From Revolt to Utopia: Interwar Writing and the Avant-gardes in Latin America (1910-1940)
(submit proposals through NEMLA's website)
March 10-13, 2022
In an era marked by economic volatility, the expansion of leftist and feminist movements, the proliferation of far-right ideologies, and the rise of military coups, this panel addresses the complex rapport of early 20th century cultural and literary production with regard to issues of democracy, revolution, and authoritarianism in Latin America. We invite submissions—in English and Spanish—that investigate how interwar writers and avant-gardists propose new forms of political cooperation, either in their own biographical political commitments, and/or in the politics of their aesthetic practices. Concomitantly, we seek to understand if the creations of these authors advocate the maintenance, reform, or destruction of contemporary modes of sociopolitical and economic organization. In this light, we are concerned with the interactions of violence, politics, and utopianism, especially regarding authors’ treatment of the use of violence in relation to the establishment of new societies. Additionally, we are interested in considering whether writers of this period offer utopian imaginaries that entail non-violent and egalitarian forms of socialization, as heralded by the possibility and practice of the commons.
Moreover, as we take part in the necessary and ongoing critique of socially constructed hierarchies—while simultaneously acknowledging the potential exhaustion and even erosive effects of critique in our neoliberal epoch—, how can an engagement with Latin American authors of the first decades of the 20th century allow us to move in the direction of caring for and protecting others and our lifeworlds in the present? Can early 20th century writers—who witnessed unspeakable violence and social upheaval—help us think through the sociological crises of the early 21st century?
We welcome analyses of a variety of genres and mediums: letters, personal diaries, novels, short stories, poems, articles, cultural and literary journals, as well as forms of expression involving multi-medial aesthetics.
Fernanda Righi, PhD