"World War Writing at a Distance: Latin American Literature and The Great War"
Friday, November 21, 2014
Rochambeau House, Music Room
Is World War I a Latin American event? When tackled from the perspective of cultural and literary history, this question renders visible a Latin American archive of literary explorations of the Great War my paper explores. If Latin American intellectuals saw the war from a certain geopolitical distance (whether they were watching it from afar or up close), their texts demonstrate a complex identification with the cause of the Allied Powers through which they made the war their own. This need for an affective bridging of distance is the result of the marginal place of Latin American culture within a more general formation of modern global culture, in which cosmopolitan intellectuals attempt to inscribe themselves in the cultural scenario they invest with the meaning of universality.
Mariano Siskind is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American Literature with emphasis on its world literary relations, as well as the production of cosmopolitan discourses and processes of aesthetic globalization. He is the author of Cosmopolitan Desires; Global Modernity and World Literature in Latin America (Northwestern University Press, 2014). He has edited Homi Bhabha's Nuevas minorías, nuevos derechos. Notas sobre cosmopolitimos vernáculos (2013) and Poéticas de la distancia; Adentro y afuera de la literatura argentina (Norma, 2006) (together with Sylvia Molloy). He is working on a new monograph tentatively titled World War Writing in Latin America.