Category Archives: Borderlands

Borderlands

The thing about Anzaldúa’s book is that it is not just about any borderlands, it is about a specific region. Yes, I know she extrapolates a great deal from there, but it is STILL into largely US based theory (gone global). But it is from a region and the writing voice does have an identity, even if not a flat one.

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La bibliothèque

I have to get the things I said I would, and López Velarde, and the Anzaldúa book I don’t have, and that’s there. I ordered the other one, and might donate it to the library. I’ll see about the Thomas Ward article (Gloria Anzaldúa y la lucha fronteriza).

I’m keeping in mind this manifesto on G.A. and healing and also the books that seem to have ended up in my Amazon carrito and not on a library list. I’ll keep the Saldívar-Hull introduction to the 1999 Borderlands in mind — the border subject is anyone, it says almost literally. I’m keeping in mind Kraniauskas on hybridity, and his references.

There is also the Crítica de la razón andina AND the critiques of postcolonial and ALSO of decolonial reason.  And there are the books I have hiding in my nascent electronic bookshelves, in Apple and Google.

And those e-shelves are probably where I should put the books I keep on Amazon wishlists. And it does not seem I will ever really use Jabrefs  or Zotero, although I know they are cool — these things remain to be seen.

I need Unzueta’s book, and I need to check out, for teaching, the anthology Spanish American Thought and Culture ed. by Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, y Barbara C. Ewell.

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For Anzaldúa and JALLA

For ages I kept around this essay by Linda Gordon, from Dissent (Spring 1999, 41-47), called “The trouble with difference.” As she notes, it follows on a piece of hers in Genders (1991) on related issues. She says gender difference called up hopes of community among women, sisterhood; differences among women (typically racial) reinforce bonds within smaller groups. This idea of difference, though, also impedes connection and the imagining of a larger community. It’s fragmenting. (Note that she points out that the discourse of personal guilt is not helpful.) Also, she notes that difference talk leads us away from specifying the relationships that give rise to gender, racial, class and other inequalities / alienations. “We need to ask for much, much more than merely respecting difference.” [47, emphasis added] Mere respect depoliticizes the idea of difference — and “difference” and “diversity” come to mask power (46). It is a smart piece.

*

The JALLA paper is about alternatives to Sommer, and the possible impossibility of positing a nation. This old paper by Alberto M. cites an old paper by Jean F. that talks about novels dealing with the impossibility of construction of the modern Latin American state. Franco apparently looks at GGM, Yo el Supremo, and some of Rodríguez Juliá. She is engaging in a polemic with Jameson … and doesn’t talk about Arguedas/Zorro which does fit Jameson’s model while turning it against itself. . . . Magical realism seeks its own undoing; can we say the same of transculturation?

From the fourth section of the piece: Zorros opens up a new cycle of LA writing because it closes the possibility of anthropological writing, or ethnofiction. It does so by taking anthropological ethnofiction to a breaking point. There, magical realism, the organizing principle of ethnofiction, is epistemologically shattered because it is revealed to be inexorably dependent upon the subordination of indigenous cultures to an always already Western-hegemonic machine of transculturation: to modernization itself. The indigenous components are enormous and they break the frame, as it were; it is not possible to join Andean culture and modernity in a relation of non-subordination; transculturation is still part of coloniality . . . and magical realism is as well.

Earlier on: “Transculturation is a war machine, feeding on cultural difference, whose principal function is the reduction of the possibility of radical cultural heterogeneity.” (94)

That is key, and I have always like this article, and that has always been my impression of Latin America, before I could say it: a place of radical heterogeneity that everyone is trying to contain.

I will keep trying to work on this, too, and I think the radical heterogeneity is the germ of my JALLA paper. But I was reading this, on Arguedas, for Anzaldúa, and Moreiras quotes Spitta (all of this is so old) — see p. 88, A.’s subject would be that perfectly transculturated one.

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Books and things on nations and borders

There is The Borders of Dominicanism, useful to me in that it invokes another borderland with the U.S.

There is At the edges of states: Dynamics of state formation in the Indonesian borderlands (Michael Eilenberg)

The book rests on the premise that remote border regions offer an exciting study arena that can tell us important things about how marginal citizens relate to their nation-state. The basic assumption is that central state authority in the Indonesian borderlands has never been absolute, but waxes and wanes, and state rules and laws are always up for local interpretation and negotiation. In its role as key symbol of state sovereignty, the borderland has become a place were central state authorities are often most eager to govern and exercise power. But as illustrated, the borderland is also a place were state authority is most likely to be challenged, questioned and manipulated as border communities often have multiple loyalties that transcend state borders and contradict imaginations of the state as guardians of national sovereignty and citizenship.

There is National Identities and Sociopolitical Changes in Latin America, eds. Durán-Cogan and Gómez-Moriana, Routledge 2001, with a Wynter piece in it I am told to read.

In other news, there is also Maite Condé’s Foundational films: early cinema and modernity in Brazil and the film, A 12-year night. This and “La operación,” the documentary on sterilization of Puerto Ricans, would be good for our planned class on film and human rights.

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Compulsory heterosexuality and alternative anthropophagy

I thought I was just puttering around, rereading Adrienne Rich because someone sent me that essay, and reading about Oswaldo Costa because this article popped up, but actually: they are for my paper.

Anzaldúa is a lesbian writer and following Rich, that is more important than her just being a defender of all supposedly “marginal” or “border” identities. (And I suppose I should give more respect to Mignolo’s “border thinking.”)

And Costa, apparently, has an actually counter-colonial form of anthropophagy. I will have to think about this again, reread the piece, but these are three interesting thoughts.

And as lagniappe: did you know Jameson was a Pérez Galdós fan?

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Filed under Bibliography, Borderlands, Theories, Theories Bibliography

World literature, cosmopolitanism, globality

This book is open access and I am in love with that.

And I’ve got a co-translator now for that project, a powerful one, and a press says they’ll take the book. We have not yet seen the contract, but I suppose we will get one.

I got really mad at the university and envious of big professors who are reading books, so I decided I would ignore everything and read some books, too.

Down with drudgery.

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Ancient

Ancient notes, I think from a conference 20 years ago, that I kept and kept. What did they say and why did I keep them?

Postmodernism as grand récit flattens out the complexities of Latin American modernism, which had postmodern characteristics and also more, it was more complex. It tries to articulate national and continental modernities from the point of view of a mobile subject.

It looks at itself from Europe and from “America,” and that America is itself fissured. Vallejo’s clear view of fissures in his own identity (and identity itself?) comes from his being from a fissured place. Despite his attempts at creating monumental art, he always ends up emphasizing the fissure.

* Somewhere in PH he refers to Peru as undigested matter
* He was interested in the contingent self – formations from nothingness – not the questioning of an already formed transcendental subject [this was what I used to claim, it was my key idea, and it is something that really needs research and substantiation, that I think exists]
* He was serious about Peruvianness as part of this identity — it is not just something he writes about in his prose to be “PC” or follow current fashion [again, this is something that really needs investigation]
* Peruvian modernity as an “idea out of place”
* Berman, modernism as reaction to modernity – and note Vallejo has been written on with Berman in mind; modernity in Peru had not been realized; note authoritarianism of Peru, combined and uneven development.
* Mariátegui talked about how to modernize and whom to include in modernization; this is important.
* Revista Mundial; Leguía; Revista Peruana, Mercurio Peruano, Amauta
*
There were two vanguardias: the international and the indigenista one. Los heraldos negros does both
* See the revista Anunciación and the writer César Atahualpa Rodríguez, of Arequipa

And we have a few more notes, before I end this round of mind-watering and start seriously writing. I always get really nostalgic when I see my notes, the research I was so interested in but that was to be done by the self I was so alienated from. Here are some notes on that, from a conversation with Quinn. I wish I could reconstruct more of them, and I do not fully understand what I have. They say, or Quinn said:

– I have trouble working because the environment feels so oppressive.
– Work is what I want but it is also a PTSD trigger.
– I was taught to catastrophize and THAT is a PTSD trigger, too.
– DO NOT CATASTROPHIZE.
– Anxiety and so on are, or are results of brain trauma. Think again about PTSD, complex PTSD. (Think of that serious-comic video we were watching.)
– This university gaslights you, makes you doubt reality or your reality; they’re outright mean, denying rights and projecting low motives into everyone
– Again, always de-catastrophize.
– Again, it is hard to concentrate due to the oppressive atmosphere and the PTSD triggers; these things lead to EXECUTIVE DYSFUNCTION
– Executive dysfunction: “If I experience this, if I have these feelings, I will die”
– Dissociating because of this
– The self-deprecating humor of people from the margins is actually humiliation, and it is something people do to get permission to speak
– But actually, nobody has the right to treat anyone poorly
– I have been in so much pain so many days, and under so much pressure / feeling as though there were nowhere to turn
– When you soak a child in shame they cannot develop the neural pathways that lead to self-worth
– According Robert Scaer (trauma expert and neuroscientist), “trauma is any life stress that occurs in a state of helplessness.” [Source]
– I was taught you should succumb to [negativity] to prove you “were not numb” (which was a sin) but that was WRONG. You should stand up for yourself, care for and about yourself, believe in yourself, NOT allow destruction to colonize you.

Clorinda Matto REALLY believes in periodismo – believes in immigration and ANSINA – in sending Italians to Peru – because the Chinese are “enfermizos” whereas the Italians are part of the “raza latina.” The Italians came about 1840 because of the guano boom, GARIBALDI the nationalist arrived about 1852.

Matto favors professional education for women because it improves their lives and also makes marriage something other than prostitution. She points out that 60% of women are not mothers or wives (very interesting figure). AND she is against centralismo limeño. She talks about women as speaking subjects, not only objects of contemplation or study.

El Perú ilustrado and the ambiguous, or ambivalent discourse of progress. See also Gargurevich. Meanwhile González Prada, after the war with Chile, said the real Peru was the Indians. This, together with Matto’s turn to indigenismo, is a major shift. Matto, here and elsewhere, was interested in creating a national literature that did not follow European models — she was looking to PERUANIZAR EL PERU — and she looks back to Manco Cápac and people of that era. She believes in the press as a venue for this ideological work, and also that literature and commerce support each other.

W.E.B. DuBois wanted African-Americans to fight for their rights as a race – he believed in this U.S. idea of differences between people and cultures, but equality of opportunity and rights. I.E.: you did not have to be of one race and culture to have equal rights. That is, he thought black culture, African culture, were real. That may not be as clear in Brazil.

I have quite a few heavily marked pages from an old LARR article that is interesting, and seems to be a review essay; what I was marking about: when Brazil was advertising itself as inclusive and a racial democracy, it did not just have “informal racism” that enforced discrimination although not officially. There were very apparent patterns of state-sponsored exclusion during the 1st Republic. There’s a collection of essays, called Race, Science and Society (in Portuguese), edited by Maio and Santos, on these racial politics. Whitening was state policy. THERE WAS STATE POLICY. Another book, The Spectacle of the Races, is really important on this. And there is Hendrik Kraay’s collection of essays on Afro-Brazilian Culture and Politcs in Bahia, that ALSO indicates how much work the state did as guardian of inequality. This article also has some useful criticisms of F. W. Twine’s work, and the general takeaway is that research at the time this piece was written focuses on HOW discrimination operated (it had moved on from just showing, having to show that it had been there).

I know typing this looks like a form of procrastination but I don’t think it is really. I have to recover all the things I was thinking of, soak them back into me. Also: during this period I kept stopping work because I was so discouraged about self and life but the answer to that is to recover self-respect and keep on working. WHY was it in fashion to let detractors take one over? It was a bad fashion.

There is an R. Rosello article in Paragraph 18 (1) (1995), “Practices of Hybridity” that was worth looking it, talking about hybridity as a “beyond” space — I was interested in going beyond that idea. And there was Cornejo Polar, on the novela indigenista and hybridity. The novela indigenista had heterogeneity of elements; socio-cultural space de índole desigual y conflictiva. Mariátegui talked about the carácter no orgánicamente nacional de la literatura peruana, stemming from the language dualism, Quechua/Spanish. The real maraviolloso is also indigenista, about the cruce conflictivo de dos sociedades and dos culturas.

Un universo dividido: Peru was capitalist and also feudal, since inside production it was feudal even though the exterior was capitalist; there was also the interpenetration of Indian and white customs (cf. Arguedas). The dyad indianismo/indigenismo presupposes a dualidad indio/metrópoli — unlike González Prada, M. does NOT say the “true Peru”is Indian. Leguía’s indigenismo posited the indios puros as symbols; Cornejo likes Rama. M.’s indigenismo is progressive; heterogeneidad social is class struggle and indigenismo itself is heterogeneous as well as being about cultural heterogeneity (as we know, heterogeneity is distinguished from mestizaje). Also: cultural nationalismo is about returning to [“true” and unitary] roots.

Indigenista discourse presupposes a difference between the producers of the said discourse and those represented in it; this difference is determined societally and culturally. So again, indigenismo itself is heterogeneous and demonstrates the heterogeneity of the carácter nacional.

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