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CFP: "Wrestling with Violence: the Performance of Violence in Latin American and Latino Letters, Theater, Film, and Popular Culture"

This critical volume seeks to explore the deployment and performance of violence in contemporary Latin American and Latino narrative fiction, theater, cinema, sports and other forms of popular culture. In recent years there have been some important explorations of the manifestations of violence in Latin American letters, including Diana Taylor’s Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina's "Dirty War" (1998) Daniel Goldstein’s The Spectacular City: Performance and Violence in Bolivia (2004), Idelber Avelar’s The Letter of Violence. Esays on Narrative, Ethics and Politics (2005), as well as an important and substantial body of work on violence and trauma in testimonial fictions, memoirs and films. Our volume proposes to build on the critical and theoretical grounding provided by these earlier studies by creating a space for considering the production and reception of violence across a broad and varied spectrum of genres, media and public spaces, with special consideration to cultural and literary productions and performances in the new millennium.

Outside of Latin America, the representation and/or the performance of violence in art and popular culture has been heatedly debated by philosophers, anthropologists and critics from outside of Latin America as well. In the past two decades, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Paul Virilio and Slavoj Zizek have been only some of the better known theorists to engage in complex and diverse critiques violence. Along with other thinkers, social critics and bioethicists, these critics have responded to the seemingly unstoppable presence of visual, audio and textual violence in our midst by theorizing the ways in which the mechanisms of violence can be and have been mobilized so as to produce particular social, political, and textual effects. While Virilio decries the “spectacularization” of violence and issues a clear condemnation of all violence-inflected art and culture, theorists at the other end of the philosophical-sociological spectrum argue that the performance –textual, graphic, theatrical--of various kind of violence can have liberating or cathartic effects. We trust that collaborators interested in participating in this volume will engage some of the questions that drive these critical debates. We welcome all critical approaches to the analysis of textual, visual or performative violence, including those centered on psychoanalysis, philosophy, cultural studies, queer and gender studies, critical race studies, diasporas and transnational studies, film studies and contemporary pop culture studies.

Thematic considerations may include but are not limited to:

*The aestheticization or representation of violence in Latin American and Latino narratives and theater (e.g., Argentine fiction on the Malvina’s War, Mexican and Latino literary interpretations of the Juárez killings; narco (sub) cultures; the role of violence in women-authored fiction and theater).

*The spectacle of violence in Latin American film and Latino films, photography and performance art.

*Boxing and Wrestling as performance (e.g. the ring as a space for the enactment of justice, equality, retribution and empowerment, attributes and values absent beyond the ropes; the prominence of boxing/wrestling in contemporary Mexican and Latino novels and plays --e.g., Palau’s Casa de la magnolia or Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity; the glamorization and commercialization of violence in popular Latin American and Latino cultures or in US-produced shows featuring Latin(o)-style sex and violence (e.g., Lucha Va Voom: Sexo y violencia).

* Martial arts and the highly disciplined body (masculinity and containment). Issues of manhood, masculinity and violence.

Please send an abstract of 300-500 words to Paola Ehrmantraut (ehrm7444@stthomas.edu) or Dianna Niebylski (dcn@uic.edu) by April 5, 2010. If your proposal is accepted, we will expect your finished essay by August 20, 2010.

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