Multiculturalism and Beyond: Identity Politics, Cultural Difference, and Hybridity in the Americas. ABSTRACTS


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1 20 July 2009 Multiculturalism and Beyond: Identity Politics, Cultural Difference, and Hybridity in the Americas. ABSTRACTS Romulo Acurio (Vienna) Identitary Competence and Cultural Freedom in the Andean Region In the Andean countries, racism is peculiar because it refers not only to discrimination against indigenous or Afro-American minorities, but draws a boundary of contempt against those individuals deemed less urban, educated or modern within each region, community or even family. Racism persists even among individuals of similar socio-economic condition because it is a practice of obsessive categorization, based on personal appearance, which is not just a matter of skin color, but includes the subjective traits of intonation, vocabulary, clothing and manners. In Andean societies, every individual is simultaneously a potential object and agent of racism, depending on the mutual categorizations of each social situation. The most influential popular cultures only deepen this problem. On the one side, the official mestizo culture, promoted by the State and the media, instills an abstract and patriotic egalitarianism which masks local and regional memories. On the other hand, global popular culture imposes, with its introspective and expressive power, a demanding model of autonomy, modernity and cosmopolitanism. To confront the fluid boundary of racism, individuals must learn, from early childhood, to obtain in every situation the social recognition they need to articulate their sense of singularity with their sense of local, national or global belonging. Individuals must develop an introspective and expressive competence with which they negotiate their social position and, in some cases, create products and practices of ironic, artistic or intellectual resistance. Andean individuals have always developed such an identitary competence, with varying degrees of success, since the Colonial period to the present. It has helped them live with each other and avoid often subliminally - overt violence during longs periods of history, but has not eliminated the daily stress of cultural contempt. In order to encourage the development of such identitary competence in society, Andean countries need public spaces of cultural freedom. Only a mobilization of civil society can conquer, in reaction to the popular cultures encouraged by the State and the media, the policies and practices necessary to promote an equitable cultural market, intercultural dialogue, a critical exploration of local and regional memories, new forms of patriotism and cosmopolitanism, respect 1

2 for collective rights and recognition of individual rights to cultural entrenchment or cultural uprooting. Without cultural freedom, a steady growth of the economy, even if it becomes more inclusive, will leave unresolved the problem of racism and, with it, a basic ingredient of social conflict in the Andean region. Philipp Altmann (Marienheide) Pluriculturalismo o multiculturalismo El movimiento indígena ecuatoriano y su política cultural La sociedad ecuatoriana está caracterizada por una gran diversidad cultural y étnica. Esta diversidad conlleva a una discusión entre diferentes actores políticos sobre su concepción y organización. En las constituciones políticas de 1998 y 2008 se puede notar esta, discusión en una manera diferente de describir la sociedad ecuatoriana. En 1998 la constitución definió al Ecuador como pluricultural y multiétnico (Art. 1), mientras en el 2008 Ecuador está descrito como intercultural, plurinacional (Art. 1). Esta ponencia quiere dar un panorama sobre las definiciones de las posibles convivencias entre las culturas y etnias que tienen importancia en el discurso político en Ecuador; especialmente las diferentes organizaciones indígenas y sus políticas culturales serán descritas e interpretadas en este contexto de forma amplia y profunda. Se vislumbran grandes diferencias entre la CONAIE y las diferentes organizaciones indígenas que por lo general son menos radicales en sus exigencias de autonomía cultural. Se analizarán las políticas culturales o de identidad de las grandes organizaciones indígenas, enfatizando en los conceptos de multiculturalismo, pluriculturalismo, interculturalismo y la concepción de los pueblos indígenas como naciones. Estas políticas culturales serán descritas en cuanto a sus implicaciones, sus fines y razones políticas, la posibilidad de realizarlas y sus funciones dentro del discurso político en Ecuador Leslie Bary (University of Louisana at Lafayette) Race, Color, and Culture in Peru and Brazil The son of a doctor employed on a sugar plantation, Cirilo Villaverde ( ) had to present a certificate of whiteness to enroll in school. These certificates were ostensibly proofs of lineage and purity of blood. They could also be obtained, as José Piedra (1987) reminds us, through a demonstration of literacy in Latin and Spanish, and of cultural allegiance to the Western world. The possibility of earning whiteness was no challenge to the color hierarchy itself. Does the present day emphasis on multiracial identities challenge the ideal of whiteness, or does it merely broaden its scope? Are we, on the other hand, recreating intermediate categories of privilege? Is the inclusiveness associated with both multiculturalism and hybridity a way to evade discussion of persistent racial inequality? Why is it so attractive to turn from the question of race to that of culture, or from facing difference to embracing hybridity? 2

3 While race and mestizaje have been discussed, and racial prejudice condemned in Latin America from Independence forward, structural and institutional racism are evaded more often than they are addressed. Although there is significant regional variation in the ways in which the notion of race is constructed, the structure of racist practice is remarkably uniform. This paper argues that both race and racism can most usefully be studied in a transnational frame. Engaging recent work on Peru by Marisol de la Cadena and Gonzalo Portocarrero, and on Brazil by António Sérgio Guimarães and Denise Ferreira da Silva, Alexandra Istafahani-Hammond and Patricia Fox, this paper examines the relationship which has been constructed among the concepts of race, color and culture in these two countries. Our primary question concerns the ways in which the interrelation of these three terms may help to illuminate institutional racism and/or to screen it from view. Olaf Berg (Medienpädagogik Zentrum Hamburg) The Zapatista Politics of History: Reconfiguring the Role of Indigenous Tradition in National Culture When the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) first appeared publicly with an armed uprising in 1994 in the south-eastern part of Mexico it immediately entered into a symbolic struggle with the Mexican government about the classification of the Zapatista project. While the government tried to classify the uprising as a local conflict with indigenous people that can be solved by implementing social assistance and development projects, the Zapatistas located their struggle as a nation wide struggle for democratic changes of the political and economic system and the real inclusion of indigenous people into the nation. I argue that an important part of this struggle for inclusion and redefinition of the Mexican Nation is a very conscious politics of history brought forward by the Zapatistas. On the one hand it refers to symbols of the Mexican Revolution, like the very name of Emiliano Zapata, historic places like Aguascalientes that gave name to the first place of meeting between the Zapatistas and the Mexican civil society or the route chosen by the Zapatistas for their march to Mexico City in On the other hand it takes up playfully the indigenous tradition of oral history telling and includes the historic experience of 500 years of resistance to the occupation by Spanish conquerors and their successors not as past but as present. This indigenous understanding of history that challenges the idea of history as a successive line of past presents allows for a critical or postmodern reading of history that superposes different time layers at a specific given moment into what Walter Benjamin had called a dialectical image. The Zapatista project intervenes into a Mexican Nation-State that itself is built on a revolution and an understanding of multi-cultural mestizaje as expressed in Vasconcelos s concept of a cosmic race. This concept acknowledges the indigenous culture as important heritage that has been integrated into the current Mexican culture but does not recognize indigenous tradition as a progressive element in the development of the society. Contrary to this the Zapatista politics of history considers indigenous tradition as a dynamic process and source of social improvement that can help to develop a better society for all Mexicans. It reinvents 3

4 the relation between local, national and global self-interpretation and identity by introducing the unfulfilled hopes of past struggles into the actual moment as a dialectical image. Thus I argue, that the famous Zapatista slogan for a world where many worlds fit should not necessary be interpreted as a claim for multi-cultural coexistence of cultures but can be seen as the assertion of a space for a multiplicity of shifting identities. In this scenario history is a contested place where the manifold indigenous experiences of past and present are always already there. Katharina Bick (Bremen University) Localizing Literary Whiteness: Post-Critical Whiteness Studies in the Contemporary American Novel My presentation will be a contribution to critical whiteness studies, a new academic field that has complemented minority studies of racialization. I examine the literary representation of whiteness in six contemporary American novels, including Dorothy Allison s Cavedweller (1999), Brock Clarke s The Ordinary White Boy (2001), Anthony Giardina s White Guys (2006), Jeffrey Lent s In the Fall (2000), Kate Manning s Whitegirl (2002), and Danzy Senna s Caucasia (1998). By analyzing these novels, my study focuses on the discursive process of developing a white racial identity. In addition, it unveils the manner in which whiteness and white identity have been shaped through a range of intersectional aspects (race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality). Furthermore, this study inquires how the novels contribute to a self-conscious cultural discourse on whiteness by way of literary representation. Whereas whiteness is discussed in various other fields, such as history or sociology, whiteness as race has yet to receive adequate critical consideration in literary studies. The few literary critics who actually focused on whiteness in their studies primarily analyzed works of white American authors prior to the development of whiteness studies. In these earlier publications, whiteness is usually perceived as a racially neutral category and is never explicitly stated unlike the race of black characters. The novels I analyze, however, disrupt the notion of whiteness as invisible and clearly mark whiteness and white identities. Each novel stresses specific elements of whiteness / race such as racial passing, white trash or whiteness and masculinity. The writers deal with whiteness in a new and direct way, which challenges (white) readers and literary critics alike. In Whitegirl, for example, the very first sentence I was not always a white girl (1) immediately relates to the topic of white racial identity and is a form of introducing whiteness that has not yet occurred in American literature. Leila Bijos (Universidade Católica de Brasilia) Multiculturalism and Ethnic Communities in the Americas The aim of this paper is to analyze the concept of multiculturalism as a social, political, and cultural paradigm in the Americas, focusing on the indigenous population, especially socially excluded Aymara, Quéchua, and Moxeñas women in Bolivia, as well as black Brazilian women, African descendent slaves from the State 4

5 of Bahia who are socially excluded. In spite of the development levels achieved in the last decades, Latin America countries still have a large number of persons living in absolute poverty. Despite of colonialism most of the communities are presently inserted into affirmative actions, social and political projects which are changing their daily life. Capucine Boidin (Institut des Hautes Etudes de l Amerique latine, Paris) Mestizaje and Multiculturalism from Paraguayan Intellectuals and Peasants Points of View / Mestizaje y multiculturalismo vistos desde los intelectuales y campesinos paraguayos de hoy El multiculturalismo como ideología regional (el guaraní si bien no consiguió ser reconocido como lengua oficial del MERCOSUR a pesar de ser oficial en el Paraguay y en la región de Corrientes en Argentina es lengua cultural del MERCOSUR), nacional y el mestizaje como práctica cotidiana en Paraguay toman formas particulares e interconectadas. Hasta los años 1990 y la caída de la dictadura del General Stroessner (1989), la ideología nacional estaba forjada en torno al mestizaje hispano- guaraní. Con la nueva constitución (1992), se define el Paraguay como un país oficialmente bilingüe Guaraní Castellano y pluricultural. Afirmando la necesidad de consolidar tanto el español como el guaraní como lenguas centrales de la identidad nacional paraguaya varios intelectuales discriminan dos realidades: las demás lenguas indígenas no paraguayo-guaraníes (habladas por el 2% de la población) así como las formas populares del habla guaraní que se mezclan fuertemente con el castellano (el 90% de la población afirma hablar el guaraní, y el 40% declara hablar solamente el guaraní). Así mismo contrastaremos este proyecto de educación bilingüe con la percepción que tienen en el día a día los campesinos paraguayos de su lengua guaraní jopara (es decir entreverado) que presenta tanto interferencias como alternancias de códigos lingüísticos. Gracias a un trabajo de campo realizado en guaraní, analizaremos los distintos significados de la palabra jopara en la vida cotidiana de los campesinos porque remite tanto a mezclas de plantas como de comidas y personas. Alejandra Bottinelli Wolleter (Universidad de Chile, Santiago) Construir un sujeto, ensayar una nación: letrados, racismo y poder en el sur americano El trabajo propone una mirada crítica acerca de las formulaciones que algunos intelectuales sudamericanos, en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX (Sarmiento, Alberdi, Vicuña Mackenna) y primeros decenios del XX (Palacios, Encina), realizan en relación con la definición de la identidad nacional (Larraín 2001), en el entendido que dichos planteamientos se han desarrollado como discursos autoidentificatorios culturalmente hegemónicos (Laclau, 2000), perfilando los contornos de lo que los imaginarios nacionales reproducen como definiciones de la esencia de lo nacional. Interesa evidenciar la correlación entre los conflictivos procesos de construcción identitaria de las naciones latinoamericanas, los imperativos del 5

6 desarrollo capitalista y la construcción de discursos etnocentristas, racistas y progresivamente xenofóbicos por parte de los sectores intelectuales dirigentes. El trabajo intentará, específicamente, la construcción de una genealogía latinoamericana del discurso racista, perfilando el particular desarrollo que este discurso discriminador y excluyente ha mostrado en América Latina, debido sobre todo a la influencia que aquí ha tenido la ideología desarrollista -como falacia desarrollista- para la cual el desarrollo que siguió Europa deberá ser seguido unilinealmente por toda otra cultura (Dussel 1994: 19). Se sostiene que a partir de esta matriz cultural eurocentrada los sectores nacionales dirigentes habrían (re)formulado la idea de raza tanto para justificar las políticas de exclusión y de exterminio de los indígenas, como para deshistorizar las asimetrías estructurales de estas sociedades promoviendo una integración subordinada de sus miembros. Para evidenciar a la vez las alternativas deconstructoras de la matriz racista entre nuestros letrados, el trabajo tendrá en cuenta las formulaciones críticas de intelectuales latinoamericanos como Manuel González Prada, José Carlos Mariátegui, Francisco Bilbao y Alejandro Lipschutz acerca de la operatoria del discurso racista en Latinoamérica. El análisis será realizado privilegiando la noción de discurso proporcionada por Foucault (1966, 1985), como construcción de poder que en su circulación construye y reconstruye las interpretaciones legítimas sobre lo social. Muy útil nos serán, a la vez, las herramientas proporcionadas por el método de la deconstrucción derridiana (Derrida, 1967) especialmente para intentar la desarticulación de la retórica binaria del racialismo y visibilizar los engranajes de esta operatoria en la lucha por el poder interpretativo. Christian Büschges (Bielefeld University) Tolerancia versus segregación? Relaciones interétnicas y políticas de etnicidad en Brazil, Hispanomérica y los Estados Unidos entre régimen colonial y estado-nación Partiendo de una crítica del tópico de una tolerancia racial en el Brasil independiente, elaborado originariamente por Gilberto Freyre y defendido por varios autores a lo largo del siglo XX, la ponencia analiza las políticas que tanto los regímenes coloniales como los estados independientes desarrollaron frente a la diversidad étnica de las sociedades americanas. Desde una perspectiva comparativa se analizan los diferentes argumentos que se han empleado en la historiografía para poner de relieve el supuesto carácter particular de la sociedad brasileña frente a otras sociedades coloniales y poscoloniales como son los Estados Unidos o Africa del Sur. Extendiendo la discusión al caso de las sociedades hispanoamericanas, se discute sobre todo la relevancia del fenómeno de mestizaje que ha servido a gran parte de la historiografía para acentuar diferencias en el desarrollo de las relaciones sociales y las políticas de etnicidad (o de raza) entre los respectivos países. 6

7 Gerardo Chacón (Quito) Demandas y plíticas transversales de multiculuralidad, e intercultralidad en el Ecuador El Ecuador es un paìs megadiverso. Posee una extraordinaria biodiversidad en diferentes especies vegetales y animales. Las islas Galápagos, la costa del Pacìfico, los altos Andes, con su coloso Chimborazo de mas de 6000 metros de altura y, la selva amazònica, constituyen un habitat sumamente variado, que permite un ecosistema adecuado para la existencia plural de toda clase de seres vivos. Los humanos, no son la excepción. El paìs està poblado por màs de 14 nacionalidades y 24 pueblos originarios, cada una de los cuales ha desarrollado su propia cultura, desde cientos o miles de años antes de la conquista incàsica e hispana. Siendo la conquista y la colonia un acontecimiento històrico que atravesò la historia del paìs, con sus traumas de dominaciòn, desvalorización y destrucción cultural, la emergencia de la rebelión como acto de recuperaciòn de la dignidad humana oprimida, ha pasado por las etapas de resistencia, levantamiento, luchas de la independencia, organización y participación polìtica con demandas de creación de un Estado Plurinacional y Pluricultural. Esta propuesta es, consecuentemente, un postulado de creación de las condiciones de posibilidad de una sociedad intercultural en la que todos los ciudadanos puedan participar activamente en la construcciòn de este modelo social y polìtico ùnico y diverso. Gisella Díaz Azofeifa (Universidad de Costa Rica, San José) Pueblos Indígenas en Costa Rica y políticas de reconocimiento: una aproximación crítica al paradigma del multiculturalismo El pueblo indígena de Térraba es considerado como uno de los pueblos más transculturados de Costa Rica. Hoy en día, la comunidad indígena de Térraba enfrenta importantes desafíos que ponen en riesgo la continuidad étnica de ese pueblo. De ahí que en los últimos años, las y los indígenas térrabas han iniciado un proceso de revitalización de la cultura y la identidad indígena que ha dado lugar a interesantes procesos de etnogénesis. A partir de un estudio sobre la organización política en esta comunidad, se pone de manifiesto por un lado la complementariedad entre la organización tradicional indígena y la organización comunal establecida por la legislación nacional bajo la figura de la Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Indígena Térraba (ADIIT), así como las relaciones interétnicas entre el Estado costarricense y el Pueblo Indígena. La etnicidad se ha convertido en un eje central de la organización política de térraba, dejando al descubierto las debilidades del sistema de representación y participación política del sistema político costarricense. 7

8 Thomas Doerfler (Bayreuth University) After Multiculturalism: The Dead Ends of Culturalism It is a commonplace nowadays that we have to challenge (neo-)colonialism, imperialism or racism, as they are a thread for civil societies and respectful social relations. But among an emancipation-oriented left there is no shared perspective how to challenge it, as the fierce debates among post-colonialists, anti-empireactivists or Foucault-inspired Critical Studies show. Thereby the limitations of multiculturalism as a left theory got obvious: to make the subaltern speak (Spivak 1994) only adds new narrations to the discourses of power, as we might know they are underprivileged, but resign to change this fundamentally. This problem converges with the limits of postmodernism as a once critical perspective: both fail to promote a positive order that could e.g. ensure the rights of the others as this may only be a western grand recit (Lyotard 1979). Moreover, in deconstructing the hegemonic discourses multiculturalism affirms the western narration of reason and rationality as it has to rely on them necessarily to make the points. What should be discussed therefore is how to overcome the intrinsic dead end of this political stance: that the other is used as an object of my own (western, deconstructive) ideology, let him/her be enriching, altered or othered : it is the western grand recit of universality (one theory of differentiation/deconstruction for all the cultural identities around the globe) that marks the ideological trap here, as these theories reject any universal entitlement except the universal stance of multiculturalism itself. Although this is not a completely new critique (e.g. Ahmad 1995) I would like to add a perspective based on Lacanian psychoanalysis: What about, when the subaltern is a mere western (libidinal, suppressed) object of desire that tells us more about ourselves than about the other? What about, when the culturalization of the other is only a sublime way to avoid the reality of class struggle, social injustice or globalization? And finally, what if the subject is not dead but the only way to ensure diversity, as postmodernism is fundamentally rooted in a profound misreading of Lacanian psychoanalysis itself (Žižek 2002, 2005)? Sheri Dorn-Giarmoleo (Claremont) How Is a Multicultural Student Transformed into a Multicapital Prototype? To begin to identify what cultural capital is according to Bourdieu, it is necessary to put in the forefront of my mind, my own complicity, conscious and unconscious, as victim and perpetrator in this process. I am a social product of the relationship between the three possible representations of Bourdieu s cultural capital: the embodied state, the long term mind and body manifestations of acquisition; a kind of personal marketing strategy of new and improved. As an educator in an educational system that reproduces the cultural divisions of society; manipulated by the principle of equivalence used as a foundation for rigid hierarchies and ferocious inequalities, I am manipulated and manipulative. I contribute to the production of an education to enlighten students to value their multicultural lives while I recognize their desire to 8

9 learn is driven by the social infection of class ascension not social transformation. Capital is delighted to pit one social group against another, each clamoring for their own justice, their own greater part of what is designed to deny unless you transform yourself into looking like what is marketable. Ethnic histories are harbored for panorama boxes in museums not to be respected on the street. Education is enlightenment and it is also designed to indoctrinate a human being to embrace the invisible violence of capital. Education may be viewed as a way to transform an individual s habitus reconstituting ones social reality as a social reproduction of a specific intended reality. One is a product of social capital to be transformed into another form of a social kinship. It is in this process that educational opportunity as we think of it may not be an opportunity at all but a set up for a disintegration of ones own social reality. The lure is material gain, a personal inflation, to be more than where you are from, at what price? Isabel Durán (Universidad Complutense, Madrid) A Transatlantic Approach to Chicano/a Lifewriting At stake in ethnic life-writing studies is the question of the subject as individual self, and as the product of social and ideological forces. That is, is one subjected to a group identity over which one has no autonomous control, or is the ethnic self, as an individual, also constituted by multiple differences within and from itself? In my attempt to show how a poetics of differences may accommodate a recognition of the effects of group consciousness in the production of the autobiographical self, as much as the specificity and the possible agency of that self, I will share with the audience my experience with teaching Chicano Life-writing in Spain. And it is there; in the paedagogical field, that I can perhaps bring some unexplored insights, because I bring into my teaching the comparativist insight of the outsider. I will follow two comparative lines in my analysis of four particular works; one generic approach which will deal with Chicano autobiography as part of the Western literary tradition of life-writing (focusing on works by Richard Wright and Luis Rodriguez), and a second one which will deal with Chicano Life-writing as one of the many voices that compose American Autobiography (focusing on works by Oscar Zeta Acosta and Paul Monette). Liamar Durán Almarza (Universidad de Oviedo) Dominicans from Here and There : Transcultural Ethnicity on Stage The Dominican-American community in New York is perhaps one of the best examples of how processes of transculturation are affecting traditional definitions of ethnic identity in the Americas. Given the intense economic, social and cultural transnational exchanges between the island and the US from the 1960s, Dominicanyorks have been challenging the illusion of homogeneity in the definition of Dominicanness for decades, creating a transnational social space that transcends traditional national border lines. 9

10 The theatrical works of Josefina Báez, a Dominican-American performer living in New York, and Sherezada (Chiqui) Vicioso, a Dominican poet and playwright, lyrically explore issues of Diaspora, identity and migration and the impact these phenomena might have in the lives of migrant Dominican women. Presenting diasporic experiences from two differing but interconnected locales New York and Santiago de los Caballeros--, these plays offer two complementary views on how ethnicity, race, social class, age and geopolitical location interact in the formation of transcultural identities. This paper seeks to establish a comparative framework for the study of performative representations of ethnic identities in the Americas, while at the same time revealing critical linkages between cultural productions in the Caribbean and Latino/a communities in the US. Demetrius L. Eudell (Wesleyan University, Middletown) The Dialectic of the Sixties and the Counter-Reformation of Multiculturalism Despite its many transformative aspects, the social movements of the 1950s and the 1960s that took place in the United States, would have unintended consequences with tremendous implications, one of which would be that they would give rise to the current discourse of multiculturalism and hybridity. Using an archeological approach, one that excavates the intellectual foundations of this discursive formation, this presentation seeks to interrogate the epistemological ground of these discourses. It begins with an overview of the post-1776 history of the United States, central to which will be its discourse on race, a belief system that structured the social hierarchies of post-colonial U.S. society, and in whose terms, most extremely, those of African heredity descent would be represented as the lack of what it means to be fully human. This presentation aims to demonstrate that, rather than constituting a challenge to our present globally Western discourse of biocentrism (on the medieval analog of theocentrism), these discourse actually reinforce the very system of meaning that they ostensibly set out to challenge. Therefore, this interpretive framework remains woefully inadequate in dealing with the history and contemporary realities of the Black and Indigenous population groups, two of the three founding civilizations to the cultural matrix of the Americas, as both presently find themselves enduring machineries of containment; the latter on tribal reservations, while the former does so as part of the prison industrial complex. In other words, after the Sixties, whose potential remained the transformation of apartheid (and bourgeois) United States, these counter-reformational discourse have emerged, and often beyond their conscious intentions, have served to solidify these containments rather than enable their dismantling. Maren Freudenberg (Berlin) Self and Other in Chinese Canadian Literature: Identity and Belonging in Larissa Lai s When Fox is A Thousand 10

11 The paper addresses Chinese Canadian writing as a fairly young literary genre, which began emerging as a distinct field of ethnic minority literature with the publication of the anthology Many-Mouthed Birds in The paper concentrates on Larissa Lai s first novel, When Fox is A Thousand, published in A member of Vancouver s Chinese Canadian community, Lai started working for the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop in Fox explores ideas of identity, belonging and hybridity: Artemis Wong, a young Chinese Canadian woman living in Vancouver, grapples with finding a place of belonging for her racialized and marginalized self. She is racialized by white society for her Chinese background, and marginalized further both by the mainstream and Vancouver s Chinese Canadian community because she is lesbian. In the course of the novel, Lai attempts to construct alternative spaces of belonging for oppressed members of ethnic, sexual and other minorities. She argues for a diaspora of the queer, a convergence of racialized and marginalized individuals who define themselves and their identity in negation of dominant social discourse. Within this diaspora, notions of nation, ethnicity, history, self/other are scrutinized as concepts of social dominance and discrimination. Fox challenges the reader to think beyond these concepts as linear and static explanations of reality. As such, it offers a post-multicultural approach to transcending the limitations and hegemonic norms of identity, hybridity and belonging. John A. Garcia (University of Arizona, Tucson) Navigating Latino Immigrant Experiences: Racialization, Ethnic and National Identities Dynamics and Political Incorporation While the demography and, to a lesser extent, the socio-cultural fabric of American society has been transformed to a more multi-cultural society, the nature and extent of political incorporation of immigrants has been an uneven and contradictory process. In the case of the former, racialization, marginalization, and a social stratification system has served Latino immigrants, more, to distance themselves from the core of American society as a means to survive, adapt, and find their place in the American social political system. In the case of the latter, enduring American principles of equality, mobility, hard work and give me your tired, has been contradicted with the experiences of Latino immigrants in their workplace, in schools, in neighborhoods, and state and local ordinances and referendums. It is this navigation process, some enduring practices and societal modus operandi intersect with the experiences of Latino immigrants. That is, America s racial system, class stratification, language acquisition, and cultural assimilation/ acculturation processes affect the extent of incorporation for Latino immigrant. Whether it is described as segmented assimilation, cultural isolation, dual pluralism or Americanization, the attributes of the Latino immigrant him/herself, their experiences living in American and American institutions and societal values/behaviors play major roles in shaping their identification(s) and incorporation in the body politic. Thus the focus of this paper is to exam the dimensions of racial, ethnic, and national identities among Latino immigrants. Does Latino immigrant incorporate a 11

12 racialized identity after living in the U.S. and/or resist placing themselves into the American racial classification system? Is there movement toward incorporating a pan-ethnic identity at eh expenses or in addition to their own sense of national origin identity? What is the substance or basis of Latinos understanding of what it is to be American? What are the cultural determinants or factors that contribute to these developments and in what direction are their effects? How much do their institutional contacts and experiences shape this adjustment of being part of American life as members? Annick Gendre (Paris) Hybrid, Hybridity and Hybridization in Literary Criticism: A Trope? A Concept? A Tool? A Paradigm? In the postcolonial theory, the recent use of the terms hybrid, hybridization, and hybridity seems to reflect an inner conflict. On the one hand, critics aim to break with the visions and discourses peculiar to the colonial past; on the other hand, they seem to share the secret desire to certify that the colonial legacy has been overcome with no trace remaining. While some various and creative meanings resort to the adjective hybrid, the use of the noun hybridization raises some difficulties because of its significations in genetics and in molecular biology. The neologism hybridity is thus more widely used (even more than its corresponding adjective) in order to describe a quality and/or a process in progress and these uses have to be compared with the ones of some other lexemes such as mixture, multiculturalism (Saïd, Hall, Bhabha) and their translations into French, Spanish and German. As related to a metaphor as well as to a concept, hybridity has raised some cultural issues and has more rarely supported an aesthetic project (Jaina Sanga s essay about Rushdie). According to Jahan Ramazani, the metaphor of hybridity has played a central role in the definition of the hybridity s models. The use of hybridity as a textual tool, a figure of discourse without contextualization, has impoverished its meanings. Because rhetoric and poetics have sometimes developed a globalizing speech on a globalized discourse, the role of literary criticism has to be studied. Hybridity has been constantly used by criticisms in the aim of giving an account of an unseizable process. As a paradigm, hybridity implies comparative processes and the exploration of the philosophies of otherness (Alfonso De Toro and the thoughts of Felix, Guatarri and Derrida). The hybrid muse (Jahan Ramazani) can also respond to the colonial desire (Robert Young), and the dialectic of hybridity to the nomadic identity (Jochen Dubiel). To what extent does the paradigm of hybridity need to stay a hybrid paradigm? Cornelia Giebeler (University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld) Strangeness in Indigenous and Western Thought: Border Feelings from Inside Out and Outside In, Developed in a Biographical Case Study with a Female Spiritual Healer and Her Surroundings in the So-Called Matriarchal Zapotec City of Juchitán de Zaragoza/México. 12

13 Strangeness can be seen as a concept, which is used on all levels of society organization including the feelings of people in recognizing borders between human beings, groups, institutions or nations. Ten years before there has begun a new discussion about epistemological differences between Latin American thinking and the so called Western Thought, creating and discovering another border between cosmovisions reflecting the historical lines of Pre-Columbian scienceconstructions. In this contribution, I ll discuss the concept of strangeness in the constructing process of border lining in intra- and inter- individual and group processes, reflecting the multiplicity of borders and methods of dealing with borderlines but also reflecting the meaning of the term borders in relation to strangeness. The European idea of individual development and the construction of I and self is very close to concepts of bonding, belonging and strangeness. Ethnicized communities are often denying this concept, proposing constructions of a we from the beginning to the end of life and denying the paradigmatic difference of western educational and psychological science between a me and the others. In processes of identity constructions under conditions of processes called "hybridity, creolization, melange, global flows, re- and de-territorialization the concept of bonding and strangeness may be helpful to analyze identity buildings in the process of integration and de-integration of the Americas. Strangeness discourses appear in psychoanalytical, phenomenological and interactionist theories represented, for example, by Waldenfels, Erdheim or Znaniecki. Strangeness in my point of view is a concept used on all levels of society organization to describe borders, including people s feelings in recognizing borders among human beings, groups, institutions or nations. In my contribution, I ll discuss borders in epistemological thought and certain circumstances to overcome borders of thought in everyday life. My interest is also to figure out how invisible border lines or the appearance of strangeness works in the organization of everyday life. The example will be one of my case studies on the organization of conflictive everyday life in the so-called matriarchal society of Juchitán. The case study deals with the coming out of a Zapotec woman as a spiritual healer. With this example from my biographical and fieldwork material about spiritual healings in Juchitán de Zaragoza en México, I will discuss the gendered healing system in the Zapotec world and the doing gender process in a women-dominated society. Margarita, one of the famous, but nevertheless undercover-working spiritual healers at least got the help of her husband, who left his well-paid work in the oil industry for the healing processes of his wife. Astrid Haas (Bielefeld University) The Calculus of Literacy: Jaime Escalante, Richard Rodríguez, and the Latina/o Education Debate between Assimilation and Multiculturalism The Mexican American writer Richard Rodríguez and the now retired Bolivian mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante are two of the most significant figures in the public discourses about the situation of Latina/os in the United States educational 13

14 system. Their position vis-à-vis Latina/o education and the educational approaches they have come to represent have crucially informed the educational political debates about affirmative action and bilingual education in the 1980s and 90s far beyond educational political circles and the Latina/o community at issue. Rodríguez became famous for his autobiography Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1981), an account of his journey from being the monolingual Spanish-speaking child of working-class Mexican immigrants to becoming a fully assimilated American academic and English-language writer. While receiving widespread critical acclaim, the book also stirred controversy, especially among Latina/o intellectuals and educators, as Rodríguez advocated Latina/o linguistic and cultural assimilation to Anglo-American educational norms and fiercely rejected both bilingual education and affirmative action. Escalante gained distinction for developing an advanced mathematics program for poor minority students in the California public school system from Up to this date, he is further recognized for fostering Latina/o self-esteem based upon a sense of ethnic identity within the multicultural nation and the value of academic education among Latina/o communities. His story was brought to a larger public through the now already classic semi-documentary film Stand and Deliver (1988). The paper will look at Hunger of Memory and Stand and Deliver in the context of the recent public discourses on Latina/o in the U.S. educational system. A particular focus will be on their depiction of Latina/o identity formation through education in its situatedness between cultural assimilation, the endorsement of multiculturalism, and ethnic identity politics. Going beyond these texts, the presentation will further examine how Rodríguez and Escalante have become public actors, even icons of opposing political positions, in the ensuing controversies over bilingual education, affirmative action, the ideal of multiculturalism, and Latina/o identity politics. Jonathan Hart (University of Alberta, Edmonton) From Vitoria to Obama: Literature, Law, History and a Hope Beyond Race in the Americas How do literature, film, art, music, and the media engage in discussions of (post) multiculturalism, cultural hybridity, belonging, and intercultural conflict in the Americas? The early modern and the post modern have some important points in common about hybridity and attempts to secure the rights of indigenous peoples and those who were not Christians. In this paper I would like to discuss a tradition in literature, law, history and other accounts of a notion that European power, religion, politics, culture or race did not allow Europeans to claim the New World or Americas. Francisco de Vitoria, a Dominican of Jewish converso ancestry who studied and lectured at the University of Paris, became chair of theology at Salamanca in Vitoria questioned the right of the Pope to set our donations of the lands of the New World. The peoples there had the right to their lands and rulers. Bartolomé de las Casas, Jean de Léry and Michel de Montaigne are others who questioned European cultural superiority. Natives themselves were go-betweens or mediators, like La Malinche, Squanto (Tisqantum), Pocahontas and Etienne Brulé. They raised suspicion but also the possibility of new cultures and hybrids in the Americas. The 14

15 issue of slavery and civil disobedience or reform were raised by people of European, Native and African descent like "El Inca" Garcilaso de la Vega, Phyllis Wheatley, Thoreau, Lincoln, Mary Prince, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Louis Riel, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Obama and others. The issue of other the Americas from another or alternative point of view that came before multiculturalism and may be there as a utopian vision beyond multiculturalism (but that has benefited from it) is the subject of this paper. Barack Obama, who has an audacity of hope, comes from such a tradition of being between cultures and his attempt to recognize race in order to get beyond it is a key to future success in the Americas and in the world. The last part of the paper will place Obama in this context. Markus Heide (Humboldt-University, Berlin) Cosmopolitanism in the Americas: Theories and Cultural Practice Beyond the National and the Ethnic? The paper examines the potential of different notions of cosmopolitanism to go beyond the politics of multiculturalism, identity politics and ethnic affiliations. Controversies over issues such as migration, national borders and human rights have inspired a renewed debate about the Enlightenment concept of world citizenship. As a heterogeneous and contradictory discourse of cultural and political forms of affiliation and belonging beyond the modalities of the nation-state, cosmopolitanism has championed a universal human community, marked (in the Kantian sense) by trade and perpetual peace, while signifying (in its Marxian sense) a necessary stage of global capitalist production. Thus, cosmopolitanism has historically been caught between an idealist philosophy of national and cultural transcendence and a materialist assessment of commodity and identity production. In the context of debates on globalization and transnational cultural studies, a number of scholars have made use of cosmopolitanism as a philosophical, cultural and political framework, first, for countering traditional nationalisms (e.g. Julia Kristeva) and, second, for providing a critical addition to the notion of globalization as primarily the borderless flow of capital and the subsequent economically-driven homogenization of the globe (e.g. Anthony Appiah, Ulrich Beck). For these authors, cosmopolitanism contains a utopian potential that is helpful and useful in a world of increasing economic and cultural interconnectedness and mobility. From a normative point of view, David Held considers it the governing ideal of a liberal notion of global democracy. More critically, Sheldon Pollock et al. emphasize that cosmopolitanism not only goes beyond the territorial imagination of 19 th- and 20 th -century nationalisms in the philosophical context of the European Enlightenment, but that it is just as much part and expression of multiple experiences of minoritarian modernity as these have emerged from European expansion, colonialism and modern globalization. The paper will examine different notions and theories of cosmopolitanism such as Revolutionary Cosmopolitanism, minoritarian and enforced cosmopolitanism, aesthetic cosmopolitanism, expansionist/imperial cosmopolitanism, activist cosmopolitanism and will contextualize them in the history (and present state) of the Americas. 15

16 Jürgen Heinrichs (Seton Hall University, South Orange) Can we? Representations and Realties of Social and Political Change in U.S.-American Visual Culture I propose to present a paper that explores Barack Obama s rapid political ascent to the presidency of the United States as seen through the lens of media representations and contemporary art practice. In particular, my project charts how art, media, and visual culture functioned to advance and to augment a discourse of change at the center of the Obama/Biden campaign. Unlike previous presidential campaigns, Obama s race heavily relied on visual representations, logos, and pictorial formulas that, in turn, drew from American art and popular culture. For instance, posters and buttons featuring the letters HOPE appropriated American artist Robert Indiana s iconic LOVE prints and sculptures of the 1960s. Close analysis of such representations traces how the campaign utilized art and visual culture to promote political positions. Conjuring up notions of a supposedly multicultural, post-racial social and political order, visual culture played a key role in the success of Obama s campaign. However, critical examination of these visual strategies reveals a wide gap between visual promise and political realities. Thus, my close analysis of visuals associated with Obama s rise to the presidency reveals that change largely remains the function of a lofty visual rhetoric, whereas sameness continues to govern the political and economic realities on the ground. Rüdiger Heinze (Technical University, Braunschweig) Gazpacho & Tomato Soup: Personal Identity, Communal Belonging and (Trans)National Integration in (Post)Multicultural U.S.-American Literature In a recent New York Times review of Jhumpa Lahiri s latest book, a collection of short stories called Unaccustomed Earth, the author writes that except for their names, many of the protagonists of these stories could evoke any American s childhood, that the generational conflicts cut across national lines, and that this tussle has gone on ever since men and women lived in caves. In a similarly universalizing move, Nam Le s short story Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice pits the marketing demands for hot ethnic literature against Faulkner s advice to write about these grand and universal themes rather than special interest issues such as ethnicity and multiculturalism. Both the review and the short narrative capture a pertinent universalizing but post-essentialist moment in current debates around cultural identity and belonging in a host of disciplines, usually accompanied by some prefix such as trans- or post- : the (rediscovered) ideas of a rooted yet universal cosmopolitanism (Appiah 2006), a planetary yet agential perspective that allows for a new view on sameness and difference (Gilroy 2005), the emphasis on the transnational affiliations between local identities (Levitt and Waters 2002), or an insistence that the global is always also local, and vice versa (Appadurai 2001). 16

17 However, many so called multicultural literary narratives about personal identity, communal belonging and (trans)national integration in the United States probe the dissonant tensions between ideals of identity politics and efforts to create a heterogeneous multicultural stage (Altieri 1998) rather than enthusiastically promoting and embracing cultural convergence, thus echoing Walter Benn Michaels admonition against the replacement of the discourse of ideology by the discourse of ontology (Michaels 2004). My talk will examine a larger number of (U.S.) multicultural literary narratives across a broad spectrum of ethnicities (from the Americas, but also from Asia and Europe, for example Chávez s Last of the Menu Girls, Castillo s So Far From God, Islas Migrant Souls, but also Lahiri s and Le s short stories or Eugenides s Middlesex) and attempt an overview and typology of the different kinds of (post)multicultural representations and stories of identity and cultural belonging. Maria Herrera-Sobek (University of California, Santa Barbara) Barbed Wire Iconography in Chicano/A Art: Aesthetic Activism Against the Drive to Stop Multiculturalism at the Border Multiculturalism is a fact of life whether one is supportive of its tenets or against them. We inhabit a global society and economy where mass migrations of peoples across Europe and the Americas, as well as other parts of the world, has taken place at an accelerated rate in the second half of the 20 th century and the first decade of the 21 st century. Mass migrations from Mexico and Latin America to the United States, in particular, have transformed the face of the receiving country. This tremendous increase in the Latino population (approximately 45 million to date) has produced a backlash against Latino immigrants and against a resultant multicultural society. It has led to stringent immigration policies such as the building of a controversial 700-mile wall on the US- Mexican border as well as spawned English-Only movements. In addition, there has been an increase of violence against Latinos in the USA. My study explores issues related to immigration and multiculturalism with its main focus on the response by Chicano/a artists to the anti Mexican immigrant sentiment surfacing in many parts of the United States. This response has taken the form of a series of paintings where barbed wire appears repeatedly as a prominent iconic motif in the pictorial narrative of the artistic work. The iconic use of barbed wire can be translated as an effective semiotic sign of social protest representing the well-known phrase: man s inhumanity to man. It is a metaphor for pain, suffering, and social injustice. My presentation examines how Chicana/o artists are engaged in the theoretical paradigm I have proposed and denominated as aesthetic activism against those who wish to curtail Mexican/Latino immigration and a multicultural society in the United States. 17

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