Latin American 20th C Topics: Latin American Orientalisms

Mo 6:00PM - 8:55PM / 1325 Cathedral of Learning / 24803

Since the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade in the 16th century that marked the beginning of Asian and Latin American cultural and economic exchanges, Latin America’s view of Asia has been fundamental in shaping a Latin American understanding not only of "the Orient" as a geopolitical, cultural and racial entity, but also of Latin America itself.  Throughout history, the representation of "the Orient" and of "the Oriental" in Latin American literary and cultural texts has helped accommodate a formulation of a unique and putative Latin American identity.  In the wake of the Cold War and the rise of Asian dominance in our current era of globalization, Latin America’s interest in Asia has heightened as evidenced by the numerous productions of literary, visual and sound media centered on “the Orient.” How do these current representations of Asia alter, refashion and engage with earlier Latin American notions of “the Orient”? Moreover, how do existing categorical ideas on race, gender, class, and ethnicity work in unison with Latin America’s imaginary of “the Orient”?  In this course, we will engage with these questions in three inter-related ways. First, we will engage in close reading/viewing/listening of contemporary Latin American literary and cultural media. Literary texts include but are not limited to the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz, Mario Bellatin, Oswaldo Reynoso, César Aira, Emilio Díaz Valcárcel, Doris Moromisato and José Watanabe. Visual and audio media studied will include Sebastián Borensztein’s Un cuento chino, Gasper Scheur’s film Samurai, Andrés Di Tella’s documentary Fotografías, songs by Calle 13 and Latin American renditions of K-pop. Second, these primary works will be examined in conjunction with theoretical readings that discuss issues of Orientalism, Techno-Orientalism, cultural hybridity, racial and gender construction and transpacific migration. Theoretical and critical texts will be culled from José Vasconcelos, Fernando Ortiz, Edward Said, Néstor García Canclini, Walter Mignolo, Arif Dirlik, Lisa Lowe and Sara Ahmed. Lastly, we will look at specific historical events and cases in which to situate the primary and secondary readings, such as the Hemispheric American Chinese coolie trade in the 19th century, the Torreón (Mexico) Massacre of Chinese residents in 1911, the confinement of Latin Americans of Japanese descent in US internment camps during World War II, the involvement of Latin American soldiers in the Korean War, the return migration and labor exploitation of Brazilians of Japanese descent (the dekasegi), and the bilateral relations between Latin American nations and Asian countries in the era of the “Beijing Consensus.”

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Junyoung Veronica Kim

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Category C: Cultural Antagonisms and Cultural Crises

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