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Current Issue Article Abstracts

December 2017  Vol. 70.2

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Intermediality and Hispano-Argentine Experimental Film: Subverting Media, Transgressing Borders with Super 8

Eduardo Ledesma (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

In 2010, MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) held a retrospective of 1960s and 70s Super 8 films by Argentine experimental filmmakers Claudio Caldini and Narcisa Hirsch, in what seemed an anachronistic move or a nostalgic look to a past technology. On the contrary, the rebirth of Super 8 proves critical to understanding the dissolution of the concept of medium brought on by an increasingly intermedial approach to the arts—a dissolution linked to the current status of experimental film as diasporic and post-national. Just as their predecessors in the 1960s, contemporary Argentine filmmakers living in Spain (such as Daniela Cugliandolo) are engaging with Super 8 in increasingly intermedial ways, creating radically hybrid films that blur the analog-digital divide and raise questions about memory, indexicality and transnationalism. By remediating Super 8 footage through digital editing, these young Hispano-Argentine filmmakers signal not film’s imminent death, but rather its (affective) afterlife, its extension into a new experimentalism. Additionally, the Internet has become a home in the diaspora for these filmmakers, a place where the local and global are bridged, where filmic memories might be archived, and where a new community of Argentine filmmakers, regardless of where they may live, can gather and reinterpret what those labels (“Argentine,” “filmmaker”) mean in an increasingly post-national, post-medium age.


Don Quijote, Manila, 1623: orden colonial y cultura popular

Miguel Martínez (University of Chicago)

In the winter of 1622-23, Manila publicly mourned the passing of Philip III and then celebrated the ascension to the throne of his son Philip IV. A series of urban festivals brought together the many different social and ethnic groups of the colony and culminated in the carnival of 1623. As had been the case in colonial cities in the Americas, don Quijote and Sancho joined the party and participated in the jousts and parades of Manila. All this was recorded by soldier Diego de Rueda y Mendoza in his manuscript Relación verdadera de las exequias funerales que la insigne ciudad de Manila celebró a la muerte de la majestad del rey Felipe III y reales fiestas que se hicieron a la felice sucesión de . . . Felipe IV. Through the examination of this and other unpublished sources, this article studies the popular uses of Cervantes’s novel in relation to the complex linguistic, ethnic, and social makeup of the Philippine capital. It also analyzes the different forms of collective affect and urban sociability prompted by the recontextualization of the Cervantine characters in this peculiar colonial carnival.

'No hubo tal cosa, que yo estaba allí’: Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa censor de Juan de Castellanos

María Gracia Ríos (Yale University)

The “Discurso del capitán Francisco Draque” (c. 1586-87), written by Juan de Castellanos, was intended to be included in the third part of his Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias. However, this section was censored around 1590. The signature in this section’s marginalia reads “Pedro Sarmiento” and it can be identified as that of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, a Spanish explorer appointed by the Peruvian viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, for an expedition through the Strait of Magellan immediately after Francis Drake’s attacks in the Pacific, in 1579. This article studies the ideological implications of Sarmiento’s act of censorship. By analyzing both English and Spanish primary sources (including historiography, cartography and poetry), the present article examines the relationship between book censorship and piracy, and shows how Drake’s circumnavigation voyage impacted the way in which both Spanish and English authors claimed sovereignty and possession of territories in America. On the one hand, Sarmiento’s censorship sheds light on the contentious exchange of information between England and Spain regarding Drake’s actions in Spanish America. English writers participated in the debate about the legitimacy of the Spanish conquest of America after gathering, interpreting and translating Spanish information about those overseas territories. On the other hand, Sarmiento’s censorship reveals the Spanish monarchy’s attempt to regulate knowledge about the New World in the years that followed the 1568 Junta Magna. This particular act of suppression ultimately demonstrates that the possibility of an alliance between English protestant corsairs and Amerindian nations was a major concern among Spanish authorities. 


César Aira y la novela de la crisis

Fermín Rodríguez (Conicet-Universidad de Buenos Aires)

In its role as articulator of national communities, Latin America literature was read as a powerful mechanism of naturalization of the Nation State and capitalism. However, by 2000, literature and the arts record the fragmentation of national imaginaries by exploring a new cultural configuration dominated by the temporality of the crisis and the decomposition of the sense of national belonging. New maps and forms of subjectivity arise for the novel of the new millennium, beyond the imaginary identification of the individual with nation. The work of the Argentine writer César Aira engaged in the perception and imagination of the crisis very early, exploring the long neoliberal night in a quasi-dreamlike logic that reveals a new regime of urban marginality without the stability of national enclosures. In Aira’s novels La Villa (2001) and Las noches de Flores (2004), the passage from national spaces to post-national distributions of bodies and signs takes the form of an interruption of the order of realistic causality, opening the novel to new spaces of experimentation.

His Master’s Voice? A Hemispheric History of Phonographic Fictions

Sarah J. Townsend (Pennsylvania State University)

This article explores the relationship between writing and sound recording technologies by constructing a genealogy of “phonographic fictions” connecting Spanish America to the United States. Starting in the early nineteenth century, the circulation of a system of shorthand known as “phonography” (or fonografía) touted the benefits of “sound-writing” for literature, commerce, and democratic law. Yet these connections became more fraught with the invention of the mechanical phonograph, given that the emergence of the recording industry and other inscriptive technologies was fueled first by the Spanish American War and then by the United Fruit Company’s creation of banana export enclaves in Central America and the Caribbean, which relied on and reinforced repressive political regimes. How did literature respond to these contradictions? The article dwells first on Spanish American modernismo before tracing trajectory of novels set in so-called banana republics that feature phonographs in brief but revealing roles. After examining a long-overlooked text by the U.S. writer O. Henry, it winds its way through several pillars of the Spanish American canon including examples of magic realism and the dictator novel and asks how an attention to the material infrastructures of sound recording can shed light on the development of the Spanish American literary field.


J. Andrew Brown (Washington University in St. Louis): Culture and its Discontents

Felipe Cala Buendía. Cultural Producers and Social Change in Latin America; Craig Epplin. Late Book Culture in Argentina.


Cartas a Consuelo. Edición de Eugenio Ballou, con una nota de Consuelo Sáez Burgos y una introducción de Lena Burgos-Lafuente by Julia de Burgos (review) (Rubén Ríos-Ávila)

La nación singular: fantasías de la normalidad democrática española (1996-2011) by Luisa Elena Delgado (review) (Luis Moreno-Caballud)

Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas by Stephanie Kirk and Sarah Rivett, eds.  (review) (Erin Kathleen Rowe)

Teatros nacionales republicanos: la Segunda República y el teatro clásico español by David Rodríguez-Solás (review) (John London)