Reframing Latin America: A Cultural Theory Reading of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Reframing Latin America: A Cultural Theory Reading of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Reframing Latin America: A Cultural Theory Reading of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Reframing Latin America: A Cultural Theory Reading of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Synopsis

Providing an extensive introduction to cultural studies in general, regardless of chronological or geographic focus, and presenting provocative, essential readings from Latin American writers of the last two centuries,Reframing Latin Americabrings much-needed accessibility to the concepts of cultural studies and postmodernism.

From Saussure to semiotics, the authors begin by demystifying terminology, then guide readers through five identity constructs, including nation, race, and gender. The readings that follow are presented with insightful commentary and encompass such themes as "Civilized Folk Marry the Barbarians" (including Jos Mart 's "Our America") and "Boom Goes the Literature: Magical Realism as the True Latin America?" (featuring Elena Garro's essay "It's the Fault of the Tlaxcaltecas"). Films such asLike Water for Chocolateare discussed in-depth as well. The result is a lively, interdisciplinary guide for theorists and novices alike.

Excerpt

Modernism, postmodernism, discourse, deconstruction, hegemony, hybridity, hermeneutics, semiotics, episteme. Even for someone trained in cultural theory these terms can be daunting. For the novice, they can be downright alienating. This book has two goals: to define and explain the basics of cultural theory, or postmodernism, and to demonstrate its usefulness in interpreting nineteenth-and twentieth-century Latin America.

This book grows out of an undergraduate seminar we teach at Furman University, a liberal arts school in South Carolina. We find that most of our students entering the seminar have heard of postmodernism and cultural theory but lack a working knowledge of them. We are happy to report that none of them has left ignorant, although, admittedly, not all of them have agreed with us as to cultural theory's explanatory merits. in fact, some have left firmly opposed to it, choosing to retreat to the safety of modernity; others have left unsure, waiting for more information to declare a verdict. Still others have strongly accepted its claims and now see themselves and their world in a new way. It is not of great concern to us whether our students agree with us by the end of the course. We simply want to make cultural theory and postmodernism accessible to them so they can decide for themselves. the same objective drives this book.

Its structure follows closely that of our seminar, which we designed to ease the encounter with cultural theory and postmodernism. a main introductory section lays out some central issues. the remainder is divided into two parts. the first is dedicated to theory and consists of brief excerpts from key works in cultural theory. Some of these address specifically Latin America; others are more general. the second part consists of excerpts from . . .

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