I’m going to Tulane and I will read this old book by Sara Castro-Klarén. Everyone was interested in the Latin American subject back then, and Borges is much better at thinking about these things than people give him credit for. I will find out what I was thinking, what I might have thought. I would have liked the peace to think these things through about Vallejo, about ethnic subjects in the avant-garde, and about the nineteenth century.
Preface or introduction: How this started–Freyre, the selling of a non-racist image to a racist society. Black studies as anthropology on Black people (Brazil). Latin America trying to sell itself as European and also as an alternative modernity to the U.S., and as non-racist compared to the U.S. But still trying to create a racial state.
First chapter: José Piedra. Hispanism as colonial project, and resistance to this. Bolívar and his colonial antecedents, Ferreira da Silva, the creation of the Latin American subject, scenes of engulfment. The possibility of progress (modernization) vs. the Afro-pessimist view: Blackness is needed as other, and indigeneity as past.
Next chapter: Radical visions, dreams of Republic, vs. María, Cecilia Valdés, O Mulato–the conservative state wins.
Semi-final chapter: avant-garde and ethnicity — Latin American subjects.
Semi-final chapter: the boom novel and nueva canción (Veloso).
Final chapter: multiculturalism, decoloniality and their discontents. The mixed subject as transgressive (Glissant) or as hegemonic.
THIS IS VERY ROUGH and there is much to work out.
Side note: I’m going to recycle a manuscript from 2000 by Zevallos, on Amazonia and Peruvian regional narrative, although I cannot find the published article. I am sure I will one day. It is about jungle narratives, in particular Sangama which is about the selva. Some points:
- Vargas-Llosa called the regional novel “primitive”
- postcolonial subjects/subject-object division/sujeto conflictivo.
What is meant? Well, the postcolonial subject is has an indigenous stance and an observer’s one. So it has double vision or a double sense of space (this latter is what I have always meant about Vallejo). In this, among other things, it is more complex than the European one. This takes different forms: note that Neruda and Allende are among those who say they’re Indians when they’re criollos, a different move but still one of double identities; who is the subject is one question and what are we trying to establish is another.
What am I after in this book? Understanding what is happening with “evoke and elide,” for one thing. I think the texts 1810-1930 are about establishing and maintaining a racial state, in a context where you are supposed to have equality or freedom, and they’re about articulating that, trying to do it, failing. Short-circuits and contradictions keep coming up.
What is going on? Modernity requires racialization, say da Silva and others. So, are these books about that? What is the topic? Moving to different positions within the colonial/modern order?