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Affects, Violence and Memory in Latin America

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Organizer: Ana Del Sarto

Co-Organizer: Alicia Ríos

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During the 1990s, feminist and queer cultural studies within the Anglo-Saxon academia, have been theorizing affects as a way out of the believed impasse generated by post-modern psychoanalytic and deconstructive approaches, and as alternative inter and transdisicplinary models to the hegemony of language, the symbolic and signification, the unconscious, ideology, culture and communication.  Although some approaches are contradictory among themselves, due to the ambiguous and contentious nature of the topics involved and their resemblance to our contemporary moment, they have become predominant in many fields.

 

Since the early 2000s, many scholars within the field of Latin American cultural studies have adopted, adapted, and worked through these new concepts, approaches and theories to examine crucial issues, events, and phenomena in contemporary Latin America, such as violence and memory. How are these topics revisited from the new theories of affect? What benefits can affective resonances provide to both topics? Is violence affective? And, following the same logic, how is memory related to affects? How a cultural studies approach to violence and memory benefits from the perspective of affects?

 

The interconnection of these highly volatile but pervasive topics and theories challenge our imagination and creativity. Cultural productions and theoretical discourses on violence and memory have flourished since the middle of the last century. During the new millennium these new approaches allow us to reflect differently on pressing issues. The following questions could help us guide our symposium conversations: 

 
  • What new relations can cultural critics highlight in terms of violence, memory, and affects?

  • How artistic, literary, journalistic, cinematic, and cultural discourses in general reflect and articulate memory and violence with affects?

  • How do people respond affectively to the different kinds of violence –either systemic, subjective or objective; symbolic, physical or psychological? Do people react differently to legitimate and/or illegitimate state violence than criminal violence? 

  • Are affective politics current cultural politics today? Are affects being politically and culturally manipulated to control certain populations? How are structures of power using affects? 

  • Are affective politics replacing identity politics? Will affects create different kind of constituencies/citizenship? What modulations will affects allow social movements in relation to power structures? 

  • What affective environments predominate in contemporary Latin American cultures? Are affective environments different to national, regional, transnational, global imaginary/imaginaries? In what sense/s?  

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