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Experiences of the Un/Fulfilled: Specters, Hopes, and Frustrations in Latin American Aesthetics

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Organizer: Gustavo Quintero

Co-Organizer: Irina Troconis

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This seminar explores how spectral figures intervene in and shape aesthetic processes that center on the Latin American social and political domain during the twentieth and twenty first century. Our main objective is to discuss how, in what seems to be a moment of exhaustion of grand revolutionary narratives, spectral figures of past revolutionary events have become inescapable referents for different Latin American aesthetic and political processes. We understand spectrality, first, as a way in which figures of the past linger and, either disrupt the present sociopolitical structure, or ensure its preservation. Second, as modalities of remembrance through which the present reckons with past events. This intrinsic ambiguity of spectrality will help us establish a dialogue between the specter as an unfulfilled promise that still harbors potential for a radical change, and its appropriation by the power constituted in the state.


The seminar will address multiple articulations of the spectral lingering, the hopes, and the frustrations related to the un/fulfilled promises of revolutionary events. We will explore how the aesthetic dimension of hopes and frustrations can be productive to bridge the afterlives of revolutions, promises of emancipations, (re)configurations of new forms of political authority, and new perspectives for being in common. As such, we seek to analyze how aesthetic processes that include theoretical, literary, and filmic approaches, stage the spectral presence of non-contemporary figures. We will address the following questions: How does spectrality function as an apparatus of state legitimacy? How does spectrality destabilize a clear cut between the old and the new, creating new organizations of time? To what extent spectrality is related to failed dreams and expectations of un/fulfilled revolutionary events? Under what conditions can the specter be a possibility to actualize radical revolutionary movements?

We welcome proposals working on topics such as: depictions of the specter in film, literature, and/or performance; spectral legacies of revolutions in Latin America; the aesthetics of revolutionary exhaustion; the afterlives of the event; aesthetic and theoretical approaches to hopes and/or frustrations related to revolutionary events, the affective dimension of memory, loss, and trauma. 

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