Latin American Women's Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis

Latin American Women's Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis

Latin American Women's Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis

Latin American Women's Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis

Synopsis

This collection of essays on Latin American women's writing--written by the leading feminist critics in Latin America, the United States, and Europe--rethinks notions of gender and cultural identity and examines the specific discursive practices of a range of female-authored texts. The contributors offer fresh readings of canonical authors, such as Maria Luisa Bombal and Rosario Castellanos, and present essays on emerging Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina writers. The collection represents the most influential strands in current feminist criticism on Latin America, including psychoanalytic, post-structuralist, and Marxist approaches, with their diverse post-colonial and philosophical inflections.

Excerpt

Anny Brooksbank Jones and Catherine Davies

Runo no puede verse a si mismo sino en un espejo (one can only see oneself in a mirror) Victoria Ocampo

The common root of crisis and criticism in a moment of decision is by now familiar. However, the juxtaposition of crisis and theory in our title invokes a more telling and timely relation, and a more decisive way of looking at both. It acknowledges theory's central but contested place in contemporary academic writing and it recognizes that in Latin American studies these tensions are compounded when theory declares itself feminist.

Each of the essays in this volume addresses different feminist inflections of theory and crisis. the volume is organized around the triple articulation of theory's own contested status as politics, the crisis of feminist theory, and theory as a discursive field in which social crisis is registered and played out. Theory as micropolitics is put increasingly into question in Latin America by the macropolitics of cultural change, as women emerge as innovative protagonists of the new social movements. But theory is also the field or theatre in which critical transformations are discursively produced and performed. It is in particular a theatre of contention. Broadly speaking, feminism finds itself caught between postmodern critiques of universality and objectivity on the one hand and humanist narratives of justice and progress on the other, while literature strains between the sweep of grand theory and the particularity of historically grounded texts. Although Latin America has not been proof against such conflicting concerns, critical emphasis has tended to fall on materialist discourses of causation. As a result, to forgo these discourses in favour of postmodern conceptions of the material is effectively to reject much of Latin American cultural theory. Many male . . .

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