The (Latin) American Scene, Present and Future (Im-)Perfect: Five Critical Conversations (Hardcover)

The (Latin) American Scene, Present and Future (Im-)Perfect: Five Critical Conversations By Fernando G. Herrero Cover Image

The (Latin) American Scene, Present and Future (Im-)Perfect: Five Critical Conversations (Hardcover)

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This volume deals critically with the insertion of university life in contemporary United States of America. The time frame covers the 1980s and today. These are five critical conversations with noted scholars hailing from different origins, holding different trajectories, agendas and interests who have excelled in the humanities in addressing the (Latin) American Scene in the United States of America. The volume is pursuing the interrogation of the sign "America" in between the crucial "Anglo/Latin" divide. This five-part interrogation is done in ways that do not necessarily agree with conventional understandings of the big sign (America) in mainstream or hegemonic English-language senses of the sign as it travels internally in the United States and internationally up and down and across the Atlantic. Hence, the suggested parenthesis of "Latin" that is intended to disrupt the sign of "America," which is not and cannot possibly be the United States of America. The volume title also plays with "perfection" as in the verbal sense of finished business plus the idea of excellence. These five critical conversations illustrate some of the challenges, problems, troubles, dilemmas, and so on. We are in the "not yet" finished quality and the self-awareness of the scholarship that is "never perfect." Hence, we are perpetually in motion and perhaps moving towards progress. Bright and dark sides frame the immediate and more distant past, the pressing present and the immediate future. The "here-and-now" summons an interregnum in which readers can see some of the challenges informing the academic profession, university life, history, Latin America and the U.S. associations, avatars of the (foreign) humanities, Spanish in pressurized Anglo settings, and so on. The five interviewees (Walter D. Mignolo, John Beverley, Rolena Adorno, Jos Rabasa and Roberto Gonz lez Echevarr a) have all been affiliated with Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, also called Romance Studies, Hispanic Studies (and now, Iberian and Latin American Studies or vice versa, Latin American and Iberian Studies). The signs "Latin" and "Hispanic" surface significantly in fields of languages, literatures and cultures, but also history and a variety of studies (the humanities, historical, sociological, Latin American, post/de-colonial, cultural, subaltern, etc.). "Hispanic" is challenged, and it turns out to be a common misnomer within and sometimes against "Anglo" domains (i.e. the U.S. and the U.K. too). The category of "West" is debated in different ways. It is not necessarily assumed as an unquestionable summum bonum (conventionally, "Latin America" is not part of the "West" in conventional English-speaking domains and a rich tradition of criticism emerges in these conversations). Tensions within monolingual institutional settings in the United States are mentioned. These conversations open up the notion of "history" which will go in different directions. There are different genealogies and there is no resolution. "Literature" is vigorously defended at least by one or two of these participants, but this is not the case in others who open up to the mounting challenges of literacy and the virtues and limitations of the alphabetic letter in historical and contemporary settings in the Americas (Latin America and the United States). Inter- or trans-disciplinarity is defended by all and 1,001 references fly around these exchanges. There is humor too, sometimes coming from me and sometimes at the expense of the interviewer. Three conversations took place in Spanish (Mignolo, Rabasa, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria ) and two in English (Beverley, Adorno). The final work includes my translations into English. There are personal predilections and collective trajectories, changes and continuities, celebrations and desires, accusations and stubborn challenges. The historical present allows for the referencing of Early Modern / colonial dimensions among these five (Latin) American scholars, and this is significant vis- -vis the hegemonic European horizon inside U.S. academia. But things are ineluctably changing. As with "Hispanic cultures," speakers occupy both sides of virtually all binaries (majority and minority, white and non-white, "off-white," "brown," etc.), minority-academic culture and majority minority population, bilingual, English and Spanish, (Latin) American, American and European, humanities and social-science, a general struggle for a greater visibility in the universities in the Anglo Zone. Vast historical vistas are addressed starting with the "modern" in the Spanish-language tradition. There are additions of post/decolonial perspectives, continental philosophical traditions and criticism from the margins. These vistas are combined with their most pressing situations in the various academic environments. Tensions, challenges, xenophobia and even racism come up. The thrust of this work is to open up to something bigger and something different. "Hispanic" writ large inside the "foreign humanities" allows for numerous upsets of the conventional narratives.
Fernando G Herrero is the author of "Sobre post colonialismos maltrechos, descolonizaciones malogradas y angostamientos universitarios," Revista Umbral: Un Mundo en Crisis y Las Humanidades: Sus Retos y Futuro (Universidad de Puerto Rico) and "The Latest American Appropriation of Western Universalism: A Critique of G. John Ikenberry 'Liberal International Order.'" He has taught at the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester in Britain, and Duke University, Stanford University, University of Pittsburgh, Hofstra University, and Oberlin College among others in the United States. In July 2024, he will be joining as Associate Professor of Spanish and English, the international faculty team of Wenzhou Business College, University City, Wenzhou, China.
Product Details ISBN: 9781839991622
ISBN-10: 1839991623
Publisher: Anthem Press
Publication Date: December 31st, 2024
Pages: 300
Language: English