Monday, August 04, 2008

Decolonizing "Latin" America

More sabbatical-project reading.

From Walter D. Mignolo, The Idea of Latin America. The one thing you need to know to make fuller sense of this passage is that Mignolo's central assumption is that "'Latin' America," because of its European origins, is finally inadequate as a designation for the region:

A critical theory beyond the history of Europe proper and within the colonial history of American (or Asia or Africa; or even from the prospective of the migrants within Europe and the US who have disrupted the homogeneity) becomes decolonial theory. That is, it is the theory arising from the projects for decolonization of knowledge and being that will lead to the imagining of economy and politics otherwise. By going to the very roots of modern coloniality–the invention of America and of “Latin” America–this book is contribution to that decolonization of knowledge and being; an attempt to rewrite history following an-other logic, an-other language, an-other thinking. (xx)
Without a) knowing what lies beyond the introduction and b) boring you, I'll just say here that it's precisely in describing an alternate discourse regarding Latin America (and, in my case, North America) that I'm interested in writing about where I think it's going on in novels and some historical narratives describing consensual interracial relationships. It's nice to see someone explicitly stating in his/her own work what you yourself are interested in, even if you end up disagreeing with each other.

More here.


Imani said...

Ooo, for whatever reason I forgot/overlooked your project on interracial relationships in novels and such. Have you tried anything by Alan Hollinghurst? I've read two of his four or five novels so far which all involve a white male protagonist who goes for black partners (usually described as "West Indian") with interesting mixture of power dynamics that almost makes me feel somewhat unsettled. For poorly defined reasons. In other reviews of his work that I've seen so far, though, no one bothers to touch on it much. I find it pretty fascinating, in any case.

John B. said...


Thanks for the suggestion. As it happens, my reading list is relatively thin in Caribbean literature (I have some good theoretical texts from the region, though).

Imani said...

Ooooh, well, Hollinghurst is British through and through...and I can't come up with any Caribbean lit books with interracial relationships because, well, me no know much Caribbean lit.