In 1911, the Argentine intellectual Manuel Ugarte started a two-year lecture tour of Latin America and the United States with a crucial question in mind: can Latin Americanism be an embodied practice? His visit to every single country in the Western hemisphere—an almost logistical impossibility at the time—was conceived as a deliberate tour de force against dematerialized, aesthetically oriented, utopian formulations of continental unity put forward a few years earlier by influential turn-of-the-century writers such as Rodó, Martí and Darío. This talk will explore an alternative history of Latin Americanisms—one founded on embodied performances, communications networks, and social activism. The notion of vernacular Latin Americanisms will allow us to rethink the material, situated foundations of a specific form of transnationalism whose political and epistemological imperatives continue to concerns its defenders and critics up to the present.
Fernando Degiovanni is Professor of Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His current research focuses on issues of intellectual performativity, embodiment and spectacularizarion in modern Argentina. He is the author of two award-winning books: Los textos de la patria: Nacionalismo, políticas culturales y canon en Argentina (Beatriz Viterbo, 2007; Alfredo Roggiano Prize for Latin American Cultural and Literary Criticism) and Vernacular Latin Americanisms: War, the Market, and the Making of a Discipline (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018; Best Book in the Humanities, LASA Southern Cone). He is also senior editor of Latin American Literatures in Transition, 1870-1930 (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
Photo: Berni las dos: Chacareros (1933)
This event is free and open to the public. Lunch provided.