Brown
Ana Bertha Luna Miranda
Marianella Machado
Andrae Marak
Alberto Martín Alvarez
Concepcion Martinez-Maske
Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel
Francine Masiello
Katherine McCaffrey
Cynthia McClintock
Mary McCue
Gillian McGillivray
Scott McKinney
Teresa Meade
Luz Mena
Claudia Mendez
Gilbert Merkx
Susan Metz
William Meyers
Maria Teresa Miceli Kerbauy
Carmen Millán de Benavides
Maxine Molyneux
Tommie Sue Montgomery-
Abrahams
Sergio Hugo Moreno
Kimberly Morse
Dorothy Mosby
Robert Moser
Maria Encarnación Moya Recio
William Mullin
Elsa Muñiz
David Myhre
June Nash
Mauro Neves Junior
Katja Newman
Bettina Ng’Weno
Katiane Nóbrega
Liisa North
Carrie Norton
William Nylen
Guillermo O’Donnell
Karl Offen
Maria Rosa Olivera-Williams
Sutti Ortiz
Alberto Ortiz, Jr.
Victor Padilla
Rafael Palma Grayeb
Cynthia Palmer
Erika Pani
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas
Anibal Perez-Liñan
Angela Pérez-Mejía
Corinne Pernet
Thomas Perreault
Stephen Perz
Melesio Peter-Espinoza
Sonja Pieck
Alexandra Pita González
Juan Poblete
Sara Poggio
Renato Prada Oropeza
Jason Pribilsky
Marie Price
Carlos Quenan
Luisa Quintero Ramírez
Rosana Ramalho de Castro
Sabeth Ramirez
Ana Ramírez Barreto
Gabriela Ramos
Joanne Rappaport
Mark Ratkus
Patricia Ravelo Blancas
Martha Rees
José Requena
Graciela Clotilde Riquelme
Amy Ritterbusch
Francesca Rivera
María Gladys Rivera Herrejon
Karen Robert
Cristina Rodrigues
María Carolina Rodríguez Acero
Maria Rogal
Francisco Rojas-Aravena
Veneranda Rubeo
Helen Safa
Héctor Luis Saint-Pierre
Rossana Salazar
David Salisbury
Sergio Sánchez Diaz
Robert Sayre
Joseph Scarpaci
Patience Schell
Andrew Schlewitz
Ella Schmidt
Jalane Schmidt
Marianne Schmink
Ben Ross Schneider
Tamara Schoenbaum
Barbara Schroder
Margaret Schwartz
T.M. (Tomás) Scruggs
David Shirk
Emma Lorena Sifuentes
Ocegueda
Lynn Sikkink
João dos Reis Silva Jr.
Cláudio Silveira
J. Richard Simon
Russell Smith
Archibald Spencer
Silvia Spitta
William Stanley
Margaret Stanton
Sally States
James Steele
Lynn Stephen
Alexander Stevens
John Stolle-McAllister
Mary Strottman
Angela Stuesse
Juana Suárez
Yuriko Takahashi
Maria Herminia Tavares de
Almeida
Clark Taylor
Lucy Frances Annie Taylor
Benjamín Temkin Yedwab
Lucero Tenorio-Gavin
Lorrin Thomas
Joseph Thome
Rosemary Thorp
Heidi Tinsman
M. Gabriela Torres
VOLUNTARY SUPPORT continued…
49
Susana Torres
Patricia Tovar Rojas
Miren Uriarte
Fernando Urrea Giraldo
María Eugenia Valdés Vega
Ruth Valenzuela
María del Carmen Valverde
Donna Lee Van Cott
Stefano Varese
Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Laura Velasco Ortiz
Carolyn Ann Walker
Ronald Waterbury
William Waters
Barbara Weinstein
Clifford Welch
Cassandra White
Robert Wilcox
Stephen Henry Wilkinson
Heather Williams
Ann Felicity Williams Daniel
Justin Wolfe
Wendy Wolford
Angus Wright
Junichi Yamamoto
Victor Yang
Marc Zimmerman
Víctor Zúñiga
We are also extremely grateful
to these organizations for
their matching contributions
for donor gifts:
Open Society Institute
The Ford Foundation
Diskin Dissertation Fellowship
Thanks to the support of the donors listed below, the first Diskin Dissertation Fellowship will be
awarded at the 2009 LASA Congress in Rio. With your help, and the generous donations from
Oxfam and from LASA, we met our goal of raising 25 thousand dollars, which will endow the
fellowship in perpetuity. Your commitment to and participation in initiatives like this one are what
helps make LASA a vibrant organization, deeply engaged with the issues of the day. The text of the
call for nominations follows:
The Oxfam-LASA Diskin Dissertation Fellowship
The award will be presented to an advanced doctoral student or recent Ph.D. The Award
Committee will employ three criteria in its evaluations: 1) Overall scholarly credentials, based on the
candidate’s curriculum vitae; 2) The quality of writing, research and analysis in the dissertation
outline and sample chapter submitted; 3) The primary advisor’s letter of recommendation. The
definition of activist scholarship shall remain broad and pluralist, to be discussed and interpreted by
each selection committee.
Thanks to the generous support from:
Note: The endowed fellowship fund will gladly accept additional donations, which would allow
us to increase the value of the dissertation fellowship over time.
Emily and Ben Achtenberg
Florence Babb
Helga Baitenmann
Alan Berger
Pamela Berger
Cole Blasier
Carole H. Browner
Jim Campen & Phyllis Ewen
Marta Casaus
Ronald Chilcote
Norma Chinchilla
Nicholas Copeland
Saul Diskin
Vilunya Diskin
Marc Edelman
Jonathan Fox
Pat Goudvis
Matthew Gutmann
Charles and Leonore Hale
Charles R. Hale
Nora Hamilton
Timothy Harding
James Howe
Jean Jackson
Karen Judd
Louis Kampf
Bill Leogrande
James Loucky
Brinton Lykes
Katherine T. McCaffrey
Cynthia McClintock
Marylin Moors
Judith Norsigian
Milagros Pereyra
Jane Pincus
Nancy Postero
Richard Reed
Helen Safa
Biswapriya Sanyal
Marianne Schmink
Rose Spalding
Jack Spence and Kathy Yih
Lynn Stephen
George Vickers
Jack Womack
LASA SECTI ONS
lasaforum WI NTER 2009 : VOLUME XL : I SSUE 1
50
Section News
The Colombia Section of LASA is pleased to
announce the competition for the Monserrat
Ordóñez Prize and the Michael Jiménez Prize.
Montserrat Ordóñez (d. 2001, Bogotá),
dedicated her life to the study and promotion
of Latin American women’s literature and the
search for new forms of literary expression
and language. The $500 Ordóñez Prize will
be awarded to an outstanding book that
continues this project. The work should be
pathbreaking and should embody a fresh and
creative approach to the study of language
and strengthens an innovative vision of the
Colombian humanities. Submissions may
take the form of narratives, ethnographies,
biographies, historical accounts, memoirs, or
essay collections. The Michael Jiménez Prize
honors Michael Jiménez (d. 2001, Pittsburgh,
USA) and his inspiring work on different
aspects of 19th and 20th century Colombian
History. This $500 prize will be awarded to
an outstanding work in the disciplines of
History, Anthropology, Political Science or
Sociology that significantly advances an
understanding of Colombian social
transformations and society. The prize will
recognize an essay collection or monograph
based on original research that employs
innovative theoretical, methodological, or
conceptual approaches and demonstrates
clear excellence and promise in shaping
contemporary debates in the field of
Colombian studies.
For further information about eligibility
and submission requirements for books
published in 2006-08), please consult:
<http://www.inmarcesibles.org/inmarcesibles/
About.cfm>.
51
PERSONAL AND PROFESSI ONAL NOTES
In Memoriam
It is with great sorrow that we announce the
passing of longtime LASA member Donna
Lee Van Cott. We have lost a prolific writer,
tireless field researcher, and generous
colleague. Dr. Van Cott was known widely to
students of Andean politics, indigenous rights
movements and political institutions. She was
an esteemed friend and colleague to many in
LASA, and was one of the most promising—
and successful—scholars of her generation.
Associate Professor of Political Science at the
University of Connecticut when she died, Dr.
Van Cott was perhaps best known to LASA
members as the founder of the Section on
Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples,
which she headed from 2003-2005, and
which now has several hundred members.
Her academic career, launched with a Ph.D.
from Georgetown University’s Department of
Government in 1998, was capped by three
critically acclaimed monographs: The
Friendly Liquidation of the Past: The Politics
of Diversity in Latin America (2000,
University of Pittsburgh Press), From
Movements to Parties in Latin America:
The Evolution of Ethnic Politics (2005,
Cambridge University Press), and Radical
Democracy in the Andes (2008, Cambridge
University Press).
David Samuels of the University of Minnesota
characterized Van Cott as “among the very
best and most influential political scientists
who studied indigenous politics in Latin
America,” but also lauded her dynamic style
and sharp humor. “She had stage presence, a
sense of humor, and an engaging, even
entertaining presentation style, while
remaining serious and professional. This is a
rare combination, and was impressive to see.”
A careful balancer of institutional and societal
considerations, the first of Van Cott’s major
works, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past,
covered the constitutional reforms of the
1990s fostering greater ethnic group
participation (especially in Bolivia and
Colombia). Her next book, From
Movements to Parties in Latin America,
which won the 2006 Best Book on
Comparative Politics Award from the
Organized Section on Race, Ethnicity and
Politics, addressed the propagation of ethnic
political parties in four Latin American
countries (including Colombia and Bolivia),
and their concomitant failure in two others
(Argentina and Peru). Finally, her last book,
Radical Democracy in the Andes, published
just last year, assessed the record of
indigenous parties in power at the local levels,
principally in Bolivia and Ecuador.
Taken together, Dr. Van Cott’s books narrate
the institutionalization of passionate and
professional indigenous movements that
evolved from social movements to political
parties, to mayors and city councils, and the
vitality of these transitions. Her work was
vital in chronicling the conversion of these
movements to governments as a
demonstration of their capability and
determination. Always adhering to the
highest standards in field research and
writing, Van Cott’s objective and critical
depictions of the struggles of movement
leaders trying to retain their original policies
and yet appeal to constantly wider groups of
constituencies, have had an enduring impact
on the study of Latin America’s indigenous
peoples, on ethnic politics, movements, and
parties, on constitutional change,
multicultural rights, and on local governance.
A Fulbright Fellow, former associate at the
Inter-American Dialogue in Washington and
former fellow at the Helen Kellogg Institute
for International Peace at the University of
Notre Dame, Van Cott received numerous
awards and was a coveted speaker. Van Cott
testified before the U.S. Congress, and
presented work regularly in forums from
Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Quito,
Ecuador, including many policy venues and
international institutions like the United
Nations, the U.S. State Department, and the
United States Institute for Peace.
In addition to her extensive publication record
and her active participation in professional
associations like LASA, Van Cott was a
passionate teacher and mentor. According to
Mala Htun of the New School for Social
Research, “Donna was always willing to
share her data and she even gave me
transcripts of dozens of her interviews to use
in my own research. Thanks to Donna,
indigenous politics is a mainstream topic of
scholarship and an essential component of
coursework on Latin America. I can’t think of
anyone more passionate and knowledgeable
about indigenous politics in Latin America.”
Van Cott’s energy in the lecture hall was
perhaps no surprise given her musical
background. A talented guitarist and singer,
Van Cott released Eclipse, an album of her
music, in 2000. Her artistic energies also
produced poems which were published in The
New Formalist in 2008. She ends a poem
titled “Advice” with the following lines:
No one ever gets to ever do all
they were meant to do. Bite into what
is true. Remember, nothing is too big to lose
or too small.
Donna Lee Van Cott perhaps did not get to
do all she was meant to do, but she will be
remembered for her impressive scholarship,
wicked sense of humor, and the
encouragement she gave to so many of us.
In memory of her tireless work to try to
diminish the resource gap between U.S. and
Latin American colleagues, donations are
being accepted by the LASA Secretariat in
Dr. Van Cott’s name to the LASA Travel Fund
for Latin American Scholars.
Todd Eisenstadt, American University
José Antonio Lucero, University of
Washington, Seattle
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The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest
professional association in the world for individuals and
institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over
5,500 members, thirty-five percent of whom reside outside the
United States, LASA is the one association that brings together
experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse
occupational endeavors, across the globe.
LASA’s mission is to foster intellectual discussion, research, and
teaching on Latin America, the Caribbean, and its people
throughout the Americas, promote the interests of its diverse
membership, and encourage civic engagement through network
building and public debate.
416 Bellefield Hall
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
lasa.international.pitt.edu
Nonprofit Org.
US POSTAGE
PAID
Pittsburgh, PA
Permit No. 511

President
Eric Hershberg, Simon Fraser University eric_hershberg@sfu.ca

Vice President
John Coatsworth, Columbia University jhc2125@columbia.edu

Past President

Table of Contents
1 2 Alfred C. Stepan | Recipient of Kalman Silvert Award for 2009 From the President | by ERIC HERSHBERG
ON THE PROFESSION

Charles R. Hale, University of Texas, Austin crhale@mail.utexas.edu

Treasurer
Kevin Middlebrook, University of London kevinmiddlebrook@aol.com

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
For term ending April 2009
Ariel Armony, Colby College Guillermo Delgado, University of California/Santa Cruz José Rabasa, University of California/Berkeley

5 7 9

¿De qué cine hablamos? Las tareas de los Estudios del Cine Latinoamericano
por CLAUDIA FERMAN

For term ending October 2010
Jonathan Hartlyn, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Teresa Valdés, Center for the Study and Development of Women (CEDEM), Chile Deborah Yashar, Princeton University

Estudos de Cinema na Universidade Brasileira | por FERNÃO PESSOA RAMOS Películas de papel: Cartografía del estudio del cine de América Latina
por GUSTAVO A. REMEDI

Ex Officio
Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Cynthia Steele, University of Washington, Seattle Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh Philip Oxhorn, McGill University

10 Latin American Cinema and Latin American Studies | by KATHLEEN NEWMAN 16 Latin American Film Scholarship in the UK: Mapping the Field | by JOHN KING
D E B AT E S

FORUM EDITORIAL COMMITTEE
Editor
Eric Hershberg, Simon Fraser University

Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
19 Introduction | by CYNTHIA STEELE 20 Against (In)equality: Bad Latin American Literature | by JON BEASLEY-MURRAY 24 Overcoming Colonialism: Writing in Indigenous Languages | by JEAN FRANCO 27 Inscriptions of Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
by IDELBER AVELAR

Associate Editor
Antonio Sérgio A. Guimarães, Universidade de São Paulo

Managing Editor
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh

FORUM EDITORIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Carlos Iván Degregori, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos Katherine Hite, Vassar College Hilda Sábato, Universidad de Buenos Aires

30 Perspectivas eco-críticas latinoamericanas: Conocimientos transpuestos recuperados | por ILEANA RODRÍGUEZ 33 ¿Existe un giro neoconservador en Latinoamérica hoy? | por JOHN BEVERLEY 36 Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Marginality in Contemporary Latin American Literature | by LUZ HORNE and DANIEL NOEMI VOIONMAA
O N L A S A 2009

LASA STAFF
Membership Coordinator
Jenna B. Bielewicz, University of Pittsburgh

Congress Coordinator
Melissa A. Raslevich, University of Pittsburgh

Assistant Director for Institutional Advancement
Sandra Klinzing, University of Pittsburgh

41 Report from the Program Chairs | by EVELYNE HUBER and CYNTHIA STEELE 42 Rio de Janeiro | por KARL ERIK SCHØLLHAMMER
NEWS FROM LASA

Executive Director
Milagros Pereyra-Rojas, University of Pittsburgh

Administrative Coordinator
Israel R. Perlov, University of Pittsburgh

47 LASA Voluntary Support | by SANDY KLINZING
LASA SECTIONS
The LASA Forum is published four times a year. It is the official vehicle for conveying news about the Latin American Studies Association to its members. Articles appearing in the On the Profession and Debates sections of the Forum are commissioned by the Editorial Committee and deal with selected themes. The Committee welcomes responses to any material published in the Forum. Opinions expressed herein are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Latin American Studies Association or its officers. ISSN 0890-7218

50 Section News
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL NOTES

51 In Memoriam | DONNA LEE VAN COTT

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

Alfred C. Stepan
Recipient of the Kalman Silvert Award for 2009
Alfred Stepan is the Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. He is also the Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance and Religion at Columbia, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of St Antony’s College at Oxford University, and a holder of the Ordem do Rio Branco, Commendador, awarded by the Brazilian Government in 2002. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, a B.A. and M.A. from Balliol College, Oxford, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Political Science. His many books and articles have made him a leading figure among scholars studying Latin American politics as well as those studying comparative politics more broadly. His first book, The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton University Press, 1971) was followed by The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective (Princeton 1978). His collaboration with Juan Linz, who was his professor at Columbia and then a colleague at Yale, has lasted into the present and produced the path breaking volumes The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Johns Hopkins 1978) and Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America and PostCommunist Europe (Johns Hopkins, 1996)—now translated into about a dozen languages including Farsi, Chinese, Croatian and Basa-Indonesian. Their latest opus, Democracy and Multinational Societies: India and Other Polities (with Yogendra Yadav), is forthcoming with Johns Hopkins University Press. At the same time, Stepan continued to write on Brazilian politics and the role of the military in politics more generally, authoring Rethinking Military Politics: Brazil and the Southern Cone (Princeton University Press, 1988) and editing Democratizing Brazil: Problems of Transition and Consolidation (Oxford University Press, 1989). As the titles suggest, the conditions supporting the establishment and preservation of democracy as a form of government securing peaceful resolution of conflicts and coexistence of different ethnic groups and religions have been the intellectual puzzle driving the research. Beginning with The State and Society, Stepan’s work has profoundly shaped the agenda of scholars interested in the nature of the state and the role of political institutions proper in shaping regime forms and in the role of the military in politics. Before going to Columbia University in 1999, Stepan taught at Yale (1970-83) where he chaired the Council on Latin American Studies (1972-1981, except when on leave); he served as Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia (1983-1991) and as first Rector and President of the Central European University and Member of the Board of Directors of the Soros Open Society Foundation (1993-96); and he was the Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford (1996-1999). He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and research grants from organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Guggenheim Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. He has lectured at more than 150 institutions in approximately 30 countries around the globe. He has lent his seemingly boundless energy to many professional and public service projects. Among them are the Annenberg/ WGBH 10-hour TV Series entitled “Americas,” which took some seven years to complete, won two awards, and remains a great teaching tool for classes on Latin America. He served for a dozen years

on the National Executive Committee of the human rights organization Americas Watch (1982-1994). In 1981-1982 he was a member of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh’s advisory group to design the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and later he served for a dozen years on the Advisory Board of the Institute. Among the many important roles Stepan has played, the role of mentor figures prominently. He has served on no fewer than forty Ph.D. dissertation committees, well more than half related to Latin America. His message to his students has been consistent: “You are writing this dissertation not for yourself and the committee—you are writing a book!” Indeed, at least twenty-five of the dissertations have been published as books, and more are on the way to publication. Colleagues and students, both present and former, from Latin America, the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, have always played central roles as intellectual partners for Stepan—members of his invisible colleges that span continents and decades. His enthusiasm for the study of politics, and his conviction that knowledge can have important practical implications have inspired generations of scholars. The long interview in Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics, by Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) illustrates well the way in which Stepan thinks about his invisible colleges and about his passion for political science and public affairs, which he passes on to his students. In response to

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by ERIC HERSHBERG | Simon Fraser University | eric_hershberg@sfu.ca
SILVERT AWARD continued…

the question how he manages to spend time in the field despite the many personal and professional obligations, he observed that “...e-mails back and forth to members of all my ‘invisible colleges’ make it easier ....Fieldwork does not just happen in the field. I sometimes feel that some of my best fieldwork happens over a long dinner at my home, when someone is visiting and we have time for a four-hour conversation” (p.431). When asked about the role of normative values in his work and engagement with public affairs, he responded: “I have always chosen to work on problems that affect a lot of people. I never understood the argument that social science should be value-free....It is difficult to find a problem you care passionately about if you don’t allow your values to influence your decision about what is important to study....I have always been much more interested in doing what I want by myself, rather than working for an administration. On the other hand...I have even been willing to insert myself into complex situations when I feel I have an analytic edge, and think I can also learn something, and make a useful contribution. In this sense, my fieldwork and my political involvement feed on each other....If I can contribute something because I have an idea about a particular public problem, I am willing to commit myself, as I have often done for human rights issues” (p. 437). Professor Stepan will participate in the Silvert panel session at the XXVIII Congress of the Latin American Studies Association on Friday, June 12, 2009, in Rio de Janeiro. More details will be in the final program booklet.

As in so many other domains, the performance of the Bush administration with regard to Latin America can only be characterized as irresponsible. Relations with Cuba and several Andean countries deteriorated; meddling in domestic affairs of sovereign, democratic states was widespread; strategies for enhancing economic cooperation were limited to the pursuit of bilateral trade accords of dubious consequences for vulnerable sectors of the population in the region; counter-narcotics policy was carried out overwhelmingly in military terms; and by loading development assistance programs with military aid the United States abdicated its responsibility as a wealthy nation to provide aid designed to advance social welfare in highly unequal societies. The failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform adversely affected many countries in the region. Meanwhile, administration policies not directly aimed at Latin America—such as the illegal detention of putative terrorists at the U.S. military installation at Guantanamo—seriously undermined our country’s reputation throughout the region as in other parts of the world. Largely as a result, U.S. influence in the region arguably reached an all time low. The advent of a new administration in Washington opens the possibility for Hemispheric cooperation based on principles of mutual respect and reciprocity. Public opinion in Latin America is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for more equal partnerships with the United States under an Obama administration. The election of an African-American candidate to the Presidency offers a rare opportunity, moreover, to restore valorizations of American democracy that were tarnished by the Supreme Court’s settlement of the contested Bush-Gore election of 2000 and the behavior of the U.S. government in the so-called War on Terror. But concrete

measures will be required in order to take advantage of this potentially watershed moment. The U.S. government could get things off to a fresh start by signaling a commitment to normalize relations with Cuba, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, and ceasing efforts by U.S. embassies and government-supported entities to influence domestic political dynamics in Latin American countries. An additional priority should be to re-orient narcotics control and development assistance programs from a military to a developmentalist paradigm. The June 2009 LASA Congress will afford a timely space for exploring how these and other objectives can be met through concerted actions by governments and civil society organizations throughout the Americas. Leading scholars from around the world will have occasion to debate priorities and the means for achieving them. That the meeting of a still predominantly U.S.-based Association will take place in Rio de Janeiro is symbolic of the imperative for such discussions to incorporate voices from the South as well as from the North. I hope that representatives of the new administration in Washington will look to the Association and its membership for insights, and that they will increase federal support for the international studies training that is crucial to the maintenance of scholarly expertise about Latin America and other regions of the world. The knowledge of researchers in American universities is a precious resource, and one that should not be ignored by policy-makers, as has so often been the case in the past. Whether we see a greater openness than in the past to scholarly perspectives, and a desire to expand understanding of peoples and cultures outside U.S. borders, will tell us much about whether the new administration is truly committed to inviting fresh perspectives on

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that directly involve our roles as researchers and educators. *** U.S. policy toward the region and on the key challenges that Latin America faces as it continues to strive for equitable development and cooperative ties to the United States. Sentiments similar to these were conveyed in an open letter sent to then-Senator Barack Obama during the closing days of the electoral campaign. In it, more than 300 scholars specializing on Latin America, including myself and a number of LASA past Presidents, called on Obama to extend his agenda for “change” to the realm of U.S. Latin America policy, and to understand that many of the injustices that his candidacy sought to address were analogous to those that have motivated processes of political renewal throughout the Americas, including in countries which the Bush administration had treated in a confrontational manner. I believe that the letter captured the views of a broad cross-section of the Latin Americanist community in the United States, and I wish to extend my thanks to Professor Arturo Escobar of the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill for taking the initiative to draft it and to recruit an impressive array of signatories. However, it is important for me to emphasize that, contrary to some portrayals on the web, where the letter circulated like wildfire, this was not a communication from LASA as an institution: many of our members may well hold differing views, and it is not for me as President to speak on their behalf on such matters. For the LASA President to take advantage of the bully pulpit is to my mind fully appropriate, but throughout my period of service I have spoken on behalf of the Association only with regard to concerns This and the four preceding issues of the Forum have featured debates about a variety of issues relating to inequalities, a theme that the program co-chairs and I articulated as central to the 2009 meeting. We have dedicated sections to discussions of race, gender, labor and education, and the next issue, which will arrive just after the June Congress in Rio and will be the last of my presidency, will contain a scholarly debates section devoted to violence and inequalities. All of these have been crafted in hopes of engaging the core topic of the upcoming meeting. But of course that Congress will encompass work on countless other issues, and this is as it should be: the Congress is meant to provide a venue for scholarship across the social sciences and humanities— and beyond—regardless of its thematic focus. Throughout my period of service to LASA, I have sought to ensure that my own intellectual agenda does not take precedence over that of the membership, for it is the latter that must drive the agenda of our Congresses. And that pluralism should be reflected in the Forum as well. Thus, we have chosen for this issue of the Forum to depart from the theme of inequalities and to share with our readers contributions analyzing contemporary debates in literary analysis and, in the On the Profession section, reviewing developments in film studies. I wish to acknowledge here the assistance of Professors Cynthia Steele, of the University of Washington, and Claudia Ferman, of the University of Richmond, in recruiting authors to contribute to this discussion and in introducing their essays. ***

My LASA-related efforts over the past several months have been focused largely on preparations for the Rio Congress. In a previous note in the Forum I stated, erroneously, that this would be the first LASA Congress held at a University. As several colleagues with first-hand memories of LASA’s initial years pointed out to me, a number of the Association’s early Congresses were held on American campuses. At that point in our history the meetings involved hundreds of scholars rather than thousands, and one of the principal challenges we face in Rio is managing a volume of participation that is unprecedented. We anticipate that as many as 8,000 people will register for the meeting, well above the 5,500 who took part in our largest event to date, the 2007 Congress in Montreal. Above and beyond the logistical question of where to lodge so many people and how to transport them from hotels to the Catholic University— challenges that we believe we have resolved thanks to the tireless efforts of LASA’s remarkably capable Secretariat staff and of our local organizing committee—we have struggled with numerous other challenges relating to the size and venue of the meeting. Let me note three of these that I believe will be of particular interest. First, as I have noted in previous issues of the Forum, the growth in numbers carries with it a growth in the demand for travel funding. LASA has steadily increased the level of resources allocated to this end, focusing on the needs of researchers based in Latin America and of graduate students from around the world. I am pleased to report that despite the adverse economic climate we have managed to raise funds to award an unprecedented number of travel grants. Still, given the disjuncture between rapidly growing demand and slowly increasing funding levels, we are able to support an ever smaller percentage of all requests. This simply highlights the imperative that

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lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 PRESIDENT’S REPORT continued… members seek alternative means of financing their participation in this and future LASA Congresses. Development and Regional Alternatives. will fund participants in eight panels at the Rio Congress. This year more than 899 individuals and 230 sessions. Culture. the Tinker Foundation has provided funds for Crossborder Studies and Migration. my strong personal preference is for the next Congress. however. Development and Regional Alternatives. and despite concerted efforts by the Secretariat. and Violence and (in)security. the Mellon-LASA seminar program. several U. I deeply regret this. Political Institutions and Processes. 4 . Whether this comes about will depend in part on how U. Economics and Development. including transport costs and potential customs difficulties. specifically our inability to organize a book exhibit at the Rio Congress. when we will issue to the membership a call for proposals. Literary Studies: Contemporary. International Relations. the Open Society Institute will support travel for participants in panels on Citizenship. as this imposed significant burdens on them. visa policies evolve under the new administration. because some of the grants we receive are track specific. I recognize the disappointment this causes. it became clear that most would choose not to attend. Finally. Jurisprudence and Society. Here is another instance in which the willingness of a new administration to pay heed to the judgments of the scholarly community would have a salutary impact on Hemispheric relations.1 Second. As planning for the Congress evolved. and the InterAmerican Foundation has provided funds for Afro-Latin and Indigenous Peoples. will get underway soon after the Rio Congress. Power. however imperfect. 28 and 20 percent of the total submissions respectively. In the end. I am optimistic that this will be a one-time problem. and deeply regret that quite a few scholars whose work I value immensely may not be able to attend the Congress as a result of their proposals having been rejected. grant support for research workshops to take place between Congresses. uneven across Congress tracks. but countless hours were expended trying to come up with a feasible solution.S. is to open the Mellon program to all tracks and to the Sections in future years. and Labor Studies and Class Relations. unfortunately. In addition. Details on this will be announced in the next issue of the Forum. It is neither practical nor reasonable to expect that LASA can fill this need. 1 Our current plan. corresponds in my assessment to best practice in our profession. and Political Subjectivities. That the next Congress will be held in Toronto (October 69. we were compelled to cancel this key component of the Congress. slated tentatively for March 2011. and I see no other way for the Association to do its work. Moreover. and Economics and Development. were notified that their proposals were not accepted. and we will arrange (as we had managed to do for Rio) to ease customs procedures for publishers transporting books across borders. and I am convinced that we had no alternative but to take the decision that we did. a second component of the Mellon initiative. to again revisit a topic addressed in previous issues of the Forum. Rights and Social Justice. as I am certain that my successors will be compelled to grapple with this difficult problem for the foreseeable future. 2010) will reduce the transportation costs incurred by North American publishers. A description of the Mellon Program was provided in my statement to the membership in the Fall 2008 issue of the Forum. there is no alternative but to increase the rate of rejection of both paper and panel proposals. with applications to be selected based on a peer review competition.S. beginning with the decision to move the 2007 Congress from Boston to Montreal. funding for travel is. I wish to alert the membership to an important downside to our decision to meet in South America. when there is growing demand but a limited number of days for the Congress and a finite number of meeting rooms. Beginning well before I was involved in LASA governance. Law.000 on construction of exhibit space that appeared likely to be empty. and to support 15-20 panels per Congress. For example. virtually no publishers signed up to take part in the exhibit. who after all had for many years attended our meetings held in North America. but I am cautiously optimistic that we will see a reversal of the Bush-era policies that. drawn from five different tracks: Histories and Historiographies. to take place once again in the United States. My hope was that their absence would be compensated in part by an unprecedented presence of Latin American publishers.based book publishers made clear their displeasure with the decision to hold meetings outside of the United States. Crossborder Studies and Migration. and will do all that I can to ensure that it not occur again. dissuaded us from holding our meetings in the United States. Politics and Public Policy. which is still being refined. Constructive and practicable suggestions would be most welcome. But decisions were made through a peer review process that. Our newest source of support. Faced with the prospect of spending $50. and Parties and Elections. Looking further ahead.

2 su objetivo es consolidar un Sistema Nacional de Comunicación Originaria en Bolivia. en soporte fílmico (16mm ó 35mm). i. Estas nuevas expresiones constituyen muchas veces tendencias colectivas de gran impacto social y cultural en sus propios medios. cuyos pasos iniciales se remontan a 1985. así como a políticas más decididas por parte de algunos gobiernos nacionales del continente. y por tanto deberían necesariamente afectar los acercamiento metodológicos a esa producción multifacética y prácticamente ubicua. vamos a referirnos brevemente al CEFREC (Centro de Formación y Realización Cinematográfica). hasta la producción fotográfica y fílmica como recurso de investigación académica. o de educación previa (no se requiere que los participantes de los talleres estén alfabetizados). El/la investigador/a hoy debería olvidar por un momento las estadísticas sobre “el cine latinoamericano” para internarse en la abigarrada selva de la revolución mediática en Latinoamérica que está teniendo lugar muchas veces a espaldas de las salas de exhibición y las universidades. y la producción de cine. las graves condiciones de dependencia en las que nació y se ha venido desarrollando el cine en Latinoamérica. Indica que.1 trabaja en la capacitación de comunicadores. como propone Pessoa. comercial. como apunta Pessoa. cuyo peor pecado es simplemente desconocer y no poder interpretar estas producciones. como una muestra paradigmática de los movimientos que se desarrollan fuera del cine industrial. los estudios del cine son todavía un área académica “en busca de reconocimiento” en cualquiera de los ámbitos académicos a los que se hace referencia en esta sección. sino que se trata de considerar el vasto espacio del campo del cine. Precisamente. para el que existe una tradición crítica de consistencia. y muchas veces fuera de ellos. o el video de arte. los programas de cine latinoamericano se acuartelan donde las lógicas de los sistemas académicos les han permitido encontrar un espacio (Newman). hoy se ven desbordadas por la generación de nuevas lógicas productivas. “de la mano de las movilizaciones sociales y políticas” se está produciendo un cine latinoamericano que una vez que cumple con los objetivos de comunicación y movilización que le son internos a las comunidades que lo producen. y que los indígenas bolivianos tiene ya un legado. Remedi nos alerta de ciertos marcos postnacionalistas y post-políticos con los que se pretende discutir la producción reciente desligándola de los procesos sociales y culturales nacionales (o comunitarios). La afirmación de que existe hoy una multiplicación de la producción cinematográfica en el ámbito latinoamericano tiene decididas implicancias metodológicas. en el que se inscriben productos de muy distinto formato.O N T H E P RO F E S S I O N ¿De qué cine hablamos? Las tareas de los Estudios del Cine Latinoamericano por Claudia Ferman | University of Richmond | cferman@richmond. es decir. fruto de distintos objetivos y métodos de producción. Es decir.e. de qué cine hablamos (o debemos hablar) cuando se piensa el cine latinoamericano. pero cabe también preguntarse en qué medida ha afectado la naturaleza misma del producto cinético. estéticas y de mercado se desarrollan en direcciones múltiples y con racionalidades diferentes. el cine latinoamericano ha llegado en la última década a un público internacional más amplio (King). e imprimiendo otra agendas críticas. desde el documental de autor. en las que las prácticas técnicas. una serie de formas de expresión y de comunicación desde su cultura que son la base sobre las que se puede desarrollar las propias formas narrativas y de expresión audiovisual. que tienen en común la “forma narrativa cinematográfica”. recorren festivales. proyecto que encabeza Iván Sanjinés. la revolución digital ha tenido un impacto comprobable en cuanto a la difusión y el acceso a la producción cinematográfica más reciente. los paradigmas de su constitución como objeto comunicativo. pasando por la producción de los Indymedia. Como apunta Remedi. y la responsabilidad de los comunicadores frente a su comunidad. El CEFREC impulsa formas de realización que enfatizan lo colectivo. en distintos soportes. Los trabajos que siguen basan su discusión en el reconocimiento de que la expresión cinematográfica latinoamericana se ha multiplicado exponencialmente (Remedi) y que. de género.edu La introducción a este grupo de trabajos en los que se abordan los desarrollos recientes en los estudios del cine comienza con la pregunta acerca del objeto de ese estudio. con la que forma a miembros elegidos por las distintas comunidades indígenas sin limitación etaria. Como señala King. Esto se comprueba en la gran dispersión de los programas dedicados a su estudio: desde los departamentos de lenguas hasta las facultades de arte. gracias a nuevas tecnologías tanto de producción (digital) como de reproducción (DVD).4 La comunicación se conceptualiza como un medio que permite 5 . Sin embargo. El presupuesto es que la comunicación es un derecho. El CEFREC. el cine de ficción.3 Esta escuela ha logrado asentar una metodología de capacitación en comunicación cinética. no sólo se trata de considerar el cine industrial. y crean sus propios circuitos de difusión. radio y televisión. Para llevar esta discusión a terrenos más concretos. cuando se crea CLACPI en México. hasta el cine de comunicación indígena (del que nos ocuparemos con más detención en un momento). ganan premiso internacionales. Los “estudios del cine” requieren entonces una definición de su objeto “amplia y sin preconceptos” (Pessoa) que permita incluir la enorme variedad de la producción en lenguaje cinematográfico que está teniendo lugar hoy en Latinoamérica: desde el cine industrial.

en el marco del Festival de LASA2009 en Río de Janeiro. Por ejemplo. o los proyectos de información en páginas y revistas en Internet. de importancia estratégica. Los canales comunicativos son verdaderos campos de batalla cultural. Andrea Hirsch. hará una presentación del proyecto. más igualitarias.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 FERMAN continued… invertir la valores de la sociedad colonial. y son precisamente estas producciones las que han recorrido los festivales internacionales y cosechado premios.5 No se puede entender en toda su dimensión los procesos que hoy está viviendo Bolivia. el canal Encuentro. Acceso a estas señales permitiría a los/las investigadores/as una aproximación muchas veces más cercana a los fenómenos culturales. como certeramente apuntan King y Remedi. Estos medios promueven. como las que se apuntan en los artículos que siguen. del “cine minero” y de Jorge Sanjinés. y el Canal 7 (Argentina). No faltan aquí algunas buenas noticias. en esta edición del Festival. artísticos y comunicativos que se están dando hoy en Latinoamérica en relación con el cine que aquella que se puede extraer de los DVDs de distribución comercial internacional. pero también los problemas permanentes para las propias comunidades latinoamericanas. metodologías de trabajo y técnicas de producción innovadoras. Una iniciativa más abarcadora es la de las plataforma Docfera. de los debates impulsados desde las distintas corrientes del Nuevo Cine latinoamericano.8 estos nuevos canales constituyen una ventana a la multifacética nueva producción. “los problemas permanentes del campo”. basado en México y Estados Unidos. no “moderno”. Lo que nos interesa destacar es que estas producciones surgen de propuestas. de las propuestas de Jean Rouch. Estas nuevas metodologías y nuevos productos están asociados con un cambio en el equilibrio de los actores políticos en el espacio latinoamericano. sino por el cambio en la distancia relativa entre productores y producto: el grupo realizador (coordinadores. Hoy. tampoco pueden serlo el debate de las políticas comunicacionales y la implementación de archivos y acerbos del cine latinoamericano. son. Precisamente. aunque en general cubren aspectos de bastante inmediatez.7 Podríamos conjeturar que estamos frente a un “cine artesanal”. y a Vincent Carelli (Video Nas Aldeias). o el proyecto de la UNESCO con la Fundación del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano. México. aunque no idénticos. encontramos en el proyecto de Video Nas Aldeias coordinado por Vincent Carelli y Mari Corrêa en comunidades aborígenes del Brasil. financian y transmiten programación de gestión latinoamericana. la fundadora y directora de este proyecto. Native Networks. etc. y los modelos de comunicación que este “cine” establece: el mismo término “público” no resulta ya descriptivo de las comunidades de recepción-producción de estos artefactos. la crucial problemática del archivo y acceso (como prefiero denominar a lo que también se designa como “preservación” y “distribución” o “difusión”) discutida con precisión por Newman.6 Similares presupuestos. si no se pone especial atención al movimiento de comunicadores indígenas. no solamente por los modos de producción de este cine. así como la vigorosa cadena Telesur (Venezuela). tales como el canal de la UNAM (TVUNAM). No hay lugar aquí para explayarnos sobre la producción de estas organizaciones: los participantes del Congreso de LASA2009 tendrán la oportunidad de ver producciones de estas organizaciones y escuchar a Iván Sanjinés (CEFREC-CAIB). Si las salas de cine continúan cerradas a gran parte de la producción independiente latinoamericana. Indudablemente. estos proyectos son herederos. y no necesariamente una cuestión “exterior” a la labor académica. Así como las bibliotecas no son extrínsecas a la tarea educativa. de alcance nacional o continental. Se trata de un/a comunicador/a “artesano/a”. que resiste la profesionalización porque ve en ella el fin de la posibilidad de comunicar. en su asociación con los procesos políticos actuales. actores. el movimiento de cine de los comunicadores indígenas se interesa especialmente por la ficción. Cito sus objetivos: “Docfera es un proyecto cultural y educativo que tiene como misión convertirse en la primera plataforma web y archivo digital de Documentales Latinoamericanos más importante del mundo”. aunque necesariamente son aisladas e insuficientes: los proyectos de acervo y distribución como los citados. educativas. También se debe mencionar aquí al trabajo de Promedios / Chiapas Media Project. las iniciativas de canales nacionales o cadenas transnacionales que constituyen parte integrante de políticas de comunicación independientes. dependiente del Ministerio de Educación. como apunta King. editores. que están impactando la naturaleza misma de la forma “cine”. a pesar de las progresivas políticas de cuotas que han implementado muchos países. y de algunas propuestas de capacitación en cine del INI (Instituto Nacional Indigenista) en México. dependiente del National Museum of the American Indian. y construir sociedades más equitativas. y por otra. Smithsonian).9 A pesar de estas iniciativas en el área de las comunicaciones. jerárquica. 6 . y en consonancia con activas políticas comunicacionales de los estados. por una parte.) no sólo no mantiene roles fijos sino que no necesariamente ingresa al sistema profesionalizado.

a área de conhecimento ‘Cinema’. México. mais ou menos articuladas em dimensão narrativa. cursos de cinema têm proliferado pelo Brasil. encontra-se predominantemente voltada para este público. Este recurso no resuelve.br Notes 1 La Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine y Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas (CLACPI) es una entidad formada por diecinueve organizaciones de diez países (Bolivia. 2 3 Estudos de Cinema é ainda uma área acadêmica em busca de reconhecimento. trabalhos experimentais plásticos em proximidade com a vídeoarte. A narrativa com imagens e sons pode ter um corte ‘ficcional’ (quando entretemos o espectador com 4 5 6 7 8 9 7 .com. el complejo problema de la subtitulación. situa-se no campo das ‘Artes’. Universidades como UNICAMP. Guatemala. ou de Cinema e Audiovisual. para órgãos de fomento à pesquisa como o CNPQ (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico). “El mercado y la política cinematográficos. que acabam transferidos para ‘Comunicação’. y César Pérez (fotógrafo y capacitador). El CEFREC tiene un convenio con la cadena de Televisión Boliviana. No currículo. No caso brasileiro. UNISINOS. nas principais universidades do país. Ciccus.” En Industrias culturales: mercado y políticas públicas en Argentina. Cursos particulares de cinema e audiovisual tiveram forte incremento nos últimos dez anos. possuem Departamentos oferecendo formação em cinema. Milton Guzmán Gironda (cineasta y capacitador). Algumas questões metodológicas devem ser mencionadas ao traçarmos a inserção institucional dos Estudos de Cinema na universidade brasileira. Universidade Católica de Recife. como no Rio de Janeiro. Antropologia Visual. Na pós-graduação. Cuba. e em alguns trabalhos de vanguarda. O campo coloca-se de forma abrangente dentro de Departamentos de Artes e Comunicações. são oferecidos diplomas de mestrado e doutorado com orientação em Cinema. UFMG. Para un análisis preciso de este fenómeno. tanto em São Paulo. fotografar. possuindo a particularidade da demanda de formação prática. Chile. Universidade Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Rio Grande do Sul). fazer roteiros. Nos últimos dez anos. sendo ministrada por professores com carreira profissional na produção cinematográfica. Predominantemente. El Alto). FAAP. no Brasil e no mundo. 2008. dirigir. El Festival y Muestra de cine de LASA se ha esforzado permanentemente por presentar una muestra lo más extendida posible de las distintas tendencias que se están desarrollando en la región. está presente uma série de disciplinas envolvendo história e teoria do cinema. Los comunicadores se agrupan a su vez en el CAIB (Coordinadora Audiovisual Indígena de Bolivia). 2003. A situação reflete-se igualmente na composição de cursos e currículos. y en el Festival de Toronto. Por ejemplo. Gabriela Zamorano completó un libro sobre la experiencia del CEFREC: El camino de nuestra imagen. em programas da USP. O curso de Cinema pioneiro no Brasil é o da Escola de Comunicações e Artes da USP. a partir de uma miríade de estilos. PUC/RGS. seguido pelo da Universidade de Brasília e pela Universidade Federal Fluminense. com pouca incidência de disciplinas como História da Arte. ver Rovito. todos ellos pertenecientes a CEFREC-CAIB. Buenos Aires: Edic. Ecuador. Brasil. Pablo y Julio Raffo. ou narrativas extensas que cotejam novelas ou mini-séries televisivas. desde da década de 60. sonorizar. A universidade particular FAAP (São Paulo) também mantém. Temos hoje cursos de Cinema. em geral carregados de disciplinas próximas ao campo da ‘Comunicação’. etc. A área de Estudos de Cinema envolve um conjunto de expressões audiovisuais. História do Teatro. Teoria Literária. também ‘espetacular’) que envolve imagens em movimento (em sua maioria conformadas pela forma da câmera) e sons. Universidades particulares como AnhembiMorumbi. A maior parte dos cursos de graduação. produzir. UFSC. SENAC e Anhembi-Morumbi. Perú y Venezuela).O N T H E P RO F E S S I O N Estudos de Cinema na Universidade Brasileira por FERNÃO PESSOA RAMOS | Universidade Estadual de Campinas | ramos. Un proceso de Comunicación Indígena. y Santos Callejas (director de la Casa Juvenil de las Culturas Wayna Tambo.fernao@terra. acessoriamente. sin embargo. um curso pioneiro. SENAC. UNICAMP e UFF. Los conceptos sobre la tarea del CEFREC provienen de entrevistas personales con Iván Sanjinés (coordinador general). Cinema é antes de tudo uma ‘forma narrativa’ (em seus primeiros tempos. Nas extremidades da definição do campo cinematográfico encontramos animações digitais. Recientemente. Assessores em ‘Artes’ muitas vezes não possuem familiaridade com projetos de pesquisa em Cinema. Universidade Federal de São Carlos. UFSCAR e também UFRJ e UNB. en el legendario festival Taos Talking Pictures (Arizona). montar. Universidade Católica de Pernambuco. La Paz: CEFRECCAIB. mantêm cursos de especialização ou mestrado stricto senso em cinema. embora historicamente tenha se vinculado a Departamentos e Sociedades Científicas da área de ‘Comunicação’. Colombia. com uma expansão nos últimos dez anos. atuar. y produce dos programas semanales de televisión “Entre Culturas” y “Bolivia Constituyente”. cursos em Estudos de Cinema encontram-se voltados para a pós-graduação. Uma boa parcela de alunos que entram em cursos de cinema tem interesse em aprender a fazer cinema: utilizar uma câmera.

Na medida em que a arte cinematográfica sofre. A Teoria do Cinema é. minorias étnicas. cenografia. etc). ou do teatro. Temas caros ao universo dos ‘estudos culturais’ (feminismo. etc). Sobredeterminando a questão tecnológica. conseguindo o ‘leitor’ elevar-se até a dimensão da mise-en-scène propriamente. roteiro. Derrida e outros. Eisenstein). falso raccord. a semiologia (Metz) e depois o pósestruturalismo de Deleuze. Zavatttini). conceito em moda dos anos 20 até os anos 60. interpretação de atores. cenas. centrados em personalidades da História do Cinema (o cinema de Bergman. portanto. não é o ensino prático de como fazer cinema (embora possa e deva interagir com esta dimensão) e também não é o estudo das mídias (televisão. são aprofundadas. que tenderia a desaparecer como outras máquinas antigas do século XIX. tiveram forte influência. raccord. É tudo isso. Nos anos 60/70/80. O cinema seria uma máquina. Também o horizonte da filosofia analítica e do cognitivismo foi mapeado de modo polêmico. mise-en-scène. das artes plásticas. Analisamos também as produções nacionais (História do Cinema Brasileiro. é comum o discurso que nega sua especificidade histórica. seqüências. Renoir. servindo de substrato para a pesquisa histórica/autoral. do construtivismo (Vertov. Neste campo cabem estudos autorais. construtivismo russo. plano-seqüência. a mediação da técnica. interdisciplinares. etc. uma mídia. No núcleo dos Estudos de Cinema vislumbramos três disciplinas diversas: ‘História do Cinema’. A análise fílmica fornece substância concreta para o trabalho com a teoria do cinema. Em História do Cinema trabalhamos a dimensão diacrônica da arte cinematográfica. Chinês. Muitas vezes as definições não são tão claras e as cartas estão misturadas. o conceitual do estruturalismo francês. sobre o mundo histórico ou pessoal). como a noção de Autor. e não uma forma narrativa. Definimos assim a pesquisa que se debruça sobre o filme propriamente e suas unidades (fotogramas. Recentemente tem aumentado o espaço da pesquisa em cinema documentário dentro da história da produção cinematográfica mundial. veiculada através de mídias diversas. Temas que envolvem a própria noção de história e a possibilidade de sua periodização são trabalhados pela bibliografia em Teoria do Cinema. estudos de gênero. História e Cinema. impressionismo francês.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 RAMOS continued… hipóteses sobre personagens e tramas fictícias) ou ‘documentário’ (quando entretemos asserções. Nossa visão é que o cinema é uma forma narrativa relativamente estável. entre outros. Imagem Digital e Cinema etc. é importante esclarecer uma questão. Em função do movimento contínuo. Francês. Dulac. O ponto clássico da análise fílmica é a montagem. fotografia. a narrativa que veicula 8 . A sobreposição cinema/mídia no conceito de audiovisual leva à confusão entre instância narrativa e a mídia que é veiculada. planos. Elementos estilísticos como profundidade-de-campo. postulados. Rocha. internet). A análise fílmica detalha a dimensão estilística do cinema. Olhar o estilo é o último degrau que se consegue percorrer no corpo-a-corpo com o filme. Balazs). O objetivo desta educação deve ser o abandono dos níveis mais imediatos de conteúdo. Estudos de Cinema. acompanhando um aprofundamento da tendência analítica/cognitivista na contraposição aos estudos culturais. Para terminar este breve apanhado dos Estudos de Cinema. Outro ponto que tem chamado a atenção na Teoria do Cinema é o questionamento da noção de ‘nacionalidade’ na definição dos diversos cinemas nacionais. nem das humanidades (antropologia e história). analisar exige uma verdadeira educação do olhar. através da influência do impressionismo (Epstein. espaço fora-decampo. oscilando em sua forma em função do quesito tecnológico. seus diferentes períodos e movimentos. o pós-modernismo. da fenomenologia (Bazin. desde sua origem. Estudos cruzados. embasando a reflexão. transforma Estudos de Cinema em estudos de mídia. realismo italiano. e da ampla quantidade de elementos que marcam a estilística cinematográfica. A reflexão recente sobre cinema documentário mostra-se densa. mas o campo do cinema pode ser definido se pensado de modo amplo e sem preconceitos. entre Literatura e Cinema. ‘Teoria do Cinema’ e ‘Análise Fílmica’. olhar. Na abordagem dos momentos em que as vanguardas do século XXI cotejam o cinema (expressionismo alemão. Em geral. A Teoria clássica do cinema também compõe este campo de estudo. do realismo (Kracauer). uma disciplina dos Estudos de Cinema que fundamenta estudos históricos e autorais. se uma mídia evolui tecnologicamente. etc) podemos constatar uma abrangência se delineia para além do estreitamente narrativo. música. Noções essenciais para o estabelecimento desta história. Um terceiro horizonte dos Estudos de Cinema pode ser delimitado na Análise Fílmica. cinema experimental. posição expressa muitas vezes através do conceito de ‘audiovisual’. a questão do sujeito) percorreram de modo intenso o campo dos estudos de cinema nos últimos dez anos. Lacan. etc). compõem os tijolos sobre os quais se constrói a estilística cinematográfica. Welles. entrada e saída de campo. trazendo em seu centro irradiador a forma narrativa cinematográfica. falas. possuem ampla bibliografia. da literatura. Pintura e Cinema. estudos sobre História do Cinema detêm-se no cinema ficcional. Teatro e Cinema. portanto. surrealismo. Para esta visão.

ya se han encargado de ello (Burns 1975. un “discurso”—teórico. manifiestos y artículos en revistas culturales. histórico—acerca del cine latinoamericano. políticas. Schumann 1987.) y experimentaron con diversas disciplinas artísticas (teatro. aunque más tarde dictó el primer curso de cine en el Instituto Central de Arte de la Universidad de Brasília y dirigió el Instituto 9 . o por lo menos cobró impulso. Martin 1997). por ejemplo. e sua história. entre otros. el lenguaje y la técnica cinematográfica. la relación con el público. “Por un cine imperfecto” de García Espinosa. Nos proponemos aquí echar luz sobre diversos aspectos del tortuoso devenir del estudio del cine e identificar algunas tareas pendientes. Sanjinés estudió en Chile y luego dirigió el Instituto de Cine de Bolivia. etc. Jorge Sanjinés. Chanan 1993. surge uma esquizofrenia entre análise e conteúdo. dimensão que realça sua estilística particular. Postura que traz um ranço normativo. Al volver a Cuba. así como un conjunto de nuevos desafíos y riesgos. ocasionalmente de cine (Cine Cubano. de los temas que debía abordar. abrindo-se enquanto campo de conhecimento. música). lo que se ha teorizado y escrito también parece haber llegado a un punto de inflexión. entre outros aspectos. A visão tecnológica evolucionista. É para esta estilística. Eran.edu também deve desaparecer. Para lidar com esta dificuldade criou-se o conceito de ‘audiovisual’ que expressa. La mayoría de estos realizadores-ensayistas cursaron diversos tipos de estudios universitarios (derecho. no obstante. la perspectiva a adoptar. expressa na demanda insistente de um outro Cinema. Mora 1989. teatro. Sí es preciso señalar que fue en el contexto del surgimiento del cine comprometido de los años 60 y 70 (del llamado Nuevo Cine o Tercer Cine) que también nació. Burton (1986) recoge. Pick 1993. Los únicos estudios formales de Pereira dos Santos fueron en Derecho. Tan importante como hacer cine es hallar el lugar y el momento para reflexionar sistemáticamente acerca de él. que possui forte presença na universidade brasileira. ni tampoco la del cine producido en cada uno de los países del continente. comenzó en el Intituto Fílmico de la Universidad Católica de Chile pero se graduó en la Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía de Madrid. 1x1. Cine y Liberación) reflexionaban y escribían acerca de su arte: de su relación con la sociedad. Nelson Pereira dos Santos. o desejo da redução cinema/mídia. Tal es el caso. por su parte. Diversos autores. Glauber Rocha. da internet. en 1959. Burton 1986. bastante establecidos. No es aquí el lugar para repasar la historia general del cine en América Latina. formal. poesía. com o surgimento da televisão. o campo dos Estudos de Cinema tem em seu núcleo a dimensão diacrônica da narrativa cinematográfica. del modo de tratarlos. “La dialéctica del espectador” de Gutiérrez Alea. En su mayoría. García Espinosa. Chanan 1985. King 1990. También se organizaron centros e institutos dedicados a estos efectos. etc. García Espinosa participó de la creación del Instituto Cubano del Arte y la Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC). filosofía. Como isto não ocorre. una muestra del pensamiento teórico de estos realizadores. “Un cine junto al pueblo” de Sanjinés. Fernando Solanas. Cine del Tercer Mundo. que atraviesa un período de auge. Algunos de sus ensayos más importantes—“La estética del hambre” de Rocha. Na realidade. el problema de la financiación y distribución. fueron los propios cineastas los que por medio de entrevistas. Octubre. Martin 1997). Patricio Guzmán. En cuanto a sus “estudios de cine”. la situación fue variada: Gutiérrez Alea. de Gutiérrez Alea. 2004. tem dificuldades em lidar com a evidência da simultaneidade entre novas e antigas mídias que não convergem. Ojo al cine. ou desaparecer. Fueron los comienzos del pensamiento y el estudio del cine de América Latina. Fernando Birri. Armes 1987. que se orienta Estudos de Cinema. querendo determinar como o cinema deve ser. con los desafíos políticos y culturales del momento. ou das novas máquinas produtoras de imagens. que se adeque a nova máquina midiática. mesas redondas. REMEDI | Trinity College | gustavo. A su regreso a Argentina.O N T H E P RO F E S S I O N Películas de papel Cartografía del estudio del cine de América Latina por GUSTAVO A.remedi@trincoll.—fueron recopilados y traducidos al inglés (Pick 1978. en sus entrevistas. Pero al igual que el cine de América Latina. García Espinosa y Fernando Birri estudiaron en el Centro Esperimentale della Cinematografia en Roma. intelectuales que concebían la cultura y el arte como un instrumento al servicio del cambio político y social. Johnson y Stam 1995. año de la Revolución. Octavio Getino. historia. Birri fundó el Instituto de Cinematografía de la Universidad del Litoral.

Y tercero. “la cultura de masas” (Adorno). una de las áreas geográfico-culturales de los programas de Estudios Internacionales. ni la academia latinoamericana ni la extranjera se interesaron mayormente por el cine en América Latina. Pereira dos Santos. a un segmento culto y radicalizado de la clase media—muchos de ellos jóvenes y universitarios—que constituían su público pero que también eran protagonistas de los procesos de cambio social. los programas de estudios de América Latina. algunos cientistas sociales “latinoamericanistas” (interesados en la historia. En América Latina. los estudios del cine y la TV. el arte mecánicamente reproducido (Benjamin) y “la mitología de la sociedad de consumo” (Barthes). “tangible”. a los aficionados al cine nucleados en las cinematecas y los cineclubes (que muchas veces publicaban sus propios boletines y revistas). Esto vale tanto para el género documental como para el cine de ficción. el retorno a la democracia en los 80) lo que motivó a algunos intelectuales en Europa y Estados Unidos a interesarse por el cine en América Latina. y sobre todo. Distinto fue el panorama en Estados Unidos o Europa donde debido a un mayor desarrollo de la industria de los medios masivos y a un mayor desgaste del tradicional paradigma de las bellas artes el estudio del cine se desarrolló en forma más temprana. no obstante. social y política. Rocha. de la cultura popular y los estudios culturales. aun cuando no fuera del todo nueva. Mora. era una imagen más incisiva. político y cultural que caracterizaron este acalorado período de la historia. siguió intentando captar y explorar críticamente la realidad histórica. precisamente. Por otro lado. espacial y poético propio de este poderoso medio expresivo. El amante. López. de Burton o Shaw. ofrecía una nueva visión y una nueva imagen de la realidad histórica. memorable. Stock. Noriega o Aufderhaide. no ha de extrañar que quienes se dedicaron al estudio y enseñanza del cine de América Latina en el mundo anglosajón se formaran y desempeñaran en la intersección de diversas disciplinas y campos: por un lado. que nucleaban a realizadores. Sanjinés.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 REMEDI continued… de Arte y Comunicación Social de la Universidad Federal Fluminense. Pick. por ejemplo. Burton. En efecto. el análisis y la crítica de lo que unos llamaron “las prácticas culturales de las clases populares” (Williams). con una casi total desatención y desinterés por “la cultura de masas”. según López “hasta la década de los 80 era casi imposible encontrar un libro o más de una o dos monografías en idioma inglés dedicadas al cine latinoamericano” (1991). No es casual que la revista virtual argentina dedicada al cine se llame. Tal es el caso. el modo en que el cine acompaña y se articula con el proceso histórico cultural del continente. En los 80 y 90. social y cultural. Solanas y otros autores pasaron a ocupar en el campo del cine el mismo sitial que ocupaban en la literatura los autores del “boom” literario: Carpentier. precisamente. indéxico. la televisión. traicionando su objetivo de estudiar la cultura más allá de la alta cultura y del arte). los cineclubes y alguna revista. Martin. Pese a ello. Lo mismo ocurrió con una parte de la crítica literaria—que se aventuró un paso más allá de la ciudad letrada—para quienes Gutiérrez Alea. A la luz de lo anterior. García Márquez. Cortázar. Rulfo. además. la de Birmingham o la semiótica francesa (Getino 2002) incentivaron y organizaron el estudio. Berg. y por supuesto. críticos (muchos de ellos. muy diferente al que habían imaginado los impulsores del Nuevo Cine. letrado o no. Guzmán. salvo contadísimas excepciones. Foster. La creación de las carreras de periodismo y las escuelas y licenciaturas en comunicación en los 70 y 80—en el contexto de las dictaduras y con intereses ya muy alejados del propósito del cambio social— privilegiarán la prensa escrita. y en especial. la sociedad o la política de América Latina) también descubrieron y se ocuparon del papel que jugaba la cultura y dentro de ella el cine. discusión y elaboración de un discurso acerca del cine latinoamericano estos realizadores tuvieron por interlocutores a otros intelectuales o críticos que se desempeñaban en periódicos y revistas culturales. La reflexión sobre el cine siguió girando alrededor de los institutos y escuelas de cine privadas. en buena parte. El (nuevo) cine latinoamericano. En esa tarea de reflexión. Onetti. la radio. como en el caso de Chanan. la publicidad. la pintura. la preocupación cultural y estética en el medio académico seguía centrada en las bellas artes (la literatura. Podalski y un sinnúmero de 10 . sostenida por el carácter iconográfico. que en América Latina. Fue el interés y el compromiso con el proceso político de América Latina (el contexto revolucionario de los 60. la cultura de masas y los estudios culturales que de la mano de la Escuela de Frankfurt. legible. Johnson. De todos modos. Buchsbaum. deja entrever un cambio en el papel social del cine. Ello fue además alimentado y reforzado por la creación de áreas universitarias dedicadas al estudio de la cultura popular. la música). (Uno de los peligros que enfrentan los estudios culturales es. la “hegemonía” cultural (Gramsci). accesible al gran público. autodidactas) y amantes del cine. una vanguardia por otra. las dictaduras militares de los 70. La revista virtual chilena La fuga. caer en la tentación de reemplazar una forma de arte por otra. Tal es el caso de King. los estudios literarios.

la emergencia de una nueva generación de estudios del cine. las bibliotecas y el salón de clase. estéticos y de análisis de obras más allá de breves reseñas periodísticas. caso de Stevens (1997) o Baugh y Schoenecke (2004). caso de Gumucio (1983). (Ver Getino [2002]. Cuarto. para el estudio de América Latina) si es que existen. o como referentes de peso a escala continental. o a los sistemas de compras. También. la dispersión que caracteriza los escritos sobre el cine y la dificultad para acceder a las publicaciones del otro hemisferio. Los institutos y escuelas privadas en general también son débiles para consolidarse como usinas de investigación. y los que hay fueron realizados en el extranjero. con nuevas preocupaciones y agendas que intenta ir más acá y más allá del Nuevo Cine. acerca de los cuales hoy disponemos de una cuantiosa bibliografía. Si a ello le sumamos el desinterés histórico por el estudio de la cultura popular. Quinto. Es posible que algún día internet resuelva parcialmente este problema (Cineaste Otoño 2008). las formas de apoyar financieramente su producción. son incipientes y débiles. evasivo y para pasar el tiempo (que. y un pequeño número de películas y autores. principalmente acerca de Argentina. organizaciones. Las dificultades económicas también impactan en el terreno estético y de propuesta cinematográfica. a excepción. Aparte de los estudios históricos—que predominan—. y que debido a la distribución de libros y periódicos. o entre cine y literatura (Podalski. no siempre encuentra la forma de llegar hasta el mundo académico. Shaw [2003]. el problema del desigual desarrollo y organización de los estudios latinoamericanos como campo transdisciplinario. Latin American Research Review2. o Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies5. Segundo. Lo mismo ocurre con las revistas. pese a ello. quizás. sobre todo en el marco de una explosión de creación cinematográfica y la coexistencia de al menos tres o cuatro generaciones. 2006) y Paranaguá (1985. los realizadores y productores artísticamente más ambiciosos estéticamente y socialmente más comprometidos. Distinto es el caso de los estudios de los cines nacionales. la distinta evolución del estudio del cine en una y otra región. de crear fondos. El estudio de América Latina. leyes. en reemplazo de la literatura. pero que enfrenta nuevos desafíos y riesgos. en la intersección entre cine e historia.autores que han publicado en revistas no especializadas en cine como Revista Iberoamericana1. en donde el cine. redes y formas de cooperación con tales fines. Brasil. las industrias culturales. Esto presenta dos obstáculos para acceder a estos trabajos desde América Latina: uno económico y otro lingüístico. en su mayoría de corta de vida. The Americas3. Además de la dispersión y débil institucionalización del estudio del cine apuntada por diversos autores—y que pronto descubre cualquier investigador—el estudio del cine de América Latina ha generado dos bibliotecas: una en castellano y otra en inglés. la academia latinoamericana sigue estando mayoritariamente organizada—dividida—en disciplinas y facultades separadas. la cultura de masas y el cine en particular. Getino (2002. Hoy los estudios del cine de América Latina atraviesan por una verdadera explosión pero deben sortear una serie de obstáculos. de la Fundación del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano en La Habana. Muchos de los estudios recientes más sistemáticos y de referencia están publicados en inglés. pasan a tomarse como resumen y condensación de la cultura latinoamericana. (Getino 2006) Más raros o escasos son los abordajes teóricos. 2002). Son escasos los estudios de autor latinoamericano acerca del cine continental como conjunto. Tercero. 2003). En contraste con el mayor desarrollo institucional de los mismos en el Norte. por consiguiente. enseñanza y divulgación. ocurre en forma compartimentada y desigual (dependiendo de cada disciplina) y los centros interdisciplinarios (por ejemplo. tanto en el Sur como en el Norte. recién mencionado). debido a las carencias económicas. Elena y Díaz López [2003]. es preciso estudiar). Inversamente. se ven forzados a optar por obras prolijas y 11 . o las bibliografías en línea de la Universidad de California-Berkeley o el Centro de Información e Investigaciones de la Fundación del nuevo Cine latinoamericano. el problema de la circulación y el acceso a las realizaciones mismas. sin claudicar por completo en su independencia. Sexto. buena parte de la reflexión y el discurso acerca del cine en América Latina hoy gira principalmente en torno a la institucionalidad del cine. se corre el riesgo de prescindir de investigar y acceder a lo que se ha escrito y publicado en América latina. Por su parte. o socializar los medios de producción aprovechando la revolución digital. está claro que no ha existido un espacio institucional lo suficientemente apto como para albergar el estudio del cine latinoamericano. Para comenzar. la barrera del idioma. argentino y brasilero es un cine comercial.5 Otro obstáculo a superar es el menor desarrollo de los estudios latinoamericanos como campo transdisciplinario en América Latina. que nacieron al abrigo del proyecto de los estudios del área. incluidas las publicaciones virtuales. de viabilizar—multiplicar—la distribución y exhibición de las películas. Buena parte del cine mexicano. pero todavía las bibliotecas y la mayoría de las publicaciones virtuales ni contienen todo lo publicado en castellano ni son de acceso público. Cuba y México. el riesgo a una nueva mistificación.

o lo hacen tardíamente. Toronto o Berlín. etc. capturó y hasta monopolizó el interés—y la fantasía política—de los estudios del cine. El problema se agrava para las películas no comerciales. Esto no significa que no existan méritos estéticos y diferencias formales y de tratamiento dignas de consideración y estudio siempre que las queramos descubrir. Pick 1993. los documentales (Burton 1990. desafíos poscoloniales. Wood sostiene que parte de dicha atracción responde a que la diferencia era más obvia que en obras y estéticas anteriores y posteriores.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 REMEDI continued… fácilmente legibles para espectadores y críticos formados en las convenciones estéticas y cinematográficas de los grandes mercados. el estudio del cine latinoamericano sufre de dos males opuestos: o se basa en un pequeñísimo número de películas que consiguen penetrar el mercado global (pero que no es representativo y quizás sea lo menos interesante). Elena y Díaz 2003. por creadores jóvenes y en otros circuitos y formatos: cortos. tanto clásicas como contemporáneas. Shaw y Dennison 2005. Chanan 2003. la inmensa mayoría de las películas que se producen y se ven en América Latina difícilmente entran en el mercado global o los ámbitos dedicados al estudio del cine. San Sebastián. Lo cierto es que como muestran King 1990. y a las oportunidades de legitimación y promoción que ofrecen los grandes festivales y premios (Cannes. Al margen de las películas más fácilmente comercializables y digeribles que hoy conforman el nuevo canon (pongamos por caso. Como agua para chocolate. Los diarios de motocicleta). los videos y las películas en soporte digital. nadie vio ni verá nunca. o porque se apartan demasiado del patrón que fija Hollywood. las distribuidoras y las propias salas de cine. la violencia.). ejercicios virtuosistas y más de una concesión a las fórmulas de Hollywood a las que el público local ya se ha acostumbrado. Es decir. Al margen de los inconvenientes para acceder a lo que se escribe y publica en los infinitos rincones del continente. De lo anterior se desprende que otro de los desafíos que enfrentan los estudios del cine latinoamericano es poder escapar al hechizo—al carácter monumental—del Tercer Cine o el Nuevo Cine en su estado más crudo y radical (de los 60 y 70). Allí radica parte del abandono de la experimentación formal y la búsqueda de nuevos lenguajes propio de los 60 y 70. lucha contra la discriminación étnica. su carácter experimental. la lucha por la memoria. otro problema igualmente acuciante es la dificultad para conocer. tanto el “nuevo cine” como el cine emergente se las ingenió para sobrevivir. Estación central. las ciencias sociales u otras humanidades—y su utilización como instrumento para conocer y estudiar la realidad continental también corre el riesgo de crear una nueva clase de mistificación. la burocracia. Paranaguá y Avellar 2003). y que por su diferencia formal. en las que la diferencia existe pero es más sutil y menos visible “a los ojos extranjeros”. También. los cortometrajes. Hollywood) una vez superada la primera etapa: Rotterdam. o trata de obras muy importantes y significativas. López (2006) y Wood (2008) señalan que uno de los aportes de los estudios de cine más recientes es la preocupación por la historia del cine anterior y posterior al Nuevo Cine: dos continentes recién descubiertos. realzar y elevar a su justo plano. los nuevos autores no se han conformado simplemente con “contar otras historias con los mismos medios” (el lenguaje de Hollywood) como sugieren Fornet (en Stock 1997 xiii) o Falicov (2007 418). de género. Como resultado. El interés por el cine de América Latina— reemplazante de turno de la literatura. a veces porque no tienen subtítulos. todo lo cual ha crecido exponencialmente de la mano de las movilizaciones sociales y políticas (Aufderheide 2000) y las nuevas tecnologías. colapso del libre mercado. sobre todo en las últimas décadas. Unas veces esto se debe a problemas de distribución. La Habana. Shaw 2003. documentales. juegos sutiles pero no muy arriesgados. la fractura social y cultural. en la medida que el cine es solamente una forma de representación entre muchas otras y no tiene por qué privilegiarse frente a otras prácticas sociales y discursos simbólicos. etc. desilusión tras el retorno de la democracia. 2007. Pese al inmenso poder de las majors y las grandes corporaciones que dominan la industria cultural. y numerosas colecciones recientes (Stock 1997. otras de derechos. La necesidad de interesar y llegar al gran público nacional. Noriega 2000. La historia oficial. otras porque vienen en formatos incompatibles. racial. Por ello recomienda usar “un peine más fino” (248). de que el espectador local se sienta representado y tenido en cuenta. el cine latinoamericano igual se hizo un lugar como uno de los principales instrumentos formativos de la opinión pública y la identidad cultural. ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?. o los conocedores. y a la vez aspirar a una exhibición internacional también ha resultado en no pocos aciertos y aportes en materia de temas y tratamiento formal. que más allá del ámbito local. videoclips. su sofisticación teórica. responder y aportar lo suyo en el marco de los distintos contextos y encrucijadas que le tocó afrontar: dictaduras militares. poder ver y exhibir lo que se está produciendo en los distintos países de América Latina. Cada vez más se recurre a las oportunidades de financiación que ofrece el Primer Mundo. un interés por combinar el estudio histórico o 12 . el drama de la migración y el exilio. Stevens 1997.

Barcelona: Gustavo Gili. Cine Iberoamericano. Latin American Cinema: Film and history. México: Stunam-Cimca. María Lourdes Cortés. “Cinema” [From the Silent Film to 1990]. 2003. Virginia Gibbs. Film Quarterly. ___________y Susana Velleggia. eds. 2006. no obstante. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center / University of California. Tamara Falicov. ___________. Cine. Jesús Martín Barbero. 2 (2008). Scott L. Madrid: Alianza Editorial. 1987. 1999. Screen. Visible Nations… (2000). etc. Notas 1 Ver. Framework. 5 Fuentes bibliográficas Patricia Aufderheide. de Ignacio Sánchez Prado sobre Amores perros. Cineaste) se llega a ellas mediante bibliotecas y bases de datos privadas o el pago de una suscripción. Encyclopedia of Latin American History & Culture. ___________. Latin American. John King. Ver. o el número especial dirigido por Podalsky (2002). “Latin American Film” (Review Article). “Grassroots Video in Latin America”. 4 Pienso. Sight and Sound. Virginia Higginbotham. 3 (October 2005) 27382. Luis Martín Cabrera y Daniel Noemi Voionmaa sobre Machuca. Eds. 413-9. Austin: University of Texas Press. Michael Chanan. por ejemplo. Wood y Page (2005) advierten. 1995. Octavio Getino. The Cinema of Latin America. LARR 43. Fundación del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (Cuba). Gustavo Subero. Encyclopedia of Latin American History & Culture. and Brazilian Cinema” LARR 40. Magical Reels: A history of Cinema in Latin America. 2003. Revista Iberoamericana LXXIV 223 (AbrilJunio 2008). “Fast Frames: Insights into Mexican. Tal la tentación de estudiar el cine latinoamericano desde marcos teóricos postnacionalistas y post-políticos bajo la influencia de una vaga idea de “globalización”—mar de los sargazos en que ha naufragado parte de la crítica literaria— quitándolo de su contexto. Austin: University of Texas Press. Film & History 34 1-2 (2004). Tierra en trance: El cine latinoamericano en 100 películas. por ejemplo.institucional—más frecuentado en América Latina—con los análisis textuales más característicos de la crítica europea y norteamericana (Wood 255). Cuban Cinema. 3 (1992). Cinema and social change in Latin America: Conversations with filmakers. desligándolo de procesos sociales y culturales nacionales. por ejemplo. ___________. 2002. 2nd Edition (2008). de Richard Gordon sobre La última cena y Chico Rei. 419-23. 2003. México: Tauros. Schoenecke. Bradford Burns. ed. Randal Johnson y Robert Stam. convenciones y géneros cinematográficos. Los desafíos del nuevo siglo. de Deborah Martin sobre ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?. el peligro de subordinar el estudio del cine latinoamericano a los imperativos y debates teóricos del Primer Mundo perdiendo de vista aquello que queda fuera de “la mirada extranjera” o los intereses. “Special Issue: Latin American Film”. “Fear of the Trannies: On the Filmic Phobia of Transvestism in the New Latin American Cinema”. Latin American. Close Up. El cine de las historias de la revolución. Pittsburgh: University of Pittburgh Press. de James Cisneros sobre Patricio Guzmán y Raúl Ruiz. Julianne Burton. 24 Images. Quarterly Review of Film & Video. Cinema and the Sandinistas. Costa Rica: Editorial Veritas. Geoffrey Kantaris. 3 (2008). están disponibles en internet pero salvo excepciones (Jump Cut. London: Mayflower. The Social Documentary in Latin America. Paul Schroeder “Latin American Silent Cinema: Triangulation and the Politics of Criollo Aesthetics” LARR 43. Baugh y Michael K. “Fast frames: Insights into Mexican. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. eds. 1983 Virginia Higginbotham.. New York: Columbia University Press. Buenos Aires: Altamira. Alfonso Gumucio Dagrón. La pantalla rota: Cien años de cine en Centroamérica. 1990. Jonathan Buchsbaum. censura y exilio en América Latina. 1986. Ver el número especial sobre “Latin American Film History” dirigido por Ana M. agendas y fantasías de la crítica (Willemen 2006). 2nd Edition (2008). o no tomando en cuenta el modo en que los autores—o las distintas coyunturas y espacios culturales—modifican e imprimen su sello a los lenguajes. 203-215. New York: Verso 1990. 2 3 13 . 3 (2005). o Virginia Gibbs (1992). 219-238. publicados en 2006 y 2007. sobre la relación entre cine y nación. 1975. 2003. Brazilian Cinema. Cahiers du Cinema. Alberto Elena y Marina Díaz López. De los medios a las mediaciones. “El cine urbano y la tercera violencia en Colombia”. and Brazilian Cinema” (Review Essay) Latin American Research Review 40. en Chon Noriega. “Cinema” [Since 1990]. López (2006). en los trabajos de Joanna Page (2005). Latin American Research Review 27.

1896-2004. NC: McFarland. Wood. Laura Podalsky. The New Brazilian Cinema. ed. 2005. 1 (1988): 266-75. Tradición y modernidad en el cine de América Latina. 2005. J. Ana M. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1985. 2003. “Setting Up the Stage: A Decade of Latin American Film Scholarship”. Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society. Michael T. Historia del cine latinoamericano (Trad.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 REMEDI continued… John King. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. López. Quarterly Review of Film and Video 12. Lanham. Madrid. Visible Nations. A Quarterly Review of InterAmerican Cultural History 63. _________. 2003. Latin American Research Review 23. Wilmington. Deborah Shaw. 2 (August 2008) 245-259. eds.. 239-260. Martin. gender and national identity. ___________. ed. Contemporary Latin American Cinema. El cine documental en América Latina. 1993. Del. 1997. Jefferson. The Americas. ed. ___________. Latin American Cinema and Video. Critical Theory in Recent Works”. Framing Latin American Cinema. 199 (Abril-Junio 2002). 1993. 1997. The New Latin American Cinema. Based on a True Story. Austin: University of Texas Press. Carl Mora. The New Latin American Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Oscar Zambrano). Cátedra. Zuzana Pick. Cynthia Ramsey. 1997. Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Contemporary Cinema of Latin America: Ten Key Films. A Continental Project. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá. Latin American cinema: Essays on Modernity. London: BFI. Lucía Nagib. “The State of Things: New Directions in Latin American Film History”. London and New York: Taurus. David M. Mediating two worlds: Cinematic encounters of the Americas. Anne Marie Stock. 2 Vols.: SR Books. 1-3 (1991). Stevens. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. NC y Londres: McFarland. Chon Noriega. 2003. Contemporary critical perspectives. López y Manuel Alvarado. ___________ y José Carlos Avellar. 2003. “Third Cinema in Latin America. ed. Jefferson. Ana M. Cinema na América latina. Mexican National Cinema. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 17. Breaking into the Global Market. “With Foreign Eyes: EnglishLanguage Criticism in Latin America”. Andrea Noble. Special Issue of Revista Iberoamericana LXVIII. 2000. 14 . Latin American History at the Movies. Donald F. Buenos Aires: Cine Libre/Editorial Legasa. “Literatura y cine en América Latina”. 1987. Porto Alegre: L & PM Editores. 2005. Peter Schumann. 2007. Lisa Shaw y Stephanie Dennison. 2 (October 2006). New York: Continuum. London and New York: Routledge.

often facilitated by LASA or SCMS. such as restored versions of films by Glauber Rocha currently available or under preparation in Brazil. For research on twentieth century film (fiction or documentary. there are strong connections between film studies faculty based in the United States and those based in Latin America. English and Portuguese on Latin American Cinema over the last two decades has corrected a perception in U. Cuba). spoke on the ways in which LASA and SCMS might combine efforts.S. Preservation and access to film trade journals for the silent period varies from country to country: recently. once again. Communications Studies. or when museums. scholars of U. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The increase in scholarship in Spanish. undertake to publish DVD collections of films by contemporary filmmakers. thus becoming our collection’s one and only meta-maleta.S. it made its way to the University of Iowa in the suitcase of a colleague. Latin Americanist film scholars have attended meetings of the Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos de Cinema (SOCINE). English. at the invitation of the LASA Film Section. that is. Guadalajara. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá’s Tradición y modernidad en el cine de América Latina and John King’s Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America (Second Edition) remain the two best overviews of Latin American film history (including popular cinema. at times. The change in media technology over the last decades has profoundly affected the study of film. commercial cinema.edu In the United States. At the LASA International Congress in Montreal in 2007. universities with strong graduate programs in film studies do attempt to build a collection reflecting the breadth and depth of Latin American film history. how the film would have been seen when projected in a film theater. but funding can be limited and DVD releases difficult to obtain. though.S. the Modern Language Association (MLA).” film remains an ephemeral medium. Both the MLA and LASA have film sections that meet at.-based film scholars belong to two or three professional organizations: the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS). the publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. among others. for example. features or shorts). founded the Latino Caucus. University of Southern California. since 2002. requiring media libraries eventually to upgrade. U. Latino Film. São Paulo. scholars prefer to study the original 35mm or 16mm films. particularly when complemented by Ana M. University of California at Berkeley. As would be expected for scholars in Latin American Studies. it is clear that the DVD is another media platform that will fall by the wayside.S. the “Fourth International Congress: Women and Silent Film” was hosted by the Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades of the Universidad de Guadalajara in 2006. while we have passed or are in the process of passing from the “celluloid age” to the “digital age. (When the Maleta de cine colombiano became available in Bogotá. and most national capitals in Latin America have public and private filmmaking schools (one major international school for filmmakers is based in San Antonio de los Baños. University of California at Los Angeles. New York University. film scholarship that all Latin American film was politically-committed New Latin American Cinema. the Library of the Centro de Investigación y Experimentación 15 .O N T H E P RO F E S S I O N Latin American Cinema and Latin American Studies by KATHLEEN NEWMAN | The University of Iowa | kathleen-newman@uiowa. the President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Mexico City. and the Latin American Studies Association. and experimental and avant-garde cinemas).) One further note regarding formats: film teachers always prefer the widescreen format versions of film on DVD because it preserves the original aspect ratio. Scholars from both Latin America and the United States attend film conferences in the region: for example. Latin American film scholars have a variety of institutional homes: Departments of Art and Art History. their technologies and to review their film holdings. Every preservation effort is important because much of Latin American film of the silent period has been lost and few governments anywhere have committed sufficient funds to the preservation and/or restoration of films of any period. In 1991. There are strong film studies programs at academic institutions in Buenos Aires. if they have been preserved in film archives under climate-controlled conditions. and/or Spanish and Portuguese. while many more Latin American films are now available on DVD than even ten years ago. and University of Texas at Austin. though most of our research is undertaken under much less optimal conditions. Many U. such as the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). joined by Latin Americanist and Spanish film scholars. and generate panels for their national and international professional meetings. Cinema Studies (which might include the study of filmmaking as well as film history and theory). at a meeting of the Society for Cinema Studies (the original name of SCMS) in Los Angeles. even with internet purchasing.S. an advocacy group within SCMS. Rio de Janeiro. University of California at Santa Barbara. Media Studies. For teaching. and. It is always news among Latin Americanist film scholars when a DVD version of a restored film is released. Graduate programs in film studies in the United States that support the study of Latin American Cinema include the University of Iowa. and other major cities in Latin America. López’s article “Early Cinema and Modernity in Latin America” in Cinema Journal. art cinema. Most U. which over the years has functioned as both a film section and.

it would be necessary to travel to Latin America. radio. and. which we would avidly video and recycle. and film sound. Most universities today offer courses. this film might have had on Argentine political cinema and political culture. distribution. Pablo Trapero. but in order just to see most movies. of course. which reveals both the extent of Argentine film production and of the importation of foreign film in the silent period. such as the Havana festival. if any. has yet to put her own remarkable film about the disappeared in Argentina. Television would show some films from Latin America. Finally. there are moments of great excitement in the field and new research possibilities. Apart from DVD access and the continuing stalwarts of Latin American film exhibition—the National Film Theatre in London. such as the ‘Discovering Latin America’ festival in London. or to work in the different national Cinematecas and film archives. onto DVD. Director of the Museo Pablo Ducrós Hicken.warwick. Un muro de silencio (1993). a trade journal first published in the second decade of the twentieth century. the different regional film theatres and the activities of Embassies (in particular the Mexican and the Brazilian Embassies)— contemporary Latin American cinema has become part of the viewing experience of a broader public. this discovery makes it possible for film scholars to review what impact. in Buenos Aires. of course. There is also a strong interest in Brazilian directors like Walter Salles and Fernando Meirelles. also screen a wide range of documentaries and fictional films from less ‘visible’ countries. Fabián Bielinsky and Adrián Caetano. which facilitates research and teaching. book chapters and monographs across a range of topics. If scholars with no knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese wanted to develop studies of Latin American stars to add to the rich literature on stars and society in the Euro American tradition. Likewise. for example.csv. even once. the most commercially viable films. I am not suggesting that scholarship here is necessarily market-led: interest in Latin American film studies had been increasing before the recent focus on contemporary cinema of the last ten to fifteen years. many with English translation available. and Fernando M. by the extraordinary visibility of certain Mexican ‘crossover’ directors. that contains footage thought lost to the world. and to examine how such transnational exchanges shape film history. The biggest change in recent years. Since it is a print that showed many times over the years in cine-clubs in Buenos Aires. discovered a print of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Before trying to define the main contours of this field. Paula Félix-Didier. normally located in departments of Spanish and Latin American Studies. Nor am I implying that the problem of access to films has been solved: DVD can offer only a small fraction of production. and the ‘new wave’ of Argentine directors such as Lucrecia Martel. and a number of faculty members publish articles. and the current set of “new cinemas” (by generations of directors coming to the fore in the 1990s and in this decade) in Latin America are reshaping our understanding of the various trajectories of film production. comparative studies of the “Golden Ages” of national cinemas. The most significant independent producer of contemporary Argentine cinema. Lita Stantic. The academic study of Latin American cinema in British universities has grown considerably in the past twenty years and is now one of the major areas of interest for staff and students in the broad field of literary and cultural studies. In the 1980s it was very difficult to find material in this country. on aspects of cinema. This has been helped. to different film festivals. brought to Argentina from Germany in 1928.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 O N T H E P RO F E S S I O N Latin American Film Scholarship in the UK Mapping the Field NEWMAN continued… by JOHN KING | University of Warwick | aysar@ice. Just this last year. Peña. since it was rare to find many Latin American films being exhibited even in their countries of origin. they would be able 16 . This interest and activity helps to create a market for academic publication: mainstream commercial publishers as well as university presses are willing to consider books on Latin American cinema. and journals—both ‘mainstream’ film journals and also ‘Latin American Studies’ journals—are receptive to this bourgeoning film scholarship. not just the almost secret fascination of initiates. Mexican film stars: the face of Gael García Bernal is instantly recognised by many. is the availability of a number of Latin American films on DVD. The situation today is quite different. The footage revises our understanding of the representation of the struggle between the workers and the corporate powers in the film. and reception in the region. Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu. some brief comments on the reception of Latin American cinema in the UK might help orient the discussion.uk en Video y Cine (CIEVYC) in Buenos Aires acquired a copy of Excelsior. genre films. Few movies received commercial release. The London Film Festival and the National Film Theatre in London would organize country-based programmes with the help of Embassies in the UK. the head film programmer for MALBA and past director of the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI). Film festivals. in particular Alfonso Cuarón. The revision of the modernism currently underway in Latin American Literary Studies has found useful material in the subdiscipline of sound studies within film studies and in intermedia investigations of the relation between records.

who are the exceptions rather than the rule. Several scholars have looked at contemporary film movements from within a national framework: Lúcia Nagib (Leeds) has explored recent Brazilian cinema (Nagib. long before debates about globalisation became fashionable. If we look to classify this work. Jens Andermann and colleagues at Birkbeck are looking at what they term the ‘recovery of the real’ in contemporary Argentine and Brazilian film. Mexico and Brazil. whilst Andrea Noble (Durham) wrote the volume on Mexican cinema for the same series. 2003. London). but not about Dolores del Río or María Félix. exploring how place and identity are reshaped by local and transnational forces. One of the most committed and successful producers of recent Latin American cinema. despite the obvious attraction of crossover star directors such as Cuarón. 2004). directed by Jorge Sanjinés in Bolivia. Survey books on national cinemas cover the pre 1960s period to some extent. Miriam Haddu (Royal Holloway. also offer a perspective on debates over the national and the transnational in fiction film and documentary (Haddu and Page. 2004) and he is active in encouraging work with the International Film School in Havana. Smith’s focus on the transnational in cinema finds its echo in much recent research. the British academic turned producer. edited by Page and Haddu. 2007). Anglia Ruskin) and Uruguay (Keith Richards. Salles and Del Toro. are a blend of national and transnational elements. while Rory O’Bryen (Cambridge) has explored cinematic and literary representations of La Violencia in Colombia (O’Bryen. The proceedings of another major conference held at Cambridge. although in recent years we find more scholars with Latin American expertise based in Film Studies departments. from their inception. 2005). Deborah Shaw (Portsmouth) has offered key readings of contemporary films (Shaw 2003) and has also edited a book that features a number of essays that concentrate specifically on the global market (Shaw. Geoffrey Kantaris in Cambridge is completing a major monograph study of urban cinema since the eighties. to take the case of Mexico. and 17 . Even these films. 2007). that occupy a central position in debates on sixties cinema. in Argentina. 2003). Trapero. Armida de la Garza (Nottingham) is also preparing for publication the symposium papers of a conference held at Puebla in 2008 on transnational cinema.to write about García Bernal or Salma Hayek. Work on stardom in Brazilian cinema—which is a very strong feature of UK film studies—can be found in the Centre for Brazilian Film Studies at Leeds. Colombia. the focus of UK-based research is on the ‘big three’ industries of Argentina. and to wave farewell to the national project. amongst others. 2007). These scholars are often contributing to courses and publications on world cinema. Nobody working in Latin American film offers an essentialist reading of national cinemas. National and transnational are not seen as exclusive. But wherever they are housed. 2007). Brazil and Mexico. has focused on Mexican cinema in the nineties (Haddu. It is also far too simplistic to see film production from the nineties as being exclusively ‘transnational’. with examples of their work in Shaw and Dennison (2005). because the films of even these most famous of ‘Golden Age’ stars are not readily available in subtitled versions. and Catherine Grant (Sussex) has published several significant articles on post dictatorship Argentine cinema. Most work in the UK on Latin American film still comes from inside area studies or language departments rather than from film studies departments. 2005). 2007). oppositional categories. 2009). through his company Ondamax films. researchers look to mediate between research carried out in Latin America and the dominant interests of the Euro American film studies tradition. while Else Vieira has analysed another internationally successful film. The work of film preservation and then distribution remains one of the perennial problems of the field. Lúcia Sa in Manchester is also working on images of the city in Brazil and Mexico (Sa. we find that most recent publications consider contemporary ‘national’ and ‘transnational’cinemas. Meirelles and many other younger directors—is currently engaged on a project. while Joanna Page (Cambridge) has analysed Argentine film of the last decade (Page. The nation remains the bedrock for film production and distribution in Latin America and the state still plays a significant role in a number of countries. Some attention is being paid to contemporary cinema in Peru (Sarah Barrow. Stephen Hart has approached a century of filmmaking in the continent in his Companion to Latin American Film through a close reading of key film texts (Hart. In the main. Sheffield). concentrating on a close reading of representative films (Noble. are in danger of being lost from sight. City of God (Vieira. Don Ranvaud— who has produced the work of Salles. since there is a clear awareness that these cinemas. 2008). of bringing to DVD some of the most important films of the sixties. Paul Julian Smith at Cambridge regularly reviews Latin American films and has written a guide to Amores perros (Smith. Cuba no longer receives the critical attention as in the heyday of discussions about ‘imperfect’ or ‘third’ cinema that the directors themselves led in the sixties and early seventies. 2009). though Michael Chanan (Roehampton) has updated his seminal book on Cuba to include developments into the twenty first century (Chanan. Stephanie Dennison (Leeds) and Lisa Shaw (Liverpool) have co-written the volume on Brazil for the Routledge national cinema series (Shaw and Dennison.

Lisa and Stephanie Dennison. Minneapolis. ed. I. University of Minnesota Press. Abingdon and New York. A discussion of popular cinema in Brazil can be found in the work of Shaw and Dennison (2004). I. Miriam and Joanna Page. Tamesis. 2004 Shaw. Cultural and Communications Press. Toni Kapcia.. Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins. pp. eds. but many other researchers throughout the country are publishing regularly on cinema in specialist and non specialist journals based in the UK and throughout the Americas. Abingdon and New York. Contemporary Mexican Cinema (1989-1999): History. Critical. Utopia.Tauris. 2003 Shaw. Popular Cinema in Brazil. 2004 Kantaris. Andrea. Paul Julian. Life in the Megalopolis: Mexico City and São Paulo. Emilio Fernández. London and New York. Latin American Cinema: Essays on Modernity. London and New York. Tamesis. 2005 O’Bryen. Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market. Routledge. Lúcia. Steven. Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Ten Key Films. Manchester and New York. Rowman and Littlefield. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Lúcia. London and New York. London. Lewiston. NJ. Duke University Press. ‘City of God’ in Several Voices: Brazilian Social Cinema as Action. 2009 Vieira. The New Brazilian Cinema. eds.. 2004 18 . Joanna. 245-259. Brazilian National Cinema. 2007 Nagib. Geoffrey.17. Andrea Noble and Deborah Shaw for providing me with bibliographical information. 2005 Smith. Routledge. Lisa and Stephanie Dennison. Else. Amores perros. Companion to Latin American Film. 2. Jefferson NC and London. 2008 Page. 2007 Shaw.B. Routledge. New Cinema. Dolores. Manchester University Press. fortchcoming Nagib.. Mexican National Cinema. Literature. and where scholars are forging productive working relationships with filmmakers in Latin America and with critics throughout the Americas and in Europe. London. Latin American Cinema: The Urban Paradigm. ed. while Tierney and Ruétalo have edited a collection of papers dealing with exploitation movies in Latin America (Tierney and Ruétalo. I have concentrated my focus here on book publication. 2009 Hart. Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema. BFI Modern Classics. Geoffrey Kantaris. Visual Synergies: Fiction and Documentary Filmmaking in Latin America. which locates itself specifically in debates concerning transcultural and transnational perspectives (Tierney 2007). all point to an area of study that is now firmly established in the UK. Edwin Mellon. 2007 Shaw.. 2005 Works Cited Chanan.] Haddu. The significant number of recent titles. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies.B. Space and Identity. 2009). McFarland. Deborah. 2007 Tierney. 2009 Sa. Tauris. Lucia. Miriam.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 KING continued… Dolores Tierney (Sussex) has published an analysis of the work of the Mexican ‘Golden Age’ director. Continuum. Trash and Cult Cinema. Routledge. Testimony and Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture: Spectres of ‘la Violencia’. 2003 Tierney. Lisa and Stephanie Dennison eds. Michael. Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo. London. 2007 Shaw.. London. Abingdon and New York. Deborah. Cuban Cinema. Gender and National Identity. Abingdon and New York. the work in progress. Rory. 2003 Noble. Manchester University Press. outlined above. [I would like to thank Stephanie Dennison. August 2008. Vol. Dolores and Victoria Ruétalo. I would also refer the reader to an excellent article by David Wood which gives an illuminating theoretical account of the challenges and the pitfalls that await the ‘foreign’ critic: ‘With Foreign Eyes: English Language Criticism on Latin American Film’. Latsploitation: Latin American Exploitation. 2007 Haddu. London. and the numbers of postgraduates that are focusing on film-related topics. Manchester and New York.

they differ widely in their views on how best to marry these two concerns. In juxtaposing the views of three generations of cultural critics. metropolis over province and thus tacitly affirmed class. They then concentrate their analysis on the new documentary literature immersed in the problem of urban violence. While the six authors brought together in this edition of the Forum share a passion for literature and a commitment to democratization in the Americas. Portugueseand English-language traditions. in the United States. Canada and Europe. for his part. while acknowledging the common roots of both types of analysis in the political-social and against desarrollismo. In this recent fiction.” and their theoretical concerns emerge inductively. Beverley argues. In his provocative opening essay. “this new aesthetics of the marginal” is characterized by “spectacularization”. as exemplified by the works of Gabriel García Márquez and his imitators. and Hernán Vidal. who have often been excluded by both modernization and the environmental movement.” Jean Franco invites us to step outside the canon and consider an emerging body of literature that seems to defy the forces of globalization: literature written in indigenous languages. many of which exemplify globalization in their trilingual publication. mapuche literature in Chile and zapotec literature in Mexico. Jon Beasley-Murray speaks for many of us in lamenting the reduction of the Latin American literary canon. through the foundational work of Jean Franco. leaving us with the dilemma of either boring them with ‘good’ literature.” The authors argue that this literature has created “a new language and a new logic to talk about marginality. exemplified by Paulo Lins’s Cidade de Deus and Fernando Vallejo’s La virgen de los sicarios. This is a literature. As he acutely observes.S. The forces of modernization. however. object-driven [approach]…usually anchored in one or two national traditions. violence does not emanate primarily from the state.D E B AT E S Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies Introduction by CYNTHIA STEELE University of Washington. in the field of contemporary Latin American literary and cultural studies. these essays suggest the diversity of views and approaches. argues that the populist turn taken by many Latin American countries in recent years has elicited a neoconservative response from one sector of the Latin American critical establishment. 19 . Many of our students.” Despite the historical forces of dispersal and acculturation. and from the Spanish-. and exemplify both the preservation of a rich oral tradition and its global dissemination through the Internet. Luz Horne and Daniel Noemi Voionmaa trace the evolving representation of marginality in Latin American fiction. She cautions against prioritizing concerns about the environmental over those about human exploitation—ecology over equality—. Avelar posits. but from market forces. have always regarded the natural world as exploitable frontier. Moreover.edu Since its inception. and European literary critics in response to environmental concerns—to the Latin American context. Franco argues. have both evolved through militant resistance to colonization by the state. among others. Seattle cynthias@u. have not followed suit. literary and cultural studies have played a pivotal role in the Latin American Studies Association. Moreover. literary language over dialect.washington. gender and racial inequalities. Finally. from both North and South. Idelber Avelar’s essay provides an excellent overview of the best works of recent literary and cultural criticism. Ileana Rodríguez considers the applicability of the genre of Ecocriticism—which has thrived among U. I trust they will spark further debates among humanists and social scientists alike. that challenges “the distinctions that placed high culture over popular cultures. she notes. Joseph Sommers. they observe. rather than existing a priori to confirm a particular metacritical stance. to Magical Realism. and continuing into the recent presidency of Arturo Arias.” as in the novels of César Aira. “Latin America has become a stage for the spectacle of violence. and the vitality of critical debate. “languages that were scheduled to disappear with globalization…are being reinvigorated by indigenous writers. they share a refusal to limit themselves to one or two overarching theoretical debates. or boring ourselves—and selling out—by teaching them middle-brow literature designed to compensate FirstWorld readers for their “overdevelopment. the characters’ “fragmented and corroded” bodies are assimilated into their abject surroundings. which is absent or invisible.” Her two cases in point. from nineteenth-century realism to the modernism of Clarice Lispector. Rather. John Beverley. they share a “meticulously specific. For some critics who came of age in the Sixties. the disavowal of armed struggle in middle age has entailed a retreat into the privileged space of the Lettered City of which Angel Rama spoke. in contrast to the ancient beliefs of Rigoberta Menchú and other indigenous peoples. the genre contained the seeds of its own obsolescence. In those of Nora Fernández and Diamela Eltit. and most literary critics long ago tired of it and turned their attention to experimental narrative and/or testimonio.

S. It is just that new standards of judgment are in force. measurement. Taken as a whole. Hence literature differs from film. novelist William Kennedy’s review of Gabriel García Márquez was particularly hyperbolic but not especially atypical: “One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. literature properly speaking. and singularity. long time. is all too often preoccupied with issues of equality or inequality. picaresque narratives expose their readers: a “tour d’horison. although ironically that is what literature itself encourages us to do. for instance. and packages difference as inequality. Almost as soon as we look up from the page. the version of inequality that preoccupies critics has been imported more or less directly from political discourse and concerns the evaluations implicit. And this is a relatively recent phenomenon: for most intents and purposes. Meanwhile. This is true as much of academic and scholarly commentary as it is of journalistic reviews. Perhaps this visibility is because Latin American literature as such only comes into being through the process of translation. and then on how it has subsequently waned in critical appreciation. however.” whose exemplary differences combine to constitute the collectivity that will be called Mexico. affect than effect.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 Against (In)equality Bad Latin American Literature by JON BEASLEY-MURRAY University of British Columbia Jon.”4 The fact that Kennedy’s review was entitled “All of Life. thereby relativizing their own experience. And so it should be. Negros. is of course an artificial exercise. with the region’s socalled literary “Boom. but difference.1 Film constructs a mass audience of equals. It does so by allowing readers to feel or sense other worlds. are women or the indigenous represented relative to men. at least as described by the Frankfurt School theorist Siegfried Kracauer: film often encourages its spectators to see themselves as the same. distribution. U. How. awards. the institutional and economic apparatus of book publishing is always about calculation. whites. Traditionally. and despite the traditionalists’ lament that relativism now rules the roost. in this traditional conception. is complicit in the conversion of the book as locus of literary experience into just another commodity. this is registered in a discourse on value. Indeed. or mestizos? Or how might a literary text advance the cause of equality. are different. literature posits a common readership characterized by diversity. Literary criticism. then. we too are engaged in the evaluation and calculation that we had briefly abandoned in the reading experience. is defined by the fact that it contributes to a cultural sphere defined by the nineteenth-century British critic Matthew Arnold as the “best which has been thought and said. . I suggest that we should return to the study of literature. literary criticism. literature and the critical apparatus that surrounds and enables it helps transform affect into effect. and effect: costs. and so on. Literature enables an exploration of otherness. as part of a mass. Indeed. within literature itself. and reception that enables texts to find readers. of “hospitals. by which I mean literature labeled as belonging to Latin America as a region rather than to Mexico or Peru (or wherever) as individual nations. experience than measurement. and of better or worse. This is nowhere more visible than in the construct that is Latin American literature. too. monasteries. but literature tends to emphasize either individualism or a much more diffuse sense of commonality. Indians. I retrace a brief history of the Boom. such that they recognize that they.”3 More recently. prepared now self-consciously (and selfreflexively) to embrace the “bad” Latin American literature as much as the “good.” in the case of José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’s El periquillo sarniento. Even critic Benedict Anderson’s famous argument about the role of the novel and novel-reading in the construction of nationalist sentiment stresses the range of sensations to which. [. different from their own. García Márquez’s] success is one of the best things that has happened to literature in a long. sales. . for instance.ca The central concern of literature is not so much inequality. both literal and metaphorical. more broadly conceived? Still. many Latin Americanist critics have practically deserted the field of literary criticism.” In what follows. it is said. for which some books are better than others in whatever way that “better” is to be defined. in fact notions of inequality or equality. prisons. by erasing (if only temporarily) our awareness of its own material supports. it was heralded as the savior of world literature. focusing first on how it came to redefine the template of what was “good” literature. however. Sense and Nonsense Fills an Argentine’s Daring Fable” (my emphasis) shows that the specific provenance of this 20 . literature is more about imagination than calculation.beasley-murray@ubc. by contrast. remain to the fore. variety. Inevitably implicated in that apparatus. It is hard to imagine use without exchange. too. Literature today is almost unimaginable without the apparatus of production. by which Latin American texts enter the world market. To separate out literature and criticism in this way. Mr. Literary criticism tends to side with exchange value rather than use value. Latin American literature was invented as recently as the 1960s.2 In short. When Latin American fiction burst onto global consciousness in the late 1960s. remote villages.

novelist John Barth published a much-discussed essay on “The Literature of Exhaustion. . The Prize citation on this latter occasion was framed as though the honor were awarded to the entire region rather than to one distinguished representative.”6 Yet the outlook is very different in Barth’s follow-up essay. For once. apparently.”8 Latin America and its literary production was soon summarized in the two-word formula “magical realism. “as gushy and unqualified as a back-cover blurb. “Latin American literature has shown a vigour as in few other literary spheres.”5 In 1967. Or in Martin’s words. in Payne’s gloss. and less to a writer than to the idea of the writer as a politically engaged intellectual who transforms difference into a passionate call for equality. reminiscences from old Indian culture.” is further enhanced by a committed attachment to the cause of social justice. the British novelist Julian Barnes declared a moratorium on magical realism only two years after García Márquez’s Nobel. in the age of the mass media. Even today. Praise be to the Spanish language and imagination!’”7 Or rather. First. could “‘magically’ recover the conventions and artifices of the past. with extraordinary commercial results.12 It did not take long. at least in the more refined circles of cultural criticism. the 1982 Nobel Prize is awarded less to an individual writer. Indeed. Any hint at the workings of the market in symbolic goods would undermine those very qualities that Barth claims to find in the Latin American text: its “organic originality” that. was now moribund. a branding: it is a marketing operation. now 21 . the region combines “many impulses and traditions” that range from “folk culture. to Miguel Angel Asturias in 1967 and Pablo Neruda in 1971. say. “when such creativity was in short supply internationally [.” it proclaims. “What really confused the issue” of the Boom was that its protagonists “managed both to achieve critical recognition and to become bestsellers. Perhaps most famously. ]. it was all the same.” published in 1980.” encapsulating both its “magical” inventiveness and the notion that it was intimately intertwined with some “real” political commitment. The citation continues. including oral storytelling.”9 The citation then delineates the two elements that make Latin American literature so worthy in the popular and critical imagination. the Boom supplied an apparent efflorescence of vitality and inventiveness “at a moment.salvation was immaterial: Argentina. What mattered was that something new had come along to fill the gap left by a now waning First World modernism. It has won acclaim in the cultural life of today. for instance.” Second. currents from Spanish baroque in different epochs. Now the Latin American Boom has saved the day! Here for instance Barth’s praise of One Hundred Years of Solitude is. “The violent conflicts of political nature—social and economic—raise the temperature of the intellectual climate.S. “world music”) the virtues of Latin American cultural production are extended to the entire Third World. and later to García Márquez in 1982. writing.” with One Hundred Years of Solitude “translated into a large number of languages and [selling] millions of copies. what is most remarkable about this successful branding of a continent’s culture is that it is. praise be to Spanish in translation: Barth effaces the process of translation and promotion through which García Márquez’s novel lands on his desk.”11 The Nobel committee has explicitly to mark this success as “unusual” in the context of its award of its highest accolade. It is ‘as impressive a novel as has been written so far in the second half of our century [. and also thanks to a sense that it was somehow rooted in popular struggle. however. García Márquez is strongly committed politically on the side of the poor and the weak against oppression and economic exploitation. and in which he himself participates so enthusiastically. in which (by analogy with. however. The seal on the region’s cultural achievement was the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded. first. Common conception has it that the very notion of “bad Latin American literature” is an oxymoron. nonetheless. For Latin American literature was “good” twice over: because of its aesthetic innovation. .”10 In short.” a disquisition on “the usedupness of certain forms or exhaustion of certain possibilities. As his Nobel Prize citation notes. the loss of its aura of exclusivity predicted by a theorist such as Walter Benjamin. than to a continent that has given renewed life to world culture. for a backlash to ensue. presumably. this heady cocktail. literary value and market value here go hand in hand. for most readers there is no other world literature that enjoys a similar aura of quality and even moral uprightness—except perhaps the modern notion of “world literature” itself. “spiced and live-giving.] and critics repeatedly asked themselves whether the novel. again as though proclaiming a collective award: “Like most of the other important writers in the Latin American world. and at precisely the point at which this style. García Márquez for instance “achieved unusual success. . influences from European surrealism and other modernism” and that collectively “are blended into a spiced and life-giving brew. Moreover. while at the same time cross-fertilizing U. “The Literature of Replenishment. “For a long time. .” we are told. Colombia.” The Latin American Boom involved “the wholesale conversion of literary production into a commodity process” without. critic Johnny Payne observes.” as critic Gerald Martin explains.

in Latin America the Boom’s success served as compensation for economic and political underdevelopment. magical realism was particularly vulnerable to such transmutations. but never quite without the sense that we are. What is more. and for its “enslavement to the mechanisms of publicity.17 Yet the strange result of this conjunction of circumstances is that those of us who teach Latin American literature for a living in North America and Europe find ourselves in a peculiar double bind. the fredonna tree whose roots grow at the tips of its branches. . published in Barcelona. the propinquity of cheap life and expensive principles. it offered a way of relating to these novelties: it proposed that the act of reading (or. not least from the influential Uruguayan critic Angel Rama. ah. but so very often dampen the enthusiasm of students attracted to our classes precisely by the prospect that they will be reading what they regard in advance as the inventive and edifying work of the Boom and its sequels. Ah. offered a paradigmatic market choice for those who felt vaguely ill at ease with their own self-consciousness as the economic beneficiaries of unequal trade. and making bestseller lists in New York). the 1980s saw “a flood of semisupernatural sagas [. a means by which to recognize and negotiate difference. and Latin American literature.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 BEASELY-MURRAY continued… the signature gesture of the new category of “postcolonial” writing. al. No wonder it should have been so soon scorned by writers 22 . strange coincidences and overdeveloped sense-organs. legendary feats. more generally. however reluctantly.] released all over the world—full of omens. then. and whose fibres assist the hunchback to impregnate by telepathy the haughty wife of the hacienda owner. In the context of the rapid globalization of culture and communications technologies of which the rise of Latin American literature was itself a part (with novels written by Colombians in Mexico.”15 Meanwhile. and perhaps even the still more popular avatars such as Isabel Allende or Laura Esquivel.] the style had a built-in obsolescence: the decline into artificial gesture and cheap exoticism was inevitable. Western consumers could face the heady onrush of globalization by wearing their Thai-style batik t-shirts. of religion and banditry.18 Or to put this another way: if. of surprising honour and random cruelty. ah. . the daiquiri bird which incubates its eggs on the wing. hallucinatory exaggerations.. listening to Moroccan music as remixed in England. as Tait also comments. the opera house now overgrown by jungle. Permit me to rap on the table and murmur “Pass!”13 How did Latin American fiction become so quickly a matter of ridicule? It is easy to blame its imitators. Reading came to seem a political act. first by understanding its continued appeal. as critic Idelber Avelar argues. charged as it was with a sense of political engagement (the brand of the real). Reading (or perhaps merely buying) a work produced elsewhere could be a demonstration of acceptance and openmindedness in the midst of the postnational confusion that could otherwise overtake traditional middle-class sensibilities. Barnes’s mocking suggestion is that: A quota system is to be introduced on fiction set in South America. in short.”14 Tait even understates the case when he observes that “with time and overuse. prodigies.”16 No wonder then that Latin Americanists should have turned almost wholesale either to more challenging texts by more recondite authors such as Diamela Eltit or Ricardo Piglia. wellintentioned exoticism. Moreover. its cult of the individual author.” In fact. magical realism offered a way of understanding a whole new set of differences that suddenly impinged upon Western consciousness. and from there it was but a short step to Barnes’s parody. outside of Latin America precisely this same literature (and its successors) functioned according to a similar logic of compensation. By the late 1980s. embracing a “bad” Latin American literature only because the students think it will do them some good. and second by perhaps reconsidering its (by now) middlebrow utopianism. [. We can put noncanonical works on the syllabus. was sweeping all before it. Latin American literature— compensation or comfort in the guise of selfimprovement—has become the very epitome of middlebrow culture. Or we can teach García Márquez et. as a particular variant on the global. for such failings as its exclusivity. Hence the rise of “world” culture. In that “wonder and novelty were always an important part of its appeal. As critic Theo Tait points out. The intention is to curb the spread of package-tour baroque and heavy irony. Culture always involves position-taking. artistic style degenerates into mannerism. cultural consumption) could itself be a form of solidarity. . . fairytale motifs. translated in London. Let us approach bad Latin American literature a little less abashedly. For it is a prime instance of what we could call liberal. but now to make up for overdevelopment. magical realism was very soon subject to pastiche. Ah. in Latin America itself the politics of the Boom had long been under fire.19 Finally. It is. an important mode of what political philosopher Jacques Rancière would term the reconfiguration of the sensible (feeling itself) in postmodern times. drinking free-trade Tanzanian coffee. or to non-literary or para-literary genres such as testimonio and so (as in the title of one of critic John Beverley’s books) “against literature” altogether. and reading Paulo Coelho.

and information workers. Conquest of the New Word. and also the object of wary regard by Latin American and Latin Americanist critics themselves. May 6. “Carta de Angel Rama a Zona Franca. 1993. albeit much broader. Ibid. Culture and Anarchy. John. New York: Schocken. Bibliography Anderson. 2000. . Benjamin. the purchase of a sense of engaged solidarity through the exercise of cultural taste. MA: Harvard University Press. 1984. Payne. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Barnes.” 54. 2 Anderson. The Untimely Present. The Politics of Aesthetics. argument in The Society of the Spectacle. Durham. “The Literature of Exhaustion. or the Boom’s legacy. in advertising material.such as Julian Barnes. 1995. ‘New’ Novel. No. “Angel Rama tira la piedra .” Ibid. Jorge Luis Borges because they “paradoxically turn the felt ultimacies of our time into material and means for [their] work” (317).” a way of reading “completely suffused by feeling and affect.pen. 29. Matthew. ‘New’ Novel. indeed. Julian. Martin. “Socialist Realism. Radway. 1996. Dover Wilson. it offers a reconversion of value: if the Boom was striking originally for the way in which it transmuted aesthetic value into commercial value without. The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. 1991. 17. 30-31. in this sense.” 53.20 It mobilizes an “enthusiasm for sentiment. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. 217-51.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laure ates/1982/presentation-speech. London: Jonathan Cape. New York Times. Arnold. 30. The Mass Ornament. now. Siegfried. edited by Niall Lucy.” In Illuminations. Not that exhaustion is necessarily negative in Barth’s view: he champions Samuel Beckett and. http://nobelprize. apparently destroying the aura of the work of art. No. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Debord. Lars. William. Rama. 33. Avelar.” 310. A Feeling for Books.org/viewmedia. 17. 6. perhaps we can turn around the liberal desire to cast difference as (in)equality. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.php/prmMID/138 /prmID/606. See Benjamin. “Boom. The Society of the Spectacle. But it is not. 40. Barth. Edited by J. At stake is a redistribution of the sensible that precedes any struggle over how what is sensed is to be evaluated or weighed. Against Literature.” Ibid. we can examine and teach bad Latin American literature as symptom of unfulfilled desires in the global North as much as the South. Gyllensten. 1968. Levin. Culture and Anarchy. not so much modernity and modernization as postmodernity and globalization. Gyllensten. managers. Oxford: Blackwell. Tait. Kracauer. London: Verso.” Martin. Flaubert’s Parrot.”21 At the same time. for all that. Cambridge. edited by Hannah Arendt and translated by Harry Zohn. John. Yes. 1999. “Socialist Realism..” a “sentimental education” to guide them through. See also Rama. New edition. Imagined Communities. 310-21. “Presentation Speech. Against Literature. perhaps the post-Boom. 20 21 23 . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Quoted. 15.” Barnes. “Presentation Speech. Rancière. http://www. Benedict. The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction and the Task of Mourning.” Beverley.html. Barth. Guy. Walter. 99. 1970. Guy Debord subsequently develops a similar. “Boom. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Endnotes 1 19 Kracauer. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Yes. Ibid. Edited and translated by Thomas Y. “The Literature of Exhaustion. Like the classic middlebrow culture of the 1950s and 1960s as described by cultural critic Janice Radway. Ibid.” PEN America Journal 6. Idelber. Arnold. NC: Duke University Press. “Flame-Broiled Whopper.” The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982.” 15. Latin American literature provides “a kind of social pedagogy for a growing class fraction of professionals. 1935. New York: Zone. And rather than partaking in a new round of value judgments in which some texts would always end up better than others. has been the magical transmutation of market value into political reassurance. see also Kennedy. . all that different from testimonio as read even by the most antiliterary of proponents of Latin American cultural studies. Kennedy. Flaubert’s Parrot.” In Postmodern Literary Theory: An Anthology. Avelar. Beverley.

and that had long been marginalized by imperial Spanish are not only defended by native speakers but are taught in universities and reinvigorated by indigenous writers. “Angel Rama tira la piedra .” Zona Franca 14 (1972): 15-17. from the Tupi-Guaraní to the Nahuas. the mapuche have a radio program in mapudungun. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. 2 (1984): 53-63. between pure literature and social literature have disappeared and even the difference between historical reality and fiction may disappear. Languages that were scheduled to disappear with globalization. transcribed from the Quechua. in the past. Paradoxically this defense of native languages has occurred at a time of dispersal when emigration is creating new identities. Rancière. que las deforma y traiciona. Josefina Ludmer. nahua has now been incorporated into University courses and there has been official support for workshops and conferences in many of the languages. In the worst cases. Traditional divisions between national and cosmopolitan realism. they addressed the inhabitants in the six indigenous languages of the region. reciting poetry 24 . Condori describes himself as sightless and dumb because he did not have access to writing and did not speak Spanish even after a spell in the army where officers prohibited the speaking of Quechua. Moreover. Jacques. and other groups. Johnny. 2004. Tajobales. were not supposed to have writing much less a literature are now attending writing workshops. Translated by Gabriel Rockhill. a defense of native languages. like that of El Salvador following the Matanza of 1931 in which thousands of indigenous were slaughtered in the wake of a rebellion. metropolis over province and thus tacitly affirmed class. During the civil war in Guatemala in the eighties. no. “Boom. the most striking of which is the continent-wide emergence of literature in indigenous languages that extends from the Mapuche in the south to the Tahahumara in Northern Mexico. ‘New’ Novel. Speakers of indigenous languages were made to feel inferior. recognizing that the subordination of native languages to Spanish ratified the long-standing oppression of the originary inhabitants of the continent. where there may be as many as 60 indigenous languages. The distinctions that placed high culture over popular cultures. Austin: University of Texas Press. a country officially bilingual in Spanish and Guaraní. 1993. Tait. It was in 1992 that representatives of 120 indigenous peoples met in Quito to organize a protest against the quincentennial celebrations of Columbus’s discovery of America and called for. . 2005). At the other extreme is Paraguay. gender and racial inequalities have been challenged in many ways.” Zona Franca 16 (1972): 10-15. Theo. the native language was suppressed and is only now being relearned. London Review of Books (October 6. recently pointed out that with globalization the parameters of Latin American literature and literary studies have totally changed. a language of Baja California. London: Continuum. such as the binational Mixteca in California and the urban indigenous in Mexico City and Lima. the colonization of the Lacandon jungle by landless peasants in the 1980s brought together Tzotziles. In the life story of the Peruvian Gregorio Condori Mamani.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 3. Yes. In Mexico. between realism and avant-garde.edu The Argentine critic. Angel. “Flame-Broiled Whopper. Conquest of the New Word: Experimental Fiction and Translation in the Americas. among other things.” Review of Salman Rushdie. Shalimar the Clown. In Chile. ____________“Carta de Angel Rama a Zona Franca: El Boom establece expresamente un recorte empobrecedor de nuestras letras. Rama. the army tried to prohibit the speaking of native tongues and the wearing of native dress. No: Further Reflections on the Optical Illusions of the 1960s in Latin America. The number of people speaking indigenous languages varies considerably: millions speak Quechua and only a few hundred puapua. Peoples who. Gerald. In Mexico. national policies have given rise to very different linguistic environments. . Payne. In 1994 when the Zapatistas emerged from the Lacandon forest and took over several municipalities. literary language over dialect.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 BEASELY-MURRAY continued… Martin. Overcoming Colonialism Writing in Indigenous Languages by JEAN FRANCO Columbia University jf29@columbia. many of whom would join the Zapatista army.

Montemayor’s anthology La voz profunda which has been published in a bilingual edition in Spanish and indigenous languages included essays. most notably Andrés Henestrosa. One cannot write in an indigenous language without calling up the whole history of colonialism. an action that was met by widespread protest. thus. but against what was termed the intellectual piracy of a project that had been carried forward without any participation by the mapuche themselves. thanks to the labor of non-indigenous intellectuals. using the customs and adornments of zapotec ritual and drawing on the historical memory of past rebellions. Because of the extraordinary variety of indigenous languages. COCEI had already adopted the zapotec language at its meetings. Thus even before the Zapatista army emerged from the Lacandon jungle in 1994 and addressed meetings in six indigenous languages. The zapotec spoken in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the only indigenous language of Mexico to have a substantial modern literary tradition. according to Jeffrey Rubin. Francisco Toledo and his friends. Guchach Reza often illustrated by the painter. But the contemporary renaissance surely dates from the political movement of the 1980s. even among some nonindigenous citizens. Peasants and Students of the Isthmus (COCEI) put into practice self-government and cultural revival. was well aware of the difficulties of anthologizing a literature that had not yet been recognized as such. given the lack of interest among the lettered classes. the official who needs to know the language. “Whence came this paper that imprison our word/ the word our fathers carved on stones/that they sang in the night when they danced?” Describing writing as a second language which kills the native tongue. but rather a creation of multiple modernities by means of non-Western knowledge and style2. poems and stories1. This 25 . In the last century. Initially writing was encouraged because of the need to preserve culture that was in danger of being eroded or lost because of emigration and dispersal. the language of the mapuche. There is no mention of any cultural production by the Zapotecs themselves. not necessarily a rejection of the Western or the modern nor a reinforcing of geographical and cultural borders between local and outside. he ends the poem by asking again. But there is also a new writing that goes beyond the transmission of traditions to explore the indigenous experience within modernity. Its policy exemplified. the Coalition of Workers. “Why does one write on paper/ Instead of on the earth?” the poet asks. Juchitlan. The zapotec language became the preferred mode of communication. it is interesting that the Zapotec dictionary it published was addressed to the needs of three groups: the indigenous needing to learn Spanish. given the power relations that dictated the first and many subsequent transcriptions of Native American texts into phonic writing. as an empty house in which there is no listener and therefore no presence. its regional capital. The word on paper cannot reproduce voice. Tu laanu. both of which are rooted in a history of resistance to the state. traditions and ancestral knowledge are being lost too rapidly. In the nineteenth century transcription of native languages fell into the hands of foreigners. careful attention has been paid to the transcription of indigenous languages into phonetic script. Pérez Fernández. The tzotzil writer. Tu lanu (Who are we? What is our name?). what postcolonial development might have looked like if indigenous and Western cultures had met on more equal terms.at meetings and publishing in anthologies. and thirdly. for instance. thanks in part to its political history. is a city with a history of rebellion that goes back to the fight against Aztec domination and it has a modern indigenous intellectual tradition dating back to the twenties and thirties when a group of intellectuals living in Mexico. Flor de la palabra (Flower of the Word). The first grammars and dictionaries of native languages were instruments in the work of conversion. In one of his best-known poems. there was a public protest not against the technology as such. states that one of the great preoccupations of the elders and leaders of the communities is that most of our customs. the evangelical work of the Summer Institute of Linguistics imposed ideological preference. Europeans disputed the grammar and transcription of the Quechua alphabet. an important consideration when taking into account the often restricted notion of indigenous cultures. especially the poets Carlos Montemayor and Jaimes Sabines. a zapotec poet and editor of the 1983 anthology. In 1981. brought together zapotec writing with critical writing by foreign intellectuals. “Who are we? What is our name?” What Victor de la Cruz underscores is that the community cannot be present in writing as it is in orally transmitted cultures. The journal. publications and a bookstore. a radio station. I will focus two of the most prolific: zapotec literature in Mexico and literature in mapudungun in Chile. wrote some of their work in zapotec. he represents writing as a form of alienation. In Mexico. Victor de la Cruz. COCEI supported a literacy campaign. In its two years in office before being dismissed by the central government in 1983. linguists and anthropologists. The post-conquest imposition of castellano in the service of the state which controlled official history relegated orally-transmitted cultures to an inferior category outside the lettered city. When Microsoft recently announced a program in mapudungun.

In 1993 the state passed an indigenous law which demanded proof of mapuche identity for land claims. The mapuches represent a challenge to the state for several reasons—because of their language. the writing process is a two-edged sword. the writing of the mapuche poets in Chile has been strongly influenced by the militant resistance to the state which has persistently denied the indigenous component of the nation. Mapuche poetry often addresses the long resistance of the mapuches to the Spaniards and the Chilean state. The mixture of language. according to one critic. he was ordered to change the title. the country emphasizes its whiteness as if the indigenous did not exist. Elicura Chihuailaf. as if to assume their absorption into the modern state. especially radio which serves as a way of disseminating mapudungun and.” He goes on to underscore that territoriality is not only the land we see and inhabit but the spirit that inhabits it. the Internet. For this reason.. In the 1940s when Pablo Neruda tried to found a literary journal using the name Araucania (the old name for mapuche territory). Poetry only exists inasmuch as words can be shared3. the possessor of speech. writes of Nvtram. Mapuche poetry often evokes past struggles as well as the foundation myth that recounts the primordial struggle between the mountain. for mapuche culture. part history and part political tract. of course. a feature of much indigenous poetry. thus placing bureaucratic criteria on a people who identified themselves as belonging to a particular place or as participating in particular rituals but not necessarily according to purely racial criteria. The poem is not written in mapudugun but code switches between chedungun (a variant of mapudungun spoken in the Huilliche region) and Spanish.. The machi (male or female) intervenes between the visible and invisible world and along with the lonko or Genpin Alonko. the religious leader. But in today’s world the mapuche increasingly use modern means of communication. my publications have less to do with books than with oral spaces for collective development. underscoring the dual nature of his mission to link oral tradition and written communication and to recognize a brotherhood of world literature while bearing the responsibility of a marginalized people. The Pinochet government revoked mapuche land rights and at the present time there is militant resistance to government licensed dam projects which affect the environment. The development of my poetry has to do with the collectivity. Like zapotec writing.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 FRANCO continued… divided self is. The Yucatecan Maya poet. their identity is constantly being renegotiated so that what constitutes the mapuche self (Mapuchengen) is defined in many different ways and can be quite volatile. the art of speech linked to historical memory. Briceida Cueva Cob in a poem with the title Yan a bin xook (You will go to school). Because they have been under attack and removed from their lands. it is because these languages have been effective in reaching beyond the community while remaining true to their history and preoccupations. “Mapu” means land and “che” people and they see as their prime mission the defense of the environment. For this reason too documentaries have been part of my work for they have to do with orality.. who is often a woman who performs healing rituals and conducts the ceremonial life of the community. The verse “You will cross the threshold of your imagination/ and go into your own house/ without having to knock on the door” suggests the radical difference between the society which the girl needs a permit to enter and the true self reflected in the native hearth. Chihauilaf describes himself as an oralitor. Yet over a million people identify themselves as mapuche and half of them live in urban areas. transposes this legend into an account of her personal journey from inheriting a broken tradition to her becoming a machi. is the central figure in the community. One of the best known mapuche writers. For us.. Nowadays. while accepting schooling finds her true reflection in the family hearth where the burning fire mirrors her true self. My work is an eighty percent turn towards orality. and Kai Kai. The inequality that had forced the marginalization of orally transmitted cultures is being erased not only by the 26 . not surprisingly.and implies readers who are willing to inhabit this plural space. “i” (Song). One of the great contemporary poems. in his Confidential Message to the Chilean people which is part memoir. demonstrates the impossibility of speaking a single language. If I have stressed zapotec and mapudungun. even the smallest linguistic community can reach an international public. The poet and musician Leonel Lienlaf in an interview described writing in mapudungun as a political challenge “…because we cannot forget that thanks to writing they seized our lands and deceived us. Tren Tren. Their language is mapudungun (or mapuchezungun). Textbooks mention their subjugation in the nineteenth century but tend to ignore their recent history. their social organization and their land claims. Their basic political unit is headed by the lonko (the political leader of the community) and the machi. He describes mapudungun poetry as being between dream and memory—dream being an important element of mapuche culture. the loss and recovery of language and memory after the wars of extermination and the sense of mutilation and loss that comes with the transfer of voice into writing. As recently as 1992 when Chile was represented at the World Fair in Seville by a dazzling iceberg. thanks to the Internet. the hostile oceanic force.

By 2007. Recent years have made visible the extent of the devastation left by the processes euphemistically designated as neoliberalism or privatization.5 percent.transcription of languages into phonetic script but by technologies that have given a new lease of life to orally transmitted culture. The Expediency of Culture is also representative of a phenomenon specific of the past decade: the trilingual publication of scholarship in Spanish America. Precarious as all literacy numbers tend to be. The most impressive figure may be the 33 percent of all poor Brazilian families who have risen to the middle class since Lula’s inauguration in 2003.edu Endnotes 1 There is a bilingual edition in English and indigenous languages: Words of the True People. See Ul: Four Mapuche Poets (Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press. Mexico (Durham: Duke University Press. Education. Texas: 2004) Jeffrey Rubin. UFMG. 50. 2000. Julio Ramos’s Desencuentros de la modernidad en América Latina. Decentering the Regime. Fondo de Cultura Económica. an editorial trend that has made of “Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies” something quite distinct from what it was a decade ago. 2004. But the gains are also real. Ethnicity. Menem’s wholesale liquidation of Argentina or Fujimori’s ransacking of Peru— privatization included an explicit attack on the concept of education as a common good that a society may choose to provide to all its members.5 percent of Venezuelans lived below the poverty line in 1999. 1 Both these poets are included in an anthology in English translation compiled by Cecilia Vicua and translated by John Bierhorst. Radicalism and Democracy in Juchitlan. 2001. UFMG. that number was down to 31. All of these governments have their problems and some—like Chávez’s—display unmistakably authoritarian features. 2003. George Yúdice’s The Expediency of Culture (2002). and literature are measures of how pervasive the onslaught was. 2004. Doris Sommer’s Foundational Fictions (1993). The relationship established with national patrimony by countries such as Ecuador. eds. Bolivia. my own Untimely Present (1999). Other instances of this welcome editorial development are Sylvia Molloy’s At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America (1991). culture. Carlos Montemayor and Donald Frischmann. According to Venezuela’s National Institute of Statistics. Inscriptions of Inequality in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies by IDELBER AVELAR Tulane University iavelar@tcs. and more recently Paraguay has at least stopped the bleeding of decades-long transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich. 1997). one whose “conservative” or “emancipatory” character is determined through complex social interactions. and 27 . Privatization also affected cultural policy and Latin American Cultural Studies produced what was perhaps the definitive critical reflection on its consequences. (Austin. Cuarto Propio. When you look at how Brazil’s federal university system was treated by Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s government—no expansion in the student body took place and faculty did not have any nominal raises between 1995 and 2002—you begin to get a sense of how damaging the privatization period was to education. the United States and Brazil. but the depth of the destruction caused by the defunding of the public sector and the deregulation of private businesses after the 1980s. Fondo. What stares the analyst in the face is not the modest gains of recent center-left governments. Argos. 1989 Spanish edition translated at Duke (1999) and UFMG (2008). 2004. It has established a dialogue in terms more horizontal than those viable back when some subfields in the United States were dominated by the anxiety over their own privileged position vis-à-vis the continent they studied. 1998) 2 3 One can speak today—let us see for how long—of inequality as something that has actually been going down in parts of Latin America. Venezuela’s and Bolivia’s nominal reduction of their illiteracy rates to zero deserves to be celebrated. say.tulane. Even in FHC’s more socially conscious version—as opposed to. Yúdice’s study notes how culture has acquired a ubiquitous role as mediator.

Andes) rather than in some fiction of “Latin America.22) assembled practices related to the scientific project of the time as well as with state massacres and expeditions. in addition to Molloy. Beatriz Sarlo. As visible above. an implacable staging of a masculine 28 . mestizaje vs. Néstor García Canclini.) to privilege in interpreting cultural exchanges. Jean Franco and Sylvia Molloy. Caribbean. Andermann’s work is also auspicious in exemplifying a kind of crossnational collaboration that has become more common in recent years—in this case. 2002. Legrás’s book is also a healthy reminder that the effects of transculturation are never reducible to its uses by economic and political elites (p. while Brazilians Roberto Schwarz. These studies tend to be meticulously specific. 2004. hybridity. In Gender Studies. Works by Nelly Richard. which has brought much English. a notable place here belongs to the Federal University of Minas Gerais Press. a premise that makes possible a less stifling. Auspiciously. during. as its detailed engagement with novelists such as Juan José Saer and Roa Bastos demonstrates that the only Subaltern Studies that literature may be able to offer is the mapping of the rhetoric of subalternization. 18). (Molloy’s foremost contribution to that legacy in the past decade may well have been her novel El común olvido. most share an interesting feature: they tend not to replicate the ideological gesture of taking a metacritical stance as a priori lens whose validity the object would then confirm. Pittsburgh. transculturation. and other institutions. The ones that have been particularly inspiring to me further share the feature of devoting thought to the relations between “real” (political. not before the interpretive act takes place. and Flora Süssekind have seen their work appear in Spanish and English. a monumental synthesis that goes far beyond. Gonzalo Aguilar. and among the many works of the past decade that I find deserving of note. something that was almost a tic in certain debates of the 1980s and 90s. perhaps futile. I think of works such as Argentine Gonzalo Aguilar’s Poesía concreta brasileña: Las vanguardias en la encrucijada modernista (2003). cartography. have made that qualitative leap possible. This is certainly a good thing. in that sense it makes a nice counterpoint to John Beverley’s Subalternity and Representation (1999). whose Literatura y frontera: Procesos de territorialización en las culturas argentinas y chilena del siglo XIX (1999) and later articles are key pieces in the conversation. for example. more open field of inquiry than the one allowed by the tired discussions over which concept (mestizaje. a link also featured in a contemporary classic in the field such as Gabriela Nouzeille’s Ficciones somáticas: Naturalismo. transculturation vs. objectdriven pieces of scholarship.S. These editorial events should not go unrecorded when one assesses the state of the discipline in the United States and discusses. I tend to disagree with apocalyptic assessments of the field.g. this has not been a one-way road in which only books by U. but their theoretical concepts tend to emerge inductively. both the documentation of exclusion—be it of women or gay or lesbian or transgendered subjects—and the mapping of transgressive gestures by the excluded coexist with more multifaceted readings.-based scholars get disseminated.and Spanish-language Latin American Cultural Studies scholarship into Portuguese (along with Argos. literature. other leading essayists such as Graciela Montaldo). Nacionalismo y políticas médicas del cuerpo (Argentina 1880-1910) (2000). some neocolonial habits die hard. where the normalizing / conservative or emancipatory / liberating components of gender practices are not given in advance. UFMG. I believe most colleagues would agree that in the United States the discipline has not been dominated by one set of debates such as those that revolved around testimonio vs. among others. hybridity. Horacio Legrás’s Literature and Subjection (2008) will be read in years to come. especially.” But the fact is that they do. but it makes totalizing evaluative efforts difficult. etc. Cultural Studies.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 AVELAR continued… Josefina Ludmer’s El cuerpo del delito: Un manual (1999). economic) and rhetorical (literary. with the appearance of books by scholars who venture beyond their national boundaries and end up not “making a contribution. No matter how horizontal certain dialogues may have become. his sustained dialogue with Álvaro Fernández Bravo. e. by leaving legacies of engagements with the gendering of Latin American lettered culture that are both inspired by social justice and attentive to the intricacies of the literary text. how to “incorporate Brazil into Latin American Studies. usually anchored in one or two national traditions (or in a regional one. Silviano Santiago. The museum’s “material theater of sovereignty” (p. I believe. any single study of Concretism done in Brazil in the past 50 years.” but reshaping an entire subfield in another country. Some novel things have happened in this regard.” They are not “anti-theoretical” at all. or Subaltern vs. plastic) manifestations of inequality. which has published. which synthesized a previous way of thinking about those problems in Latin American Cultural Studies. At any rate. and other Spanish America-based scholars have also appeared in English and Portuguese. Jens Andermann’s The Optic of the State: Visuality and Power in Argentina and Brazil (2007) moves that debate to an institutional terrain and shows how at the turn of the 20th century those two states constructed a visual field through museums.

Diana Sorensen’s A Turbulent Decade Remembered: Scenes from the Latin American Sixties (Stanford.” What sets it apart from much previous scholarship is that crime appears not a theme to be sought and explained in literature. In the past decade. Likewise. but in conversations with colleagues such as John Charles. Queer Globalizations (2002). lay observer when it comes to Early Modern Studies. Josefina Ludmer’s El cuerpo del delito: Un manual. say. due to the role played by lettered culture in the constitution of the country’s modern state. 2007) deserves mention. that process is—as Ludmer would agree—highly specific to Argentina. an operative piece in the real relations between the state and the body politic. going back to Jorge Salessi’s contemporary classic Médicos. 1816-1929 and Glen Close’s Contemporary Hispanic Crime Fiction: A Discourse on Urban Violence. due not only to its location but also to the singularity of its revolutionary process.from heteroeroticism. for its skillful. we find much of the best scholarship on Latin America literature not necessarily thinking in terms of “Latin America” at all. Systematically. In Quiroga’s Cuban Palimpsests (2005). as opposed to more ideological (pan-indigenist. unparalleled and unknown. but also those separating. Juana María Rodríguez’s powerful Queer Latinidad (2003) and Arnaldo CruzMalavé’s always sophisticated readings. and in his Deseo. maleantes y maricas (1995). include Daniel Balderston’s mapping of homosexuality in literature in a host of essays and edited volumes. Ludmer’s is a definitive study of the historical role that—in Horacio Legrás’s words—“the aesthetic representation of crime has come to play in relationship to both the consolidation of the state and the emergence of a ‘people’. from Ileana Rodríguez to Kathleen Newman. Other landmarks in Queer Studies. gender is a realm where highly unique struggles around Cuban identity. it is notable how nationally grounded they have tended to be. Literatura. first. have attested to the continuous vitality of feminist scholarship in Latin America. If we go back in the period studies to the early 20th century. A Queer Mother for the Nation (2002). To the field delimited by luminaries such as Franco and Molloy. crítica y memoria en Argentina (1960–2002).voice. Crime. A few questions have stood out in monographic studies of modern literature. from Nelly Richard to Mary Louise Pratt. Another set of period studies is the postdictatorial scholarship on the Southern Cone nations. Many Area Studies programs in the United States would do well to reflect on that fact. Colonial Studies can only be “political” if it is. simultaneous 29 . younger scholars such as José Quiroga and Robert Irwin have added indispensable books. the collective Chicana Feminisms (2003). Saudades (2007). as evidenced by excellent books such as Juan Dabove’s Nightmares of the Lettered City: Banditry and Literature in Latin America. whose own monograph on Andean appropriations of literacy will give a lot of food for thought when it comes out. her volume thoroughly thinks through the relations between the rhetorical and the social dimensions. I sense that the best recent studies have also displayed the same geographical and historical embeddedness. Beatriz Sarlo’s Tiempo pasado (2005) and Escritos sobre literatura argentina (2007). as it produces what appeared impossible a few years ago: an innovative recasting of the Spanish American boom in ways that replicate neither its celebratory self-perception nor later critiques of it. Again. homo. They manifest themselves in rather specific forms in Mexico. For its sophistication. but as something that allows literature to become a dispositif. then. Presses such as Argentina’s Feminaria and Chile’s Cuarto Propio.) At least two generations of Latin American(ist) feminists. and exclusion have represented perhaps the dominant cluster. Sorensen accomplishes it with an eye to the boom’s duplicitous nature as an experience of decline and inauguration. my sense is that this awareness is now more solidly established in the field than it had been in a recent past. as well as journals such as Mexico’s Fem. not only the geographical one. and politics take place. violence. for example. Again. punishment. and Miguel Dalmaroni’s La palabra justa. Rubén Gallo’s Mexican Modernity: The Avant-garde and the Technological Revolution (2007) certainly deserves a place of distinction. As with most good literary criticism. Revisiting the 1960s has inspired good work. Again with the caveat that I am a distant. some of the important landmarks in Gender Studies have been Licia Fiol-Matta’s study of Gabriela Mistral. Important works in masculinity / gay studies have also been done for the Colonial period—see Pete Sigal’s edited volume Infamous Desire: Male Homosexuality in Colonial Latin America as the inquiry around gender goes through as interesting a moment now as any it had earlier enjoyed. both tributary to a contemporary classic mentioned above. About Early Modern Studies I am less equipped to opine. Irwin’s Mexican Masculinities (2003) tackles issues around borders. pan-Latin Americanist or Third Worldist) gestures. as in his Queer Latino Testimonio (2007) or in his volume coedited with Martin Malalansan. and Políticas de la memoria (coedited with Ralph Buchenhorst. cicatriz luminosa: Ensayos sobre homosexualidades latinoamericanas (2004). culture. the synthesis of which in the past decade was advanced by Sandra Lorenzano’s Escrituras de la sobrevivencia (2001). in Brazil or Peru. 2007). rigorous in its historiography and meticulously grounded in its object. have continued that work.

y colombianos demuestran lo contrario. and imperialism I have read in a while. Yo me atrevería a decir que los estudios coloniales primero y los estudios postcoloniales recientemente pueden bien entenderse dentro de la rúbrica eco-crítica. las tabacaleras. documents how ellipsis has been at the center of the literature produced in Vieques’ unique neocolonial conditions. la llanura. consideren la eco-crítica como una moda más de las academias norteamericanas. written not from a conservative standpoint but by an essayist of a lifelong engagement with black and mestiço Brazilian cultures.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 AVELAR continued… handling of aesthetic and historical questions. an objectdriven embeddedness that makes some earlier—and current—debates on “Latin America” appear a bit byzantine and unfruitful. pero eso no quita que el ímpetu sea el mismo.89@osu. Es posible considerar que muchos críticos culturales. Creo que bien podríamos argumentar que la eco-crítica es una posición contra el desarrollismo. los trabajos de los latinoamericanistas coinciden con los de la eco-crítica en el análisis de los conflictos y tensiones creados por la modernidad a nivel de lo naturalsocial. los campos de caña de azúcar. the most sophisticated literary analysis of race. las bananeras. This is certainly a partial assessment. they have also tended to share a local character. No voy a negar que el sesgo es diferente. focus. Risério’s is a powerful challenge to the importation of binary U. hoy por hoy. que la eco-crítica está más ligada al ambientalismo que a la explotación del trabajo humano. much has been written in the past decade. si la ecocrítica está hoy por hoy relacionada con los movimientos ambientalistas. la explotación del caucho. Perspectivas eco-críticas latinoamericanas Conocimientos transpuestos recuperados por ILEANA RODRÍGUEZ Ohio State University rodriguez. y después por clasificar y controlar las especies que hicieran primero veedores y oidores y más tarde naturalistas y geógrafos? ¿Quién que haya leído los ya clásicos libros de Antonello Gerbi puede dudar del lugar central que la naturaleza ocupa en las relaciones conflictivas entre los europeos y los americanos? ¿Y qué decir del libro de Michel Foucault El orden de las cosas que nos habla de las crisis de las nomenclaturas europeas en su contacto con las especies naturales de este continente que vinieron primero a desordenar y luego a reorganizar todo el conocimiento europeo precisamente sobre lo natural? De la misma manera podemos recordar todos los textos sobre la pampa. Santiago-Díaz’s monograph on Afro-Puerto Rican Vieques writer Carmelo Rodríguez Torres. Y en esto. humano. but I would single out two books: Antonio Risério’s A utopia brasileira e os movimentos negros (2007) and Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz’s Escritura afropuertorriqueña y modernidad (2007). que marcaron toda la literatura social de la modernidad temprana en nuestras incipientes repúblicas. a pesar de que los ejemplares trabajos contemporáneos de bolivianos. contra los aspectos negativos 30 . La eco-crítica pone primero en escena los textos que hablan de estos asuntos y luego propone una reflexión teórica sobre los mismos. lo político-social. sobre todo aquellos afectos a aferrarse a las tradiciones imperantes en la era de las formaciones nacionales. Digo esto porque ¿quién no ha oído siquiera hablar del animismo de las culturas indígenas y quien no recuerda el arduo trabajo de los exploradores a principios de los enfrentamientos euro-americanos en su denodado esfuerzo primero por recorrer los paisajes humanos y naturales. modernity. Nadie puede dudar que los estudios críticos de la cultura latinoamericana siempre han puesto en escena las relaciones entre lo humano y lo natural. ¿Y quién puede ignorar. las filosofías holísticas sobre la naturaleza y su relación con lo social-cultural son de larga raigambre indígena en la América Latina. but it does suggest that the best works in the field have tended to combine social and rhetorical questions in dynamic. innovative ways. racial paradigms into Brazil. guatemaltecos. como también pueden bien serlo los estudios sobre la modernidad latinoamericana y su tránsito hacia la postmodernidad. framed by my own limits. diaspora. In mapping the relations between real and symbolic dimensions.edu La eco-crítica se define como el estudio de las relaciones entre la cultura y su medio ambiente natural y social. pero el tenor de los mismos estudios cambia de ángulo de visión según las urgencias de época. Mas. El desarrollo de tal crítica se predica sobre el conocimiento de que todo está interrelacionado y sobre el reconocimiento de la relevancia de los problemas de la representación y administración de lo natural en relación al todo social. la selva. la importancia de la coca en las literaturas y culturas del presente? El corpus letrado en su totalidad está marcado por esta preocupación no llamada eco-crítica pero que puede bien subsumirse en ella. and preferences. In Critical Race Studies.S.

lógicas. Y en mi nuevo libro. la naturaleza deviene empresa. lo que va moldeando las formaciones sociales. poesía y valor. Si se quiere. libre de explorar. calentamientos globales. Y ¿no es acaso Menchú quien informa que los ambientalistas les han robado sus ideas sin darles crédito? ¿No es ella acaso la que pone en escena la exclusión indígena de los movimientos mundiales en aras de la salvación del planeta? Hay 31 . naturaleza y conocimiento. Propuse ahí que la idea moderna de la naturaleza siempre significó un movimiento que se alejaba de la noción ‘de lo natural’ hacia significados económicos— explotación. natural. ciertamente constituyen el trasfondo que apoya las formaciones sociales coloniales y modernas. Desde el principio de las confrontaciones euro- americanas. uno de los momentos cruciales del debate sobre estas filosofías ecológicas es la discusión sobre ‘culturas milenarias’ y ‘creencias’ que emprende Rigoberta Menchú y ante las cuales uno entra de lleno en esos diálogos postergados y conocimientos despreciados. el valor de sus propuestas. Y cómo no articular estas ideas distópicas a las de Miguel Ángel Asturias y su personaje Machojón. como bien viene argumentando desde hace tiempo Walter Mignolo. de modernidades periféricas. extracción. son propuestas proféticas. La eco-crítica nos permite re-evaluar los diferentes proyectos transcontinentales. contra la destrucción de medio-ambientes naturales para favorecer las industrias extractivas. desarrollo. los recursos naturales. tierra virgen. El hambre es pues una manera de subyugar. lluvias ácidas. The Limits of Liberalism. de las tensiones de la modernidad. si se quiere. la naturaleza. Por eso propongo que los documentos primarios y secundarios de la colonización constituyen genealogías de los proyectos de investigación para el desarrollo que podemos leer en las universidades y agencias que propician tales empeños. tierras yermas. Pude constatar la importancia que la tierra/lo natural tenía para la cultura en general. Ideas opuestas al sentido común constituyen el locus de lo profético. el lugar de posibilidades no realizadas cuya fuerza radica en crear nuevos lenguajes. ciencia ficción en la que alimentar máquinas es primario y antecede la alimentación de las personas. Idealizar las comunidades orgánicas del pasado. acumulación primaria de capital. Aprendí cómo la guerra obstruye la producción de alimentos y cómo la destrucción de la tierra y la alteración de los ciclos de producción y el cambio en el tipo de cosechas es central al proyecto de subyugación colonial. en un arranque de desesperación quema sus campos de maíz. quien. contaminaciones sin retroceso. con la eco-crítica hay un retorno a formas animistas del pasado. responden a necesidades humana inherentes. tradiciones—utópicas por el momento en la medida que sólo existen en la imaginación. imaginación. Lo profético significa predecir lo que todavía no es y por eso las nuevas ideas. Estas constituyen paradigmas contrarios a la explotación irrespetuosa de los recursos naturales. para mencionar sólo uno. virgilianas. y proponen un desarrollo respetuoso. Imposible no ligar esta idea con la producción de etanol en el presente y el uso del maíz con propósitos energéticos. destrucción de capas de ozono. y evaluar epistemologías alternas. mi propósito era justamente replantearme no sólo una visión y una representación sobre la naturaleza sino una manera de articular las visiones y las representaciones específicamente culturales a los proyectos de investigación y desarrollo que habían empezado desde los primeros conflictos globales que se suscitaron a partir de la llegada de los españoles primero y después de los europeos al continente americano. La tierra. relevar lo prístino. Los movimientos liberadores son atractivos no precisamente por sus exactitudes de diagnóstico sino por su imaginación. es ejemplar en este aspecto. un universo de convicciones fluidas. a mecanismos de admonición y de supervivencia. a la madre naturaleza. impoluto. Por eso las diferentes disciplinas vuelven a la idea del respeto a la tierra. Cómo no ver la producción de distopías culturales. a tradiciones pastoriles. valorar los recursos naturales como recursos sociales. Cuando yo emprendí esta investigación. tal las indígenas y sus contratos culturales con lo natural.de la modernidad. Así lo vemos en las escuelas que hablan de desarrollos alternativos. contra el uso y abuso de las plantas para producir estupefacientes. tienen que entrar a formar parte del debate público y persuadir. esto es. la naturaleza es la protagonista principal en la medida que es su apreciación. herramienta de persuasión. y el asumir que el espacio público es flexible. esto es. naturaleza y política y mis estudios se apoyan en enormes genealogías conformadoras de grandes campos disciplinarios. especies en extinción. Mi trabajo ciertamente bordea los marcos de tal crítica. El trabajo de Arturo Escobar. que. esto es. no obstante. Transatlantic Topographies. frontera. El envés de estos imaginarios es apocalíptico y profetiza el fin del planeta—holocaustos nucleares. Mi propio trabajo es de este tenor puesto que ciertamente pone en escena la relación entre naturaleza y sociedad. aguas contaminadas. en el sentido inglés de la palabra. tierra de nadie. Este proyecto me enseñó a ver la naturaleza desde una multitud de articulaciones. uso de alimentos como combustible. responde a imaginarios sociales inexistentes en lo real pero posibles a nivel simbólico. entendiendo lo profético en el sentido de Richard Rorty. En mi libro. la interrelación que los procesos culturales tienen con ella. aunque parezcan irrealizables.

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui. la fruta más limpia puesto que la envuelve su propia cáscara. Princeton. se iban maravillando ante el silencio cautivo de lo natural. que son directamente útiles a la eco-crítica. en ella. Para los testimonialistas y novelistas colombianos. de ahí su nombre de rastreador. La lectura de Rápido Tránsito de José Coronel Urtecho nos pone al tanto de todos estos viajeros que recorrían el río San Juan en busca de la manera más expedita de atravesar el continente lado a lado y cómo. al desembocar en el gran lago. o explotación y opresión han sido tropo fundamental de lo cultural pero su énfasis no ha recaído en la protección de la naturaleza solamente sino también y muy particularmente en la protección de lo humano. Y así podríamos hablar no sólo de lo que se ve y se mide sino de lo que se come. de todo desarrollista. Referencias Escobar. ensayistas y desarrollistas sobre las otras regiones de América. Rigoberta. Ya no digamos el relato de Don Segundo Sombra. vehículo que acarrea el sentido de la cultura milenaria. que si la eco-crítica está íntimamente asociada a los movimientos ambientalistas en los países ricos. vidente. Vargas Llosa en el Perú. para terminar. conocimiento de lo natural en el momento de su desvanecimiento en lo lírico al ser absorbido por lo industrial. New York: Cambridge University Press 32 . De la misma manera podríamos hablar. lugar de tránsito de todo investigador. En sus bordes termina la sabana. y empieza lo desconocido. La selva es un gran tropo literario. El trabajo de naturalistas y geógrafos que recorren a pie las llanuras con sus instrumentos de medir inmensidades. produce gran acumulación de capital y grandes cambios en la articulación de los grupos de poder. el banano. Entendía el canto de los pájaros. paisaje. Wilson Harris en Guyana. El verdor convertía de nuevo el proyecto de desarrollo en paisaje. cultivo. Y toda la literatura de fronteras termina en sus orillas. que siempre me fascinó con su magia detectivesca que ahora encuentro estaba relacionada a la lectura de lo natural. como Alfredo Molano y Fernando Vallejos. de clasificar. La madre de Rigoberta es partera. La naturaleza era para ella un texto donde leía signos tales como la fortaleza de los vientos. de los que la absorben por la nariz. de interceptar y tratar de domeñar lo natural encanta. la civilización.: Princeton University Press. Roberto 1990 Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative. la gran contribución de América a Europa—energía para trabajadores y soldados. en América Latina está asociada a la colonización y a la modernización. José Eustacio Rivera y Rómulo Gallegos en Venezuela. y por eso supo predecir la muerte de su hijo Patrocinio. Por ejemplo cuando habla de su madre. En América Latina. con escritores. los tiernos tallos de las hojas del chilacayote que curaban las heridas de los pies causadas por el lodo.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 RODRÍGUEZ continued… segmentos de su texto. lugar mágico. punto de cambio y lugar de límite de las ambiciones de la familia Rockefeller. desarrollista y medioambientalista. la hoja milagrosa. embriaga. González Echevarría. tierra rica en toda variedad de árboles. Conocía el xew’ xew que curaba dolores. flores. al rastro dejado en los caminos. significa entidades biológicas y culturales. el k’a q’ eyes que curaba los resfríos. pongo en perspectiva las habilidades del rastreador en Sarmiento. podríamos hablar con los agrimensores y poetas Euclides de Cuna y Wilson Harris sobre la inmensidad pasmosa de la amazonía. cerramos este artículo. su historia social. primero y último día de la creación según el novelista cubano Alejo Carpentier. calma. traspasa fronteras y produce toneladas de documentación. Libros como The Fate of the Forest nos hablan de los desarrollos fallidos. Por ejemplo. Sitio archi-explorado. de contar. de almacenar. transforma a los niños en sicarios matones. que cura. la nieta de los Mayas. Arturo 1995 Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. el sonido de los animales. no es cocaína—los indígenas de Arguedas y Alegría la mascan sin cesar para descansar y calmarse. la cocaína envenena los cuerpos—de las mulas que las cargan en sus estómagos. enloquece. Para ya no hablar de la coca. El signo madre. el movimiento del tiempo. lago de tiburones de agua dulce. Ella vivía en Chimel. para Sidney Mintz. Los niños de Nicaragua aprenden que su geografía es su historia y la historia natural. Cuando leo a Rigoberta. La coca corrompe gobiernos. Digamos. sean tierra. poetas. la luz y la oscuridad. a la explotación y a la opresión. Con ella rigiendo al centro de las narrativas de acumulación de capital y criminalidad hoy. Cambridge. los pulmones del planeta. casi estrangulando la cintura de América y convirtiéndola en pasaje natural—ahora totalmente poluto. N. un bosque de nubes. en su travesía. los recursos naturales. su presencia en lugares inesperados. encantado. Para la perspicaz analista cultural.J. curandera. pájaros. el azúcar. el saq ixoqto para los dolores de estómago causados por el hambre. a poca distancia del océano. la hoja de coca no es droga. en literatura.

Rivera Cusicanqui. Princeton. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. and Defenders of the Amazon. porque ocurre en el contexto del resurgimiento de la izquierda latinoamericana en los últimos años. Silvia n. Pa. Antonello c. Esto es en parte porque.Y. Rodríguez. social demócratas. aun en algunos casos estalinistas. Highlands. James Graham (tr). San José. Rigoberta 1998 Rigoberta. Mintz. Ser “neo”conservador entonces implica que no eran conservadores inicialmente—eran liberales. La idea de un giro neoconservador.1985 Nature in the New World: From Christopher Columbus to Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo.org/mercancia _indigena_y_sus_paradojas. Urtecho. México: Alfaguara. and Gunmen. Gerbi. N. Susana and Alexander Cockburn 1989 The Fate of the Forest: Developers.cocasoberania.lostiempos. 2009 Liberalism at its Limits: Crime and Terror in the Latin American Cultural Text. sin el elemento de coerción. Richard 1998 Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers. London: New York. EDUCA. los movimientos sociales se han vuelto el estado (para pedir prestada una frase de Ernesto Laclau). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.com/noticias/3110-06/31_10_06_pv4. Michel 1970 The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Menchú. Pero este retorno de lo político también trae en su secuela una serie de nuevas preguntas e incertidumbres. Alfredo 2004 Loyal Soldiers in the Cocaine Kingdom: Tales of Drugs. Conjuntamente de la necesidad de un cambio de paradigma que pone nuevamente el énfasis en el estado en vez de la sociedad civil y los movimientos sociales.php>.pdf>. New York. quiero sugerir aquí que en la actualidad se está produciendo un giro neoconservador en el pensamiento socio-cultural latinoamericano que busca intervenir en esta nueva coyuntura. y el concepto en si. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. New York: Columbia University Press. la nieta de los Mayas. José Coronel 1972 Rápido Tránsito. Se habla mucho estos días del retorno de lo político. segundo. ¿Existe un giro neoconservador en Latinoamérica hoy? por JOHN BEVERLEY University of Pittsburgh brq@pitt.J.: Viking. Mignolo. se refieren a historia conocida en los Estados Unidos que lleva a un grupo de intelectuales desde la izquierda eventualmente a una posición de apoyo para Reagan y sus seguidores en el partido Republicano.Y. 1750-1900. Pittsburgh. Subaltern Kowledges. Jeremy Moyle (tr).: University of Pittsburgh Press 1973 The Dispute of the New World: The History of a Polemic. Ileana 2004 Transatlantic Topographies: Islands. Global Designs: Coloniality. N. Este giro es doblemente paradójico: primero. Mules. 1998. trotskistas. Fernando 1999 La Virgen de los Sicarios. Costa Rica: Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana. Rorty. En particular. Jungle. en casos como Bolivia o Venezuela.: Princeton UP. 2000. o se están prestando activamente a proyectos políticos para ganar el poder de estado. Son “nuevos” conservadores como los “nuevos cristianos” del siglo XVI en España. Vallejo. 33 .edu Hecht. Molano. Madrid: El País-Aguilar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. “Una mercancía indígena y sus paradojas: La hoja de coca en tiempos de globalización” <http://www.d. porque se manifiesta principalmente desde la izquierda. Destroyers. “Celebración de la hoja de coca” <http://www. Foucault. Sidney Wilfred 1985 Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Walter 2000 Local Histories. and Border Thinking. New York: Pantheon Books.: Verso. N. 1999.

Relacionado con esto. una distinción banal pero quizás necesaria. He hecho referencia antes a Jorge Castañeda. Bolivia. implícita en el giro neoconservador latinoamericano hay una variante de la distinción ya bastante difundida entre izquierda respetable e izquierda “retrograda”. para usar la caracterización de Jorge Castañeda (“Morning in Latin America. Generalmente. y de las nuevas formas de “identity politics” como el feminismo o los movimientos de afirmación étnica. las posiciones actuales de Beatriz Sarlo. por supuesto. sería útil hacer una distinción entre neoconservadurismo y neoliberalismo. en el sentido que Gramsci le da al concepto—es decir. porque es evidente que hay marcadas diferencias de situación y posiciones involucradas. o una parte significativa de ella. La pregunta subyacente es por lo tanto sobre la naturaleza de lo que se ha entendido convencionalmente como “izquierda”. podríamos decir que el neoliberalismo es la tendencia residual y que el neoconservadurismo es. la izquierda respetable está en el poder. Piensan que es importante defender e impartir esos valores pedagógica y críticamente contra la fuerza desterritorializadora de la sociedad de mercado y la globalización. Se pueden vislumbrar elementos de una posición neoconservadora en. basado en la maximización de la ganancia y la minimización de la pérdida. y en el debate de las ideas en la esfera pública. o (en ciertas formulaciones) Héctor Aguilar Camín en México. Elizabeth Burgos y Teodoro Petkoff en Venezuela. implícita o explícita. ya que estas posiciones a menudo se desdibujan entre si. el intelectual que habla en nombre de lo universal y que opera en la universidad y el mundo del arte y la cultura. o Venezuela la izquierda “respetable” forma a veces parte de la oposición política a los gobiernos de la izquierda “retrograda” en el poder. 34 . me atrevo a sugerir seis temas entrecruzados que caracterizan el giro neoconservador: 1) Un rechazo generalizado a la autoridad— la “razón subjetiva”. según la fórmula de Sarlo—de una “voz” y experiencia subalterna o popular.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 BEVERLEY continued… El giro neoconservador en Estados Unidos aparece inicialmente sobre todo como una crítica generalizada de la Nueva Izquierda y la contra-cultura de los sesenta. los neoconservadores sí creen que hay una jerarquía de valores epistemológicos. Por contraste. La idea subyacente es que los nuevos gobiernos neo-populistas de la izquierda “retrograda” movilizan esta “razón subjetiva” de una forma demagógica y aventurista. que tendían a dominar la escena en el período anterior. existen variantes de lo que denomino aquí el giro neoconservador en cada país de América Latina. También podría sugerir los casos de Sergio Ramírez en Nicaragua. En otras palabras. o está tratando de ser. Consciente del peligro de generalizar demasiado. la “izquierda” intelectual tradicional en América Latina hoy. el neoliberalismo en principio no propone otra jerarquía de valor a más que el deseo del consumidor en si y la efectividad del mercado libre y la democracia formal como mecanismos para ejercitar la libertad de elección. esas variantes expresan una especie de pliegue o escisión dentro del campo intelectual de la izquierda. o los comuneros mapuches en Chile. Pero en Argentina. En Chile o Brasil. ¿sigue siendo de izquierda? ¿O se está volviendo como en el caso norteamericano una especie nueva derecha? Para comenzar una respuesta. Pero no hay espacio aquí para considerar casos particulares. September/October 2008). Similarmente. de una posición neoliberal. Este papel requiere de la autoridad del intelectual tradicional. o los piqueteros. Esta desjerarquización implícita en la teoría neoliberal entraña por lo tanto un fuerte desafío a la autoridad de las élites intelectuales tradicionales para determinar los estándares de valor cultural. Con afán ilustrativo podríamos decir en un contexto latinoamericano que los Vargas Llosa (padre e hijo) o los así llamados escritores “McOndo” o Manifiesto Crack. Y. Pero esas tendencias—y otras que se relacionan con ellas—son algo diferente del giro neoconservador. Los neoliberales creen en la eficacia del mercado libre y en un modelo utilitario de agencia humana. Usando una conocida distinción de Raymond Williams.” Foreign Affairs. o la tendencia en los estudios culturales que pone primordialmente el énfasis en las operaciones del mercado de bienes culturales. Como se sabe. En cierto sentido el giro neoconservador está dirigido contra estas tendencias de la teoría social y cultural. la tendencia emergente en el pensamiento socio-cultural en Latinoamérica. constituyen una aceptación. (El modelo del intelectual neoconservador en América Latina de otra generación es Octavio Paz). estéticos y morales imbuida en la formas de la alta cultura y las disciplinas académicas—una jerarquía vinculada esencialmente al paradigma de la Ilustración. uno de los intelectuales públicos más importantes de Argentina. por ejemplo. o la mencionada celebración de la “sociedad civil” en sectores de las ciencias sociales (incluyendo a veces los estudios subalternos). Surge precisamente en el momento en que el neoliberalismo ha perdido su hegemonía como ideología. como las turbas chavistas. o los cocaleros de Evo Morales. un escepticismo frente no sólo a las políticas identitarias multiculturales sino también ante las nuevas formas y sujetos de protagonismo popular informal.

el mundo del arte y la cultura. pero también normativo. Este énfasis en “lo nuestro” o lo “local” hace del giro neoconservador una variante del Arielismo: el supuesto de que los valores y la identidad cultural de Latinoamérica están vinculados de una manera especialmente significativa a su expresión literaria y artística. Las consecuencias de las políticas económicas neoliberales produjeron una crisis de legitimación tanto del estado como de los aparatos ideológicos. el giro neoconservador puede ser visto como un intento por parte de una intelectualidad criolla. En lugar de identificarse con estos nuevos actores. y la madurez con una posición más desengañada y sensata. progresista. similar al modelo autobiográfico de la picaresca barroca. y en especial (pero no sólo) de la lucha armada. 5) Un rechazo general del proyecto de la izquierda latinoamericana de los años 60 y 70. de capturar. la reducción del apoyo estatal a la educación superior (y a la educación en general). profesionalizada. el giro neoconservador atraviesa también el campo académico de los Latin American Studies. Si este hipótesis es correcta. o el escritor-crítico y de sus procedimientos metodológicos y su función cívica-pedagógica. que fueron especialmente desprestigiadas y perjudicadas por las reformas neoliberales en la educación. Al mismo tiempo. la familia. La “marea”. 3) A pesar del rechazo explícito o implícito de las políticas identitarias. o de las mujeres y las minorías sexuales—movimientos que de una forma u otra involucran aspectos de lo que Aníbal Quijano ha llamado la “colonialidad del poder” en América Latina. jerarquizador. o 35 . un canon moderno-vanguardista. como si les faltara legitimidad. esto involucra una afirmación del llamado “valor estético” y del canon. La combinación de privatización y proliferación de cultura de masas desestabilizó la autoridad cultural de un sistema previo de normas. aunque es sobre todo un fenómeno de la esfera pública latinoamericana. en que se asocia la juventud con las ilusiones del período revolucionario de los 60 y 70. Por otro lado. se reafirma paradójicamente una posicionalidad “criolla” latinoamericana contrapuesta a lo que es percibido como el carácter “anglo” de las nuevas modalidades de la teoría postmoderna. el giro neoconservador se ofrece como una ideología de profesionalismo y disciplinaridad centrada en la esfera de las humanidades. valores. el artista profesional. las instituciones religiosas. y jerarquías representado por los intelectuales. incluyendo la escuela. En este sentido. como en el caso de Álvaro García Liñera en Bolivia o Marcos en México. La tendencia libertaria implícita en el modelo de “elección racional” a través del mercado no puede servir como plataforma para la imposición de una estructura normativa de valores y expectativas sobre poblaciones. en su mayoría blanca o blanca-mestiza. 4) Una resistencia notable a reconocer las demandas de autonomía y las nuevas formas de agencia desarrolladas por los movimientos identitarios indígenas o afro-latinos.2) Una defensa del académico. pero que ahora están en proceso de ser desplazados por nuevas fuerzas políticas y actores más jóvenes. Se trata en cierto sentido de un enfrentamiento de intelectuales y artistas tradicionales e intelectuales orgánicos de los movimientos sociales. una ideología implementada por y a través del estado y los aparatos ideológicos para contrarrestar la crisis de legitimidad provocada por el neoliberalismo. con la advertencia de que una equivocación “voluntarista” similar acecha en el corazón de las nuevas políticas identitarias y nacionalistas de los gobiernos neo-populistas. el giro neoconservador los ve sin simpatía. y el sistema tradicional de partidos políticos. la fuerza innovadora de las medidas económicas neoliberales empieza a descrecer y/o producir efectos perversos. surge del debilitamiento de la hegemonía ideológica del neoliberalismo. 6) Una reterritorialización y defensa de las disciplinas académicas. disciplinador. Este rechazo conlleva un paradigma implícito de desilusión personal. se salen de esa clase). Registra por un lado la crisis de sectores de las clases media y alta afectadas de manera negativa por las políticas neoliberales de ajuste estructural. En esta nueva coyuntura. contra los disturbios de lo que Néstor García Canclini solía llamar en el heyday de los estudios culturales “ciencias sociales nómadas”. muestran que cada vez más la ideología neoliberal es percibida por todos lados como insuficiente para garantizar la gobernabilidad. a favor de una posición política más cautelosa. los museos. de clase media o clase media-alta. En el caso de la literatura en particular. Involucrado en esta defensa hay el autoreconocimiento de una generación de intelectuales y profesionales de izquierda que asumieron riesgos considerables durante tiempos difíciles en sus respectivos países. al igual que la elección de Obama en Estados Unidos. y la proliferación de la cultura de masas comercializada. que muchas veces no provienen de la clase intelectual (o. ¿De donde surge el impulso detrás del giro neoconservador? Creo que representa un efecto superestructural de la integración de Latinoamérica a los procesos actuales de globalización. o como si de algún modo fueran demasiado ingenuos.

mi temor es que actúe también como inhibidor o límite a los objetivos y posibilidades de la izquierda y el pensamiento progresista latinoamericano en el período venidero. por un lado. de seus hotéis de segurança eletrônica ou desarmados de suas fantasias de ajuda às populações de onde eu viera (para lhes ensinar em vão) (18. en contextos concretos. Creo que el giro neoconservador continuará siendo una tendencia dentro de la izquierda y la intelectualidad progresista en América Latina. como tal. hace un intento de redefinir (o limitar) los proyectos emergentes de la izquierda latinoamericana dentro de lo que continúan siendo parámetros dominados por esos criterios. Si mi diagnóstico de un giro neoconservador en Latinoamérica es correcto. podría desplazarse en distintas direcciones. la situación política se polariza más. que no sólo viene desde la izquierda. y. one of the main problems involved in the representation of marginality comes to light: the problem of mediation. y enfatizo su carácter tentativo. the narrator—an invited writer at Berkeley University very similar to the actual author—reflects about the contradictions of studying third world misery from the comfortable position that the first world provides: eu me preguntava quem estava ali de fato interessado por esses quadros de miséria afastados de seus cotidianos quase principescos. Más bien. al mismo tiempo.edu In the first pages of Berkeley em Bellagio (2002). Los ejemplos de Jorge Castañeda en México o Elizabeth Burgos en Venezuela hacen alusión a esta posible consecuencia en un contexto actual latinoamericano. pero pasa rápidamente a la órbita de la política.edu and DANIEL NOEMI VOIONMAA University of Michigan danielnv@umich. como dicen los historiadores económicos. de las nuevas formas heterogéneas de gestión política de los movimientos sociales. el neoliberalismo.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 BEVERLEY continued… recapturar. In spite of the narrator’s cynicism about his students’ interest and about the impossibility for them to establish a direct contact with third world poverty. el espacio de autoridad cultural y hermenéutica en Latinoamérica de. inhibiendo así la gran promesa de los sesenta en los Estados Unidos: la formación de un nuevo bloque histórico popular-democrático pluri-racial y potencialmente mayoritario en el corazón de la sociedad norteamericana. En este sentido allanó el camino para la restauración conservadora de los 80. o dice de sí misma. through this reflection. but mainly from cinema. Estoy tratando de captar una tendencia emergente que todavía no ha tomado total conciencia de sí misma y que. Esa crítica dividió tanto a la izquierda como al Partido Demócrata. y en el campo de los Latin American Studies. El giro neoconservador de los 70 y 80 en los Estados Unidos comienza en el campo de la crítica cultural. following this quote the narrator clarifies that his own position is not better: his images of misery don’t come from “reality” either. entendida en el sentido de lo que Gramsci llama “el liderazgo moral intelectual de la nación”. This is a problem with several 36 . muchas veces sobre líneas raciales y generacionales. by Brazilian writer João Gilberto Noll. Pero también es posible que si. por otro. our emphasis). profesionalismo y especialización. O que fariam com essas imagens que para eles deveriam reverberar como campos de refugiados de todo o azar do planeta? –azar que eles nunca iriam constatar fora de suas embaixadas. como sucedió en los casos de los New York Intellectuals en los Estados Unidos (muchos de los cuales terminaron en el Partido Republicano de Reagan) o los llamados Nuevos Filósofos o el historiador Francois Furet en Francia. que incorpore sus propios criterios disciplinarios de autoridad. Despliega para ese fin una doble estrategia de interpelación: hace un llamado a crear una nueva forma de hegemonía cultural. del cual solo comenzamos a salir con Obama. no creo estar exagerando el caso. se podría decir de esa operación. He is also distanced from the “reality” he is supposed to talk about and explain. Sin embargo. Se podría argumentar que la operación crítica y política representada por figuras como Beatriz Sarlo es algo completamente distinto del tipo de neoconservadurismo propugnado en las “guerras culturales” en los Estados Unidos. representado sobre todo por los nuevos gobiernos de la “marea populista”. un período de “larga duración”. esta tendencia se alinee políticamente con posiciones más explícitamente conservadoras o de centro derecha. si bien mi propia posición no es completamente desinteresada. Thus. Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Marginality in Contemporary Latin American Literature by LUZ HORNE Cornell University lh257@cornell. sino que es también en cierto sentido una defensa de la izquierda contra lo que se percibe como un relativismo postmodernista cómplice con el neoliberalismo y un neopopulismo demagógico post-neoliberal.

Also. until then. that attempts to represent the reality of the marginal. by Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. tend to be comical and dumb. Migration from the countryside had created a new reality of poverty and marginality. as it aims also to artistically express the structural causes of social injustice. Social Realism was rapidly dismissed as second rate literature. An urban Critical Realism tries to acknowledge and represent this new situation and the system that produces it. On the other side of the spectrum. is an excellent example of this and of all the contradictions that Social Realism entails. In some of Horacio Quiroga’s short stories. the late 1920s and 1930s see the appearance of the most significant movement. So. which symbolizes everything outside ordem e progreso. Hardly is the social structure put into question. mediation persists as an unresolved problem. In order to understand some of the main forms and versions this question takes in Latin American literature today. On one hand. we need to make a brief (and necessarily partial) review of the ways in which the answers (as well as the questions themselves) have changed through time. This distance—and mediation can be understood as the effort to traverse that trajectory—will always remain. writers or artists in general. mediation appears unavoidably in cultural representation: in film or in literature. The collection of short stories. the straightforward political rhetoric that characterized this aesthetics disappears. the old question. representation—the attempt of ‘bringing back’ something that is not there—implies a distance from/to the subject or object being represented. *** During the second half of the 19th century. However. and madness. The position. with its shocking language and sometimes pedagogical plots and monotonous rhetoric. Other more “elaborated” literary forms took stage. we witness the emergence of a literature that tries to engage with Latin American reality. from where the writer “speaks. Mundonovismo. Then. makes the problem of how to speak on behalf of the other the central aspect of the novel. it relates to the subject and his/her class position: to talk about the marginal from a certain economic and social well being may derive in or create exoticism.sides. the marginal can be understood in different ways and perspectives.” becomes a key issue for which we find different kinds of answers. belonging to lower social classes but rarely to its very extremes. the representation of marginality becomes more and more complex. No matter what we do we will always require mediation if there is anything we want to represent. researchers. they speak ‘funny’ and are tricksters without being evil. Certainly. the problems involved in the representation of marginality are multiple and have always been a matter of controversy. But that perspective was not enough for many young writers and intellectuals who saw in the events of 1917 a real possibility of change. Social Realism. most of the time it is reproduced or reinforced. ‘depict’ the reality of social marginality?” is still pertinent and relevant today. A hora da estrela (1977). Racial. In fact. the locus of enunciation. anti-civilization. the narrative that prevailed had a romanticrealist approach. in the first decades of the past century. published in 1930 by the Ecuadorian writers Joaquín Gallegos Lara.e. on the contrary. must be tamed. but always keeping in mind that what is being written is literature. as we can see in Martín Rivas (1863). They are now the protagonists. the new urban reality of the continent was one of the main problems that affected the representation of marginality at this time. and particular. even though this aesthetic broadens the artistic field and directs the reader’s gaze towards the marginal aspects of society (Cambaceres’ novels or D’Halmar’s Juana Lucero [1902] are interesting examples). In fact. paternalism or a didactical perspective (the one who feels entitled to teach the other). Testimonio constitutes a serious—and controversial—attempt to end with the privileged position of the writer. However. i. Nature. in La vorágine (1924) by Colombian writer José Eustasio Rivera or in Doña Bárbara (1929) by Venezuela’s future president Rómulo Gallegos. as we can see through many of the naturalist novels written during the turn of the century. During the 1970s and 80s. and believed that literature had a more concrete (social and political) function in society. gender and economic inequalities produce 37 . su tierra. Magical Realism seems to constitute an escape from this: it produces an allegory of marginality that appears to exclude the voice of the marginal. Demetrio Aguilera Malta and Enrique Gil Gilbert. brings marginal characters into the ‘center’ of literary creation. implicit in Noll’s novel: “How must professors. its nature. Even though these texts have elements from Social Realism. Los que se van. as we know. A few decades later. Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) (1938) by Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos and El llano en llamas (1953) by Mexican Juan Rulfo are part of this change. On the other. marginality acquires the meaning of brutality. creates a vision of Latin America as something new and different (to/from Europe). as it name implies. they use their own expressions and are far from being turned into comical figures. So. as in art and politics. The marginal characters. in a different way. it tends to reproduce the exclusion through a representational system of classification and normalization.

He argues that there has been a shift from a “dialectic of malandroism” towards a “dialectic of marginality which is mainly based in the overcoming of social inequalities through confrontation instead of reconciliation. In this sense. we have no pretension of being exhaustive. Although not exclusively. In the case of today’s literature. is at the core of what is a “new form of relationship between social classes” (15) and. on occasion. as it occurs with the situations mentioned above. objective. thus creating a turmoil of new stereotypes and reinforcing older ones. by neoliberalism’s laws.) Therefore. the last decades offer us a plethora of texts that choose a clear. incisive. given that Latin America is the most unequal region of the world in terms of income. Yes. Violence. violence has become a trademark of Latin American literature. they become leftovers). the question “How does literature represents marginality today?” could be rephrased as “How do literature and neoliberalism dialogue?” So. unbeatable and autotelic since it (tries to) explains itself. violence that is produced by marginality: we face a never ending vicious cycle of violence. I. described with a very incisive and graphic language. Violence. under these circumstances. Closely related to this. The market. he emphasizes several times. now. in many cases.” as Noll calls them. in order to understand the literary representation of marginality in the present.” of course. verisimilar worlds in the representation of marginality. and legible prose and a preoccupation for the creation of 38 . This. mainly.1 The marginalized. De Castro Rocha. are distorted or. although now the reality depicted is far from magical. the people “without a state” have become what they are not only for the lack of citizenship (as Arendt used to think) but mostly because the state does not get to them (they are left out. Luiz Ruffato’s Eles eram muitos cavalos. and literature and document. Now that the state is (supposedly) almost invisible. and an increasing feeling of loneliness appear to be recurrent topics that result from the new conditions imposed. the reception (and the selling and buying) of these fictions as if they were depicting the “real” Latin America. but rather bringing them “to the fore. lack of solidarity. we must link it to the social and economic conditions where that marginality is happening. of course.” the economic factor continues to be the most important and determinant one and this is certainly reflected in the themes addressed by literature. For instance. and through the exposition of violence instead of its concealment” (2). problems or themes that we believe are frequent in the current literature and in its treating of marginality. they are now being raped and gunned down. Remarkably. provides us with a general view of our problematic. through its absence and abandonment towards its subjects. or has been transformed into a system that. refusing the uncertain promise of social reconciliation” (15). determines the “symbolic [and aesthetic] battle” (16). like god.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 HORNE and VOIONMAA continued… different definitions of the marginal and different ways of thinking about it. terrible and appealing. and perhaps more so. (See Centeno and Hoffman 2003. Nevertheless. we would like to propose a series of characteristics. The “Market. and to propose a set of questions that we believe are crucial to think this topic today. state violence is not only reproduced through its presence but also. Rafael Courtoisie’s Tajos and several of the Colombian sicario’s novels— just to name a few examples—the lines demarcating fiction and reality. in the midst of this complex and plural scenery. Marginality and Violence One of the main marks of the current literature dealing with the representation of marginality is the exacerbation of violence. has certain consequences and problems. in his study of Brazilian contemporary culture. does not come from ominous totalitarian states (hence a difference from testimonio or the literature de denuncia from the 70s or 80s). the “refugees. almost fully erased. Now it is not about neglecting differences. We are confronted with violence of all kinds—violence that produces marginality. Obviously. spaces. one of the privileged concepts used to refer to the various attempts of representing marginality has been realism. Realism and the Marginal Clearly. A type of violence that is also. the “only” reality. and subjects. As we can see in Paulo Lins’s Cidade de Deus. is the “cause” of inequality and marginality and the source of the violence that is fought with more violence. this phenomenon repeats what happened before with Magical Realism. is everywhere but nowhere to be seen. there is a type of literature that could be said to take a documentary form. Instead of women flying to the skies wrapped up in white sheets. that the new productions are fighting. the crucial moment in which the theme of social marginality seems to reemerge as a recurrent topic is related to the establishment of neoliberalism in Latin America in the late 1980s and 1990s. when thinking about “marginality. becomes the expression of this non visible force. Literature—not only the texts but II. Reified human relations. the ways in which it is approached and its representation. This is just a (very) preliminary attempt to understand how marginality manifests itself in the representation of situations.

Noll uses the term “refugee” to refer to the marginal. Nona Fernández. rubbish. some of today’s literature decides to include this problem within itself and express its contradictory position. Recent Colombian literature is perhaps the foremost example of it: the literature of the sicario. Marginality as Spectacle Parallel to this absence of the marginal. So it occurs in Onde andará Dulce Veiga (1991). scorned by many who see in that the repetition of what is being criticized (the commodification of marginality). La virgen de los sicarios (Our Lady of the Assassins) by Fernando Vallejo. This becomes III. the exclusion that characterizes it—which should be understood in dialectical terms since exclusion implies a way of belonging as well—contributes to the formation of a particular world. This can be read. Simultaneously. IV. Diez de Julio Huamachuco could be thought as reflections about marginality’s space). it is very interesting to notice that most of the criticism that a work like McOndo2 received. becomes a commodity to be written about. middle or upper middle) can be interpreted as another way in which it—marginality—is present. by Paulo Lins. In fact. it has also turned into an intellectual and theoretical token. and our role as critics. Violence. The New World of Marginality As we can appreciate in the literary production that engages with marginality. Sergio Chejfec. is at stake. we have what seems to be the opposite: the overly explicit. In fact. it would be possible to talk about the creation of a new world. almost naturalistic description of marginal people and their lives. and a different time in which marginality occurs that is the base for a different time (chronos) to address the marginal (Sergio Chejfec’s Boca de lobo constitutes a remarkable example). the role of literature. The marginal subject is therefore presented as completely desubjectivized. by Jorge Franco. remarked the absence of marginality (the short stories depict a middle or upper middle class way of living). now. There is a process of assimilation between this “destroyed” subject and the abject surroundings. But another reading is possible. again. There is an 39 . s/he has lost all humanity except for his/her (fragmented and/or mutilated) body. Satanás by Mario Mendoza (not a sicario’s novel but one that has violence at its core). or in the works of João Gilberto Noll. Cidade de Deus (City of God). as seen in Fetiche y fantoche by Ecuadorian writer Huilo Ruales). In fact. and. and sickness and madness (Diamela Eltit and Paz Errázuriz’s El infarto del alma). marginality at large. there is also a spatial exclusion that allows the establishment of a different space (topos) for marginality (Rodolfo Fogwill’s Vivir Afuera or Nona Fernández’s Av. by Caio Fernando Abreu. to be sold. we ought to consider spectacularization. and expands much beyond the mere literary realm. Let us just mention Rosario Tijeras. poverty. On another. In these texts. by Sergio Chejfec or in Los años inútiles (2002). There is almost always a connection to monstrosity (teratology. In its recurrence. Following the steps Clarice Lispector took in A hora da estrela. especially among the most progressive sectors. Without suggesting that all literature has to address the issue of marginality. There is an exclusion from the symbolic realm that generates a new kind of language and a new logic to talk about marginality (as seen in many of César Aira’s novels. In general terms we can affirm that Latin America has become a stage for the spectacle of violence. in contrast with classic naturalism. invisibility constitutes a powerful way of exerting and showing violence. marginality has become a commodity. has had a tremendous commercial success. a world of marginality with its own rules and characteristics. As mentioned. at least. this confusion doesn’t occur only between subjects and spaces. exclusion from law that creates a new set of rules and even a particular Law (as it is the case in César Aira’s La villa or in Eltit’s Mano de obra). However. one that provides a distinctive Weltanschauung. The problem is not one-sided. or. by Peruvian writer Jorge Benavides. from two perspectives: the dangerous insistence that the “marginal” belongs to Latin American culture and therefore must be present in every cultural production (to some extent this recalls the controversy between the Florida and Boedo groups in the 1920s). However. naturally. V. in El aire (1992). Marginal Subjects and Bodies The excluded and marginal subject is repeatedly represented as a fragmented and corroded body. On one hand. the “garbage scenes” show the similarity of marginality and its traces in different parts of the world. literal and literary leftovers. but as such it sparks discomfort. the epitome of violence and marginality. The problems that arise from this “success” are various and not to a lesser extent determine the ways in which marginality is conceived. the absence of it and the insistence in the social class of the protagonists (as said. or Caio Fernando Abreu). in this new aesthetics of the marginal.also itself as an institution—has entered a new phase in its relation to the market. the subjects and the spaces of misery get confused: the subjects become trash. Diamela Eltit.

Inequality in Latin America. Madrid: Alfaguara. notwithstanding their referentiality. 2003. 2001. Paz. Jorge. problems and situations presented make us think that there is no great difference between what happens in a Favela in Rio or in a Comuna in Medellín. 29: 363-390. Centeno. Fogwill. picturesque.ox. (This mirrors and mimics a not so imaginary map of richness and the transnational circulation of capital. Santiago: Planeta. As Silviano Santiago suggests in O Cosmopolitanismo do pobre. and specially if we see the cases of the governments in Venezuela. 2008. 2000. 2ed. Benavides. Given the current circumstances of the world crisis. then. the shantytowns in Caracas. Zegers. 1999. Bolivia. Alberto. 1990.pdf. has never been actually completely erased. Chejfec. Buenos Aries: Sudamericana. “The ‘dialectic of marginality’: preliminary notes on Brazilian contemporary culture. Boca de lobo.” published in Spain in 1996.” Annual Review of Sociology. been transformed into leftovers and rubbish. Onde andará Dulce Veiga. would show how the individual (considered only as a living body) becomes an object of power.brazil.and Errázuriz.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 HORNE and VOIONMAA continued… highly significant if we think about the delocalization that. Thinking about marginality and its representation emerges today as an alternative to think a different future. 1999. certainly. instead of provoking a feeling of guilt and/or condescendence. Caio Fernando. Av. In Retrato de una infancia havanaviejera. References Abreu. An anthology of short stories by “young writers. precisely. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara. In other words. creating a Latin American map of marginality and a transnational dialogue. Augusto. Mano de obra. Los años inútiles. and the poor neighborhoods in Havana. Santiago: Uqbar. Barcelona: Norma.” Centre for Brazilian Studies. Juana Lucero. although in several occasions the texts do refer to concrete spaces or historical moments which allows us to establish with precision the when and where of the narration. Eltit. its participation and relevance. Thus. In fact. Santiago: F. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara. Santiago: Nascimento. Vivir Afuera. and edited by the Chileans Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gómez. El infarto del alma. César. João Cezar. getting rid of condescendence. 2002. or to the subjects who live there. Diez de julio Huamachuco. becomes what Foucault calls “docile bodies. —-. El aire. Miguel Ángel and Hoffman Kelly. Fernández. Franco. Buenos Aires: Emecé. Caracas: Ayacucho. Courtoisie. Working Paper 62: http://www. —. Diamela. we would be capable of showing dehumanization in a way that gives humanism back its political dimension—a humanism that is not longer exotic. “The Lopsided Continent. 1977. de Castro Rocha. a viewing from an unexpected standing point: the reader. La villa. its invisibility or plain disappearance is a neoliberal ideal that has not occurred. There may be a dislocation of the perspective. one of the fundamental aspects in the literary representation of the marginal is its ability to suspend and defer some conventions that the reader is expecting to find. 1969. marginality acquires a singular and quite frightening cosmopolitanism. it is about trying to maintain the power existing in the marginal: to recuperate marginality’s rebelliousness.” Therefore. Martín Rivas. Blest Gana. University of Oxford. Nona. these narratives seem to project when dealing with marginality. or charitable. Tajos. will be able to ‘discover’ what has always been already there. 2002. more than dubious. Rodolfo. 2007. Zoe Valdés’s young narrator connects the Brazilian favelas. Endnotes 1 Final Remarks At its best. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras. Sergio. Rafael. We should expect—if we dare to ask—that the exhibition of individual bodies that have The presence of the state.uk/__data/assets/ pdf_file/0008/9359/Joao20Cezar20Castro20R ocha2062. 1998. The marginalized subject is the subject that migrates in order to follow the flow of capital: the marginalized subject becomes the new nomad. and Ecuador—where the state participation has increased in the last years—this notion of an invisible state is. 2 40 . Montevideo: Alfaguara. Aira. D’Halmar. to imagine a new politics: a politics of openness and inclusion where there are no prophecies to be fulfilled or sentences to be carried out. 1999. the repetition of the topics. Marginality and its representative attempt allow us. Jorge.) Marginality crosses borders and becomes a new marker in our global times. Rosario Tijeras.ac.

La virgen de los sicarios. and we trust that these new papers will make excellent panels even better by offering additional perspectives.edu and CYNTHIA STEELE | University of Washington-Seattle | cynthias@u. Clarece. Nuevos narradores cubanos. on What Constitutes “Good Research”? Perspectives on Research Practice. João Gilberto.S. but many proposals were for individual papers.000 individuals. 1985. We hope that all planned events will occur with all preregistered participants.O N L A SA 2009 Report from the Program Chairs by EVELYNE HUBER | University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill | ehuber@unc. José Eustasio. The individual paper proposals were handled in a two-stage process: The track chairs made decisions about acceptance and grouped the papers into panels with the greatest possible thematic coherence. Noll. Eles eram muitos cavalos. The LASA Secretariat added Melissa Raslevich to its staff in order to deal with the extraordinary workload generated by the Congress. Madrid: Cátedra. Barcelona: Mondadori. 2001. participants also need to keep in mind that Brazil has visa requirements. regardless of the dark economic clouds upon us. Rómulo. Bogotá: Santillana. 2000. And we trust the intellectual excitement generated by the Congress will do justice to the preparatory work and the collective efforts of all the participants and the LASA staff. The hotel information is available at the LASA website as well.edu Fuguet. on Publishing Your Research in Academic Journals. Rulfo. 1984. The great majority of panel chairs graciously granted these requests. on Inequalities in New Latin American Cinema. We are greatly looking forward to seeing you all in Rio. In the months since our last report. 2002. A hora da estrela. Eds. All U. We would encourage all participants to make their hotel reservations soon. The Preliminary Program is on line at the LASA website <http://lasa. 1990.pitt. Zoe. The planning of special panels and sessions has made much progress: The latest highprofile acceptances have come from exPresident Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Los que se van.international. Mendoza. Luiz. 1994. we had to make frequent use of established LASA practice and ask many panel chairs to accept additional papers to their panels.washington. It happens before every Congress that some accepted participants fail to preregister and consequently some sessions are left with only a couple of papers. Thus. Ramos. Huilo. 1994. Belo Horizonte: UFMG. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Frontiera. Silvano. Ruffato. La vorágine. et al. Lispector. Many of the proposals consisted of entire panels. Madrid: Cátedra. Joaquín. After much negotiating. McOndo. Satanás. Names of participants who fail to preregister will not appear in the Program book. Caracas: Ayacucho. 41 . El llano en llamas. Ruales. the receptions will be held at the university after the last panels of the day in order to make it as easy as possible for Congress participants to join them. 1977. Gallegos. Fetiche y fantoche. Quito: El Conejo. There will be special panels on Rethinking Welfare States and Inequalities. Barcelona: Seix Barral. São Paulo: Boitempo. Valdés. 1991. this is a preliminary program in the true sense of the word. 2002. Sergio. Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva.edu/>. Graciliano. Fernando. Lisboa: Caminho. In those cases. Berkeley em Bellagio. and Research Standards of “Truth” from the North and South. Research Ethics. Vallejo. 1997. Proposals that were accepted but could not be placed in this way were forwarded to us. 2004. LASA sent out acceptance notices to some 7. response time to emails sometimes remained longer than potential Congress participants would have hoped. Santiago. 1985. Alberto and Gómez. Cidade de Deus. 1996. Preregistration is required for all participants. to ensure that you get space in the hotel of your choice. Juan. The next report from the Program Chairs will appear immediately after the Congress. so it would be a good idea to get started on those trámites. Lins. we shall do our best to find panels for these remaining papers where they can be presented to an interested audience and stimulate dialogue with the other scholars on those panels. In order to accommodate as many proposals as possible. Doña Bárbara. Mario. Despite great efforts of the highly efficient and committed staff. Paulo. Vidas Secas. and on Literature and the Left Turn in Latin America. Madrid: Siruela. We thank everybody for their hard work and their patience. Quito: Universidad Católica. Retrato de una infancia habanaviejera. with the charge to look across tracks to combine paper proposals into panels or accommodate them in already existing panels. Rivera. Gallegos Lara. O Cosmopolitismo do pobre. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.

A maioria dos turistas que visita o Brasil passa um tempo no Rio. a capital administrativa foi transferida para Brasília. música de Fernanda Abreu. Contudo é o lugar de encontro e de contraste. que já era capital da colônia desde 1765. onde encontrará uma rica variedade de bares e restaurantes. Em 1960. o Rio de Janeiro se impõe como capital da alegria. como a Adega Pérola na Siqueira Campos.. A fronteira entre zona sul e zona norte dificilmente é transgredida. além da criação de diversos marcos arquitetônicos de vários estilos.. perto da PUC-Rio. Poucos. aterros—. do carnaval e da exuberância dos corpos expostos. oferecendo opções variadas entre os cardápios de comida brasileira típica no Hipódromo e Braseiro e o refinamento da cozinha do Guimas. a área mais densa e variada da zona sul. malícia.lasaforum O N L A SA 2009 WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 Rio de Janeiro por KARL ERIK SCHØLLHAMMER Rio 40 graus? Cidade maravilha? Purgatório da beleza? E do caos. em sua versão mais contemporânea—é o emblema e cartão postal do Brasil. ao mesmo tempo em que horroriza com seus altos índices de violência e do crime. No Baixo Gávea. o centro da cidade vem sendo revitalizado. entre muitos outras do Leblon. cidade de muitas faces que se confunde com a própria imagem do país. depois. Hoje. e a visita às praias da zona sul é obrigatória. a cidade sofreu notáveis modificações. garra. (Rio 40 graus. Nos últimos anos. alegria e uma boa dose de tropical melancolia regada a música e boemia. Ataulfo da Paiva e Conde de Bernadotte. como diria o poeta Torquato Neto. ou um chá à beira da piscina no Hotel Copacabana Palace. É uma maneira de ser e de viver que implica gentileza. Lá. não 42 .. perdendo importância como centro de poder. Quem mora no Rio ama a cidade e lamenta seus infortúnios. a dica é confiar na tradição popular e investir nos locais considerados clássicos. Com a vinda da família real portuguesa no Brasil em 1808. abrangendo sua diversidade e seus intensos contrastes. entre natureza e cidade. tornou-se capital do império português e logo do império independente e. Encravada entre as praias e as montanhas. o Rio de Janeiro. um prazer visual que foi descrito e homenageado inúmeras vezes em imagem. o visitante também poderá apreciar o inestimável patrimônio histórico e arquitetônico da cidade. a realidade demográfica carioca está marcada pela segregação social facilmente percebida na geografia da cidade. Fausto Fawcett e Carlos Laufer) Rio de Janeiro—Cidade Maravilhosa ou Maravilha mutante. da república federativa. quando atravessa a Avenida Brasil e a Linha Vermelha. oferecendo excelentes opções de lazer e cultura. com grande crescimento de sua população. Capital do sangue quente? Do Brasil? Capital do sangue quente? Do melhor e do pior? Do Brasil. a cidade oferece uma paisagem natural exuberante. e o Rio de Janeiro entrou em declínio econômico e político. e o privilégio de morar na zona sul pertence apenas a uma minoria. mudanças em sua topografia— devidas ao desmonte de diversos morros. Infelizmente.. chegam a conhecer a cidade que pulsa do outro lado do túnel Rebouças—a zona oeste e a baixada fluminense com seus gigantescos complexos de favelas—. Ser carioca não é tanto um atestado de nascimento mas um estado de espírito. Nesse período. há pontos tradicionais. abertura de grandes avenidas e túneis. Em Copacabana. entretanto. apenas enxergada à distância pela elite da zona sul.. No imaginário coletivo mundial. sebos e restaurantes. riqueza e miséria e entre história e modernidade. orgulho. além de livrarias.. O Rio continua sendo uma cidade partida. o visitante logo vai se sentir em casa nos bairros de Ipanema e Leblon. música e literatura e que ainda resiste apesar da ocupação urbana caótica e da precária preservação do patrimônio natural da floresta e da mata tropicais. seja na Rua Garcia D’Ávila e arredores da nas praças Nossa Senhora da Paz ou nas ruas Dias Ferreira. mas nunca sua vocação de centro cultural e amálgama criativo. Cidade sangue quente? Maravilha mutante.

antigo reduto de malandros e sambistas. construída entre os séculos XVIII e XIX. A noite na Lapa é conhecida por suas múltiplas opções de casas de shows. onde estão localizadas obras primas da belle epoque. a Biblioteca Nacional e o Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. No Largo dos Guimarães há excelentes opções de restaurantes como o Sobrenatural. muitas opções se abrem. atravessar o Arco do Telles. há teatros e opções culturais interessantes. que ficam atrás da Praça Mauá. passando por uma multiplicidade de gostos e sabores do rigor português à extravagância francesa. samba. No Largo da Carioca estão situados a Igreja e o Convento de Santo Antônio. O visitante pode começar o passeio pelo Corredor Cultural no Paço Imperial. e só recentemente começou-se a aproveitar a variedade de casas e prédios ignorados pelo mercado imobiliário local para criar pousadas e restaurantes para o visitante e o turista que espera encontrar mais no Rio de Janeiro de que a beleza da praia de Copacabana. seguindo em direção à Praça Tiradentes. Há muitas maneiras de se chegar ao alto de Santa Teresa. forró. mas também do período moderno (Museu de Arte Moderna. o Teatro Municipal. Santa Teresa preserva sua independência e. é um bairro de convivência social tranqüila onde se prolifera grande energia libertária que se expressa na proliferação de ateliês artísticos e eventos de cultura e arte ao longo do ano. com vista para a Ilha Fiscal. 43 . Outra boa pedida é o almoço no restaurante Albamar na torre do velho mercado municipal na Praça Marechal Âncora. Depois. Na rua da Carioca há uma rica opção de lojas e prédios charmosos. que certamente vale a pena conferir. ou ir em direção à zona oeste no outro lado do canal do Mangue. como chorinho. o bondinho segue pelas ruas pavimentadas de paralelepípedo passando em frente de casas e palacetes do início do século XX. Edifício Gustavo Capanema. mas vale a pena estender a visita para o Largo das Neves. passando por um leque variado de monumentos. Uma visita ao bairro boêmio de Santa Teresa entretanto é quase uma obrigação para quem quer conhecer a história da cidade e o charme dessa zona da cidade. Santa Teresa parece um bairro parado no tempo. Edifício da Associação Brasileira de Imprensa). hoje revitalizado pela nova cena musical carioca. o que dá a dimensão da antiga cidade e faz imaginar como era a chegada por mar ao Rio de Janeiro antes da era da aviação. passar por detrás da Catedral Metropolitana e conhecer o bairro boêmio da Lapa. mas no centro da cidade convergem as muitas facetas da cidade e um passeio por essa zona torna-se chave para compreender melhor de onde vem e para onde vai o Rio de Janeiro. construídos em estilo eclético na primeira década do século XX. a estação fica próximo ao Largo da Carioca. vale a pena entrar pela Rua do Lavradio. mais recentemente. Aeroporto Santos Dumont. ou Vila Isabel e Tijuca— o primeiro imortalizado nas canções de Noel Rosa e o segundo nas crônicas de Nelson Rodrigues—. pegar a Rua do Ouvidor em direção à Igreja da Candelária. é uma forte atração para qualquer olhar curioso e. uma delas é pegar o bondinho que atravessa os arcos da Lapa. A partir do centro é fácil visitar outros bairros históricos bem típicos como Saúde e Gambôa. várias delas em refinado estilo art-nouveau ou Jugendstil. muitos em estilo neo-clássico. apesar de estar cercada por favelas. hoje meras lembranças da riqueza e prosperidade dos primeiros moradores desse bairro. a experiência da cidade normalmente se limita à zona sul. um encontro com os emigrantes árabes e judeus e. Centro Cultural dos Correios e Casa França-Brasil). cada um com seus encantos. o Bar do Mineiro e o melhor almoço de comida nordestina da cidade no Bar do Arnaudo. Há um certo caos sedutor no centro que convida o visitante a explorar e descobrir uma cidade cheia de meandros e mesclas singulares. Para o visitante estrangeiro. um belíssimo monumento barroco e uma verdadeiro oásis de paz. Alcançando o topo da montanha. igrejas e construções históricos assim como centros de cultura (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. ao mesmo tempo. Hoje. No centro da praça está a Igreja de São Francisco da Paula. eventualmente com uma paradinha no Goiabeira para uma cerveja. cuja entrada discretíssima se faz pela Rua Dom Gerardo. da ginga africana ao otimismo do modernismo brasileiro. segredos e desafios. mas também vale a pena conhecer o belo prédio neoclássico do Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais (IFCS) da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro antes de seguir pela Rua Gonçalves Dias e procurar um descanso na tradicional confeitaria Colombo. nas proximidades da Rua Alfândega. Daqui. Pode-se também adentrar o Centro pela Cinelândia e seguir pela Avenida Rio Branco. como uma visita ao Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica ou uma noite de gafieira e samba de raiz no salão de dança tradicional Estudantina. Durante o dia uma visita ao comércio popular do Saara. nordestinos e coreanos que aqui convivem pacificamente. É no centro que a diversidade do Rio fica mais evidente e onde uma caminhada de algumas horas é uma verdadeira viagem no tempo. construídos em 1592 e que hoje geram um contraste dramático com a modernidade arquitetônica do prédio da Avenida Chile. e eventualmente visitar a galeria recém-aberta Largo das Artes num belo sobrado colonial.apenas de sua fase colonial e neo-clássica. com ritmos brasileiros. Cruzando a Avenida Presidente Vargas em direção à Praça Mauá poderá visitar o Mosteiro e a Igreja de São Bento. A outra opção é retornar em direção ao Largo de São Francisco com uma parada obrigatória no magnífico Real Gabinete Português de Leitura na Rua Luis de Camões.

Visitors. o maior e mais significativo acervo de arte popular do país. It is a way of being and living that conveys at once a sense of kindness. Borders between the southern and northern zones are crossed only with difficulty and the privilege of living in the zona sul belongs to just a minority. Rio de Janeiro é uma cidade que se vive como muitas cidades. entre outras. In Copacabana. including great population growth. como Laranjeiras. a place of encounters and contrasts between nature and city. malice. In 1960 the national administrative capital was moved to Brasília and Rio de Janeiro entered into a period of economic and political decline. Most tourists who visit Brazil spend time in Rio—and going to the beaches of the zona sul is mandatory. da Conceição. A revitalized city center offers excellent options for recreation and culture. do Cantagalo. Those who reside in Rio love the city and lament its misfortunes. Being carioca is not so much a testament of place as it is a state of mind and spirit. Here the visitor can view aspects of the 44 . With the arrival of the Portuguese royal family in Brazil in 1808. and then the capital of the Federal Republic. snack bars. Over these periods the city has undergone remarkable changes. Flamengo e Botafogo. major changes in topography due to the leveling of hills and embankments. Catete. é possível notar como a cidade se lançou sobre o mar para poder se expandir em direção ao sul. of the independent empire afterwards. principalmente na visita aos bairros como Gloria. offering choices that vary from typical Brazilian food in the Hipódromo and Braseiro to the refined cuisine of Guimas. Cidade Maravilhosa (or Maravilha Mutante in a more contemporary version). a visual pleasure that has been described and praised countless times in the visual arts. The world imagines Rio as a joyous capital. embora também neles haja exemplos crassos da urbanização informal e da chamada verticalização das favelas. Além de ser uma aula de história do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro. then. Unfortunately. the trick is to trust the popular tradition and stop in places considered classics. pride. ímpeto modernizador que culminou com a urbanização de São Conrado e da Barra da Tijuca na década de 60 e. do Recreio dos Bandeirantes. then. mais tarde. Cosme Velho e Jardim Botânico. But few get to know the city that pulsates on the other side of the Rebouças tunnel. as well as bookstores. Rio remains a divided city. hospedagem e programas culturais em várias favelas da zona sul como o Morro do Pereirão. between the historic past and modernity. where they will find a wide variety of bars and restaurants in Rua Garcia D’Ávila and in the outskirts of Our Lady of Peace Plaza. é indispensável uma visita ao museu Casa do Pontal no Recreio dos Bandeirantes. losing importance as a center of power—but not its place as a center of cultural and artistic expression. between wealth and poverty. defiance. as the poet Torquato Neto would say. é uma exposição aos problemas sociais contemporâneos enfrentados nas grandes metrópoles brasileiras. but also as a place that strikes fear because of high rates of crime and violence. será a regularização democrática do crescimento espontâneo e descontrolado na zona oeste e zona norte. Lagoa e Gávea. became the capital of the Portuguese empire. which had been the capital of the colony since 1765. carioca demographic reality is marked by highly visible socioeconomic segregation. Rio de Janeiro. do Vidigal. like Adega Pérola in Siqueira Campos or have tea by the pool at the Hotel Copacabana Palace. Nestled between beaches and mountains. and on the Dias Ferreira. em particular para o novo prefeito da cidade. que abriga a belíssima coleção de Jacques Van de Beuque. a place for carnival and exuberant nearnakedness. will immediately feel at home in the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon. the densest and most diverse area of the southern zone. Quem quer se aproximar mais da realidade da população mais pobre encontra hoje opções de pousadas.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 SCHØLLHAMMER continued… O primeiro encontro com Rio de Janeiro pode ser um descobrimento desafiante. cada uma com seu perfil particular e o prazer do encontro colabora com a capacidade do visitante de viver sua multiplicidade. the city offers an exuberant landscape. Ataulfo of Paiva and Conde de Bernadotte Leblon streets—among many others in Leblon. In Baixo Gávea near PUC-Rio there are multiple points of gastronomic interest. Para quem tiver tempo e interesse na arte popular brasileira. Um dos principais desafios para o novo governo do estado e. the slums are viewed only at a distance by the elites of the zona sul as they cross Avenida do Brasil and the Linha Vermelha. Os bairros de dentro. music and literature—and a city which still stands tall despite urban chaos and slim successes in preserving a precious natural ecology. and restaurants. joy—and a strong dose of tropical melancholy merged to music and to the bohemian. the zona oeste and the baixada fluminense with its huge complex of slums. da Rocinha. Cada bairro tem sua característica própria e. It is. its diversity and intense contrasts. is both the emblem of Brazil and its postcard—a city of many faces that is often perceived as the very image of the country. conseguiram manter-se melhor preservados do processo de crescimento urbano acelerado. the construction of major avenues and tunnels as well as the creation of landmark architectural projects of different styles.

the Gustavo Capanema building. a quiet neighborhood that expresses its libertarian energy in the proliferation of workshops and artistic and cultural events throughout the year. There are many ways to reach the top of Santa Teresa. and Bar do Mineiro. from the swing of Africa to the optimism of modern Brazil. also worth seeing is the beautiful neoclassical building of the Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Federal University (IFCS) before proceeding along the Rua Gonçalves Dias and looking to relax at Colombo. the Teatro Municipal. After this you can proceed to Lavradio Street. Visitors limiting their explorations to the south zone miss discovering that the city center is key to a better understanding of where this multifaceted city came from and where it is going. A night in Lapa offers many choices of shows that feature Brazilian rhythms such as chorinho. a former hangout for malandros and sambistas that has been revitalized by the new carioca musical scene. before the aviation era. the cable car follows streets of paralelepípedo. Crossing President Vargas Avenue toward Plaza Mauá you can visit the Monastery and Church of St. or a night of dancing gafieira and samba de raiz in the traditional Estudantina hall. it overlooks the Ihla Fiscal and conveys an idea of the size of the old city as well as a sense of how it might have been to arrive in Rio by sea. in the Museum of Modern Art. Reaching the top of the mountain. The first encounter with Rio de Janeiro may be challenging: besides being a history class of sorts. or to go west to the other side of the Mangue channel. passing in front of early twentieth century houses and palaces. The best Northeastern lunch can be savored at Bar Arnaud. There is a certain seductive chaos in the center that invites the visitor to explore and discover a city full of meanderings and singular blendings. secrets and challenges. At the center of the square is Igreja de São Francisco da Paula. The station is next to the Largo da Carioca. many options. From here. Benedict. Santos Dumont airport and the Brazilian Press Association building. the traditional pastry shop. It is in the center that the diversity of Rio de Janeiro is most evident and where a walk of several hours is a real journey in time through a variety of authentic tastes and flavors from the elemental Portuguese to the French extravagance. and going towards Praça Tiradentes you will discover interesting theaters and cultural sites such as the Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica. Today. A visit to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa is almost a must for anyone wishing to know the history of the city and the charm of this zone. Visitors can begin touring at the Cultural Corridor in the Imperial Palace. You will find Largo da Carioca to have a rich choice of shops and charming buildings. In Largo dos Guimarães one has excellent choices of restaurants like Sobrenatural. many neoclassical in style. one of them is to take the cable car that crosses the Lapa arches.priceless historical and architectural heritage of the city—not just of the colonial and neoclassical period but also of the modern era. continue to the Arco do Telles. it also is an exposure to social problems currently facing large cities in Brazil. churches and historical buildings as well as centers of culture (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. go behind the Metropolitan Cathedral and visit the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa. Next try lunch in the Albamar restaurant in the tower of the old municipal market in Marechal Âncora Plaza. The person who wishes to be closer to the reality of life for the poorest people can find living accommodations and cultural 45 . and is. Santa Teresa preserves its identity. From the center is easy to visit other historical districts like Saúde and Gambôa behind Mauá Square. or to Vila Isabel and Tijuca—the former immortalized in the songs of Noel Rosa and the latter in the chronicles of Nelson Rodrigues—each with its charms. certainly worth experiencing. You can also enter the heart of Rio through Cinelândia and follow Avenida Rio Branco to see masterpieces of the Belle Epoque. In Largo da Carioca see the Igreja and o Convento de Santo Antônio. and the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes—all built in the eclectic style of the first decade of the twentieth century. During the day in the area around Rua Alfândega you may wish to visit the popular Sahara market. Biblioteca Nacional. built between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Santa Teresa neighborhood looks like a place frozen in time but recently there has appeared a variety of homes and buildings with inns and restaurants for the visitor who hopes to find more in Rio de Janeiro than just the beauty of Copacabana beach. but it is worth extending the trip to Largo das Neves for a short stop for a beer at Goiabeira. many of which are in fine Art Nouveau or Jugendstil style—now mere memories of the wealth and prosperity of the early residents of that neighborhood. situated in a lovely colonial loft. despite being surrounded by slums. it generates a dramatic contrast with the modern architecture of the buildings on Avenida Chile. a beautiful Baroque monument and a real oasis of peace with its discreet entrance on Rua Dom Gerardo. built in 1592. Centro Cultural dos Correios and Casa FrançaBrasil). An alternative is to return toward Largo San Francisco with a compulsory stop at the magnificent Real Gabinete Português de Leitura in Rua Luis de Camões and possibly visit the newly opened Largo das Artes gallery. samba. take Rua do Ouvidor toward Igreja da Candelária to see a variety of monuments. Here you will be among immigrants of many ethnic backgrounds and nationalities who live and work together in harmony. forró.

like Morro do Pereirão. Rio de Janeiro has a unique profile. Cosme Velho and Jardim Botânico. One of the major challenges for the new government of the state. and later. Rocinha. a visit to the museum in the Casa do Pontal in Recreio dos Bandeirantes is essential: it has the largest and most significant collection of folk art in the country. Lagoa and Gávea have managed for the most part to shield themselves from accelerated urban growth—although within some of them there are gross instances of “informal” urbanization and the so-called verticalization of slums. Each neighborhood is unique and in visits to districts such as Gloria. Recreio dos Bandeirantes. with a marvelous grouping of the works of Jacques Van de Beuque. among others. and Vidigal. Conceição.lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 SCHØLLHAMMER continued… programs in various favelas of zona sul. and a full appreciation of the city is enhanced by the opportunity of the visitor to have an intimate and pleasurable experience with its great diversity. For those with interests in Brazilian folk art. producing a modernizing impetus that created the suburbs of São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca in the 60s. Interior neighborhoods like Laranjeiras. Cantagalo. is the democratization of the spontaneous and uncontrolled growth in the west and north zones. Catete. Flamengo and Botafogo one can see how an expanding city has pushed southward toward the sea. 46 . and particularly for the new mayor of the city.

LASA members and friends have continued to dig deeply into their pockets to support the Association.edu. thank you! In a year when difficult economic conditions have taken their toll on contributions to non-profit organizations. muito obrigados. We look forward to seeing you in Rio and to introducing you to the grantees that will benefit from your thoughtfulness.661 in contributions were received during 2008. We are highly indebted to Eduardo Silva. Gabriela Soto Laveaga and Anthony Bebbington for choosing a LASA Life Membership! We send our most sincere thank you to these individual donors to all LASA funds during 2008.N E W S F RO M L A SA LASA Voluntary Support by SANDY KLINZING Muchísimas gracias. bringing to 68 the number of individuals who have made this significant commitment. including $25.000 to establish the new Diskin Dissertation Award.) Richard Adams Jeremy Adelman Max Aguero Fernandez Sandra Aguilar Rodríguez Alethia Alfonso García Alejandro Alvarez Bejar Silvia Alvarez Curbelo Helene Anderson Joan Anderson Robert Anderson Ronald Angel Clara Maria Araújo Benjamin Arditi Karlik Ariel Armony Cynthia Arnson Maria Ines Arratia Jonathan Arries Eduardo Arturo Wendy Ashmore William Atkins Karen Atkison Craig Auchter Robert Austin Javier Auyero Claudia Avellaneda Luis Fernando Ayerbe Florence Babb Mervyn John Bain Helga Baitenmann Llana Barber Cleoni Maria Barboza Fernandes Anne Barnhart Sarah Barrow Lourdes Bates Florencia Bazzano Nelson Peter Beattie Emilio Bejel Alvaro Bello Maldonado Suzy Denise Bermúdez Quintana Louis Bickford Nicholas Birns Cole Blasier David Block Fabian Borges-Herrero Tarcisio Botelho Kirk Bowman Viviane Brachet-Marquez Philip Brenner Ronald Briggs Natalie Brody Sherwin Bryant Karl Buck Jo-Marie Burt Bruce Calder Emilce Cammarata Taina Caragol Adalberto Cardoso Glen Carman Joyce Carman Hubert Carton de Grammont William Castro Denise Cavalheiro Leite Federico Chalupa Paul Michael Chandler Norma Chinchilla Peter Cleaves Deb Cohen Patricia Coldwell Cristina Contera Janet Conway Nicholas Copeland Jack Corbett James Corcoran Romer Cornejo Javier Corrales Victoria Cox Linda Craft Marta Cruz Concepcion Héctor Cruz-Feliciano Marco Cupolo de Maio Ivan Darias Alfonso Rafael Dávila-Franco Guillermo De La Peña Claudia de Lima Costa Aurelio De los Reyes Isabel De Sena Angelo Ricardo de Souza Anna Deeny Carmen Diana Deere Nancy Deffebach Jill DeTemple Rut Diamint Ubaldina Díaz Romero Dorothy Dillon 47 . LASA was additionally honored to welcome three new Life Members since our last report. Many people selected multiple funds and made repeated gifts during the year. (For additional information on Life Memberships or any of the LASA Funds please contact the Secretariat at 412-648-1907 or at lasa@pitt. Over $43. which will be presented for the first time at LASA2009 in Rio de Janeiro. Their contributions will support travel to the Rio meeting and help LASA see to it that Congress participation is made available to colleagues everywhere who wish to take part.

lasaforum WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 VOLUNTARY SUPPORT continued… John Dinges Joseph Dorsey Isabel Dos Santos Gordon Eaton Marc Edelman Edward Epstein June Carolyn Erlick Sylvia Escárcega Dina Fachin Maria Soledad Falabella Luco Paul Fallon Alceu Ferraro Ricardo Ffrench-Davis Cornelia Butler Flora Jan Flora Jose Flores James Foster Claire Fox Bonnie Frederick Christian Freres Henry Frundt Leo Garofalo Jonathan Golden Mary Goldsmith Carlos Eduardo Gomes Siqueira Juan Gonzalez Mendoza Geoff Goodwin Colin Gordon Laura Graham Pamela Graham Kathleen Grainger Paul Greenough Merilee Grindle Adela Yomara Guerra Aguijosa Carla Guerrón Montero Matthew Gutmann Charles Hale Lenore Hale Marion and Stephen Hall Elizabeth Hamill Nora Hamilton Regina Harrison Jonathan Hartlyn Paul Haslam Julie Hempel James Henderson Lucila Hinojosa Córdova Emily Hogue Lasse Hölck Evelyne Huber Juan Enrique Huerta Wong Christine Hunefeldt Carlos Manuel Indacochea Ernesto Isunza Vera Jean Jackson Eva-Lynn Jagoe Andrea Jeftanovic Mariela Sonia Jiménez Vásquez Gladys Jiménez-Muñoz Amy Kaminsky Temma Kaplan Robert Karl Terry Karl Friedrich Katz Leisa Kauffmann Margaret Keck A. Cláudio Silveira J. Victor Padilla Rafael Palma Grayeb Cynthia Palmer Erika Pani Milagros Pereyra-Rojas Anibal Perez-Liñan Angela Pérez-Mejía Corinne Pernet Thomas Perreault Stephen Perz Melesio Peter-Espinoza Sonja Pieck Alexandra Pita González Juan Poblete Sara Poggio Renato Prada Oropeza Jason Pribilsky Marie Price Carlos Quenan Luisa Quintero Ramírez Rosana Ramalho de Castro Sabeth Ramirez Ana Ramírez Barreto Gabriela Ramos Joanne Rappaport Mark Ratkus Patricia Ravelo Blancas Martha Rees José Requena Graciela Clotilde Riquelme Amy Ritterbusch Francesca Rivera María Gladys Rivera Herrejon Karen Robert Cristina Rodrigues María Carolina Rodríguez Acero Maria Rogal Francisco Rojas-Aravena Veneranda Rubeo Helen Safa Héctor Luis Saint-Pierre Rossana Salazar David Salisbury Sergio Sánchez Diaz Robert Sayre Joseph Scarpaci Patience Schell Andrew Schlewitz Ella Schmidt Jalane Schmidt Marianne Schmink Ben Ross Schneider Tamara Schoenbaum Barbara Schroder Margaret Schwartz T. Douglas Kincaid Masao Kinoshita Gwen Kirkpatrick Chuck Kleymeyer Benjamin Kohl Robert Kruger Aurélie La Torré Lisa Laplante Brooke Larson Alex Latta Linda Ledford-Miller Elizabeth Leeds Kathryn Lehman Rogerio Leite Michelle Lenoue Daniel Levy Linda Lewin Laura Lewis Annette Lilly Jorge Linares Ortiz Soledad Loaeza Paul Lokken Mary Long Ryan Long Thely Lopes Susan Lord Lois Lorentzen James Loucky Elizabeth Lozano David Luis-Brown Ana Bertha Luna Miranda Marianella Machado Andrae Marak Alberto Martín Alvarez Concepcion Martinez-Maske Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel Francine Masiello Katherine McCaffrey Cynthia McClintock Mary McCue Gillian McGillivray Scott McKinney Teresa Meade Luz Mena Claudia Mendez Gilbert Merkx Susan Metz William Meyers Maria Teresa Miceli Kerbauy Carmen Millán de Benavides Maxine Molyneux Tommie Sue MontgomeryAbrahams Sergio Hugo Moreno Kimberly Morse Dorothy Mosby Robert Moser Maria Encarnación Moya Recio William Mullin Elsa Muñiz David Myhre June Nash Mauro Neves Junior Katja Newman Bettina Ng’Weno Katiane Nóbrega Liisa North Carrie Norton William Nylen Guillermo O’Donnell Karl Offen Maria Rosa Olivera-Williams Sutti Ortiz Alberto Ortiz. Gabriela Torres 48 . Jr. Richard Simon Russell Smith Archibald Spencer Silvia Spitta William Stanley Margaret Stanton Sally States James Steele Lynn Stephen Alexander Stevens John Stolle-McAllister Mary Strottman Angela Stuesse Juana Suárez Yuriko Takahashi Maria Herminia Tavares de Almeida Clark Taylor Lucy Frances Annie Taylor Benjamín Temkin Yedwab Lucero Tenorio-Gavin Lorrin Thomas Joseph Thome Rosemary Thorp Heidi Tinsman M. (Tomás) Scruggs David Shirk Emma Lorena Sifuentes Ocegueda Lynn Sikkink João dos Reis Silva Jr.M.

and the generous donations from Oxfam and from LASA. With your help. The definition of activist scholarship shall remain broad and pluralist. McCaffrey Cynthia McClintock Marylin Moors Judith Norsigian Milagros Pereyra Jane Pincus Nancy Postero Richard Reed Helen Safa Biswapriya Sanyal Marianne Schmink Rose Spalding Jack Spence and Kathy Yih Lynn Stephen George Vickers Jack Womack We are also extremely grateful to these organizations for their matching contributions for donor gifts: Open Society Institute The Ford Foundation Note: The endowed fellowship fund will gladly accept additional donations. Hale Nora Hamilton Timothy Harding James Howe Jean Jackson Karen Judd Louis Kampf Bill Leogrande James Loucky Brinton Lykes Katherine T. which would allow us to increase the value of the dissertation fellowship over time. The text of the call for nominations follows: The Oxfam-LASA Diskin Dissertation Fellowship The award will be presented to an advanced doctoral student or recent Ph. we met our goal of raising 25 thousand dollars. Browner Jim Campen & Phyllis Ewen Marta Casaus Ronald Chilcote Norma Chinchilla Nicholas Copeland Saul Diskin Vilunya Diskin Marc Edelman Jonathan Fox Pat Goudvis Matthew Gutmann Charles and Leonore Hale Charles R.D. 3) The primary advisor’s letter of recommendation. based on the candidate’s curriculum vitae. The Award Committee will employ three criteria in its evaluations: 1) Overall scholarly credentials. to be discussed and interpreted by each selection committee.Susana Torres Patricia Tovar Rojas Miren Uriarte Fernando Urrea Giraldo María Eugenia Valdés Vega Ruth Valenzuela María del Carmen Valverde Donna Lee Van Cott Stefano Varese Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Laura Velasco Ortiz Carolyn Ann Walker Ronald Waterbury William Waters Barbara Weinstein Clifford Welch Cassandra White Robert Wilcox Stephen Henry Wilkinson Heather Williams Ann Felicity Williams Daniel Justin Wolfe Wendy Wolford Angus Wright Junichi Yamamoto Victor Yang Marc Zimmerman Víctor Zúñiga Diskin Dissertation Fellowship Thanks to the support of the donors listed below. research and analysis in the dissertation outline and sample chapter submitted. the first Diskin Dissertation Fellowship will be awarded at the 2009 LASA Congress in Rio. which will endow the fellowship in perpetuity. Thanks to the generous support from: Emily and Ben Achtenberg Florence Babb Helga Baitenmann Alan Berger Pamela Berger Cole Blasier Carole H. Your commitment to and participation in initiatives like this one are what helps make LASA a vibrant organization. 49 . 2) The quality of writing. deeply engaged with the issues of the day.

2001. The prize will recognize an essay collection or monograph based on original research that employs innovative theoretical. 2001. biographies. methodological. The work should be pathbreaking and should embody a fresh and creative approach to the study of language and strengthens an innovative vision of the Colombian humanities.cfm>. Pittsburgh. or essay collections. Bogotá). For further information about eligibility and submission requirements for books published in 2006-08). memoirs. Anthropology. or conceptual approaches and demonstrates clear excellence and promise in shaping contemporary debates in the field of Colombian studies. please consult: <http://www. The Michael Jiménez Prize honors Michael Jiménez (d. The $500 Ordóñez Prize will be awarded to an outstanding book that continues this project. Montserrat Ordóñez (d. Submissions may take the form of narratives. historical accounts.org/inmarcesibles/ About.inmarcesibles. This $500 prize will be awarded to an outstanding work in the disciplines of History. USA) and his inspiring work on different aspects of 19th and 20th century Colombian History. dedicated her life to the study and promotion of Latin American women’s literature and the search for new forms of literary expression and language.lasaforum L A SA S E C T I O N S WINTER 2009 : VO L U M E X L : ISSUE 1 Section News The Colombia Section of LASA is pleased to announce the competition for the Monserrat Ordóñez Prize and the Michael Jiménez Prize. Political Science or Sociology that significantly advances an understanding of Colombian social transformations and society. 50 . ethnographies.

a sense of humor. to Quito. Race.” A careful balancer of institutional and societal considerations. Taken together. University of Pittsburgh Press). tireless field researcher. donations are being accepted by the LASA Secretariat in Dr.P E RS O N A L A N D P RO F E S S I O N A L N OT E S In Memoriam It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of longtime LASA member Donna Lee Van Cott. Dr. Massachusetts. movements. Always adhering to the highest standards in field research and writing. Dr. which won the 2006 Best Book on Comparative Politics Award from the Organized Section on Race. nothing is too big to lose or too small. American University José Antonio Lucero. which she headed from 2003-2005.D. Van Cott’s objective and critical depictions of the struggles of movement leaders trying to retain their original policies and yet appeal to constantly wider groups of constituencies.” but also lauded her dynamic style and sharp humor. The Friendly Liquidation of the Past. and was impressive to see. Her next book. She ends a poem titled “Advice” with the following lines: No one ever gets to ever do all they were meant to do. assessed the record of indigenous parties in power at the local levels. and on local governance. former associate at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington and former fellow at the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Peace at the University of Notre Dame.S. Radical Democracy in the Andes. I can’t think of anyone more passionate and knowledgeable about indigenous politics in Latin America. principally in Bolivia and Ecuador. She was an esteemed friend and colleague to many in LASA. A talented guitarist and singer. while remaining serious and professional. have had an enduring impact on the study of Latin America’s indigenous peoples. and which now has several hundred members. multicultural rights. We have lost a prolific writer. indigenous rights movements and political institutions. Van Cott’s books narrate the institutionalization of passionate and professional indigenous movements that evolved from social movements to political parties. Seattle 51 . and Latin American colleagues. an album of her music. Van Cott received numerous awards and was a coveted speaker. the first of Van Cott’s major works. From Movements to Parties in Latin America. From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics (2005. addressed the propagation of ethnic political parties in four Latin American countries (including Colombia and Bolivia). Her work was vital in chronicling the conversion of these movements to governments as a demonstration of their capability and determination. Van Cott testified before the U. State Department. covered the constitutional reforms of the 1990s fostering greater ethnic group participation (especially in Bolivia and Colombia). and parties. A Fulbright Fellow. and was one of the most promising— and successful—scholars of her generation. Todd Eisenstadt. the U. and the vitality of these transitions.” Van Cott’s energy in the lecture hall was perhaps no surprise given her musical background. Finally. Ethnicity and Politics.S. and their concomitant failure in two others (Argentina and Peru). Van Cott was a passionate teacher and mentor. Dr. in 2000. Thanks to Donna. and the encouragement she gave to so many of us. David Samuels of the University of Minnesota characterized Van Cott as “among the very best and most influential political scientists who studied indigenous politics in Latin America. and Radical Democracy in the Andes (2008. even entertaining presentation style. Remember. Cambridge University Press). Van Cott was known widely to students of Andean politics. was capped by three critically acclaimed monographs: The Friendly Liquidation of the Past: The Politics of Diversity in Latin America (2000. Her artistic energies also produced poems which were published in The New Formalist in 2008. and generous colleague. launched with a Ph. “Donna was always willing to share her data and she even gave me transcripts of dozens of her interviews to use in my own research. and presented work regularly in forums from Cambridge. and the United States Institute for Peace. In addition to her extensive publication record and her active participation in professional associations like LASA. Cambridge University Press). In memory of her tireless work to try to diminish the resource gap between U. “She had stage presence. Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut when she died. wicked sense of humor. Her academic career. but she will be remembered for her impressive scholarship. and Indigenous Peoples. indigenous politics is a mainstream topic of scholarship and an essential component of coursework on Latin America. on constitutional change. and an engaging. Donna Lee Van Cott perhaps did not get to do all she was meant to do. from Georgetown University’s Department of Government in 1998. According to Mala Htun of the New School for Social Research. including many policy venues and international institutions like the United Nations. Van Cott was perhaps best known to LASA members as the founder of the Section on Ethnicity. This is a rare combination. to mayors and city councils. Bite into what is true. published just last year. Ecuador. Van Cott’s name to the LASA Travel Fund for Latin American Scholars. Van Cott released Eclipse. University of Washington. on ethnic politics. Congress.S. her last book.

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The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. the Caribbean. and encourage civic engagement through network building and public debate. LASA is the one association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors. With over 5. and teaching on Latin America.500 members. across the globe. research. LASA’s mission is to foster intellectual discussion. and its people throughout the Americas. thirty-five percent of whom reside outside the United States. . promote the interests of its diverse membership.

416 Bellefield Hall University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh.Nonprofit Org.international.edu . 511 lasa.pitt. PA Permit No. PA 15260 US POSTAGE PAID Pittsburgh.

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