Numer 13 (2/2020)
One World: The Americas Everywhere
Redaktorzy: Gabriela Vargas-Cetina, Manpreet Kaur Kang


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Paweł Jędrzejko
Translocality/ Methodology. The Americas, or Experiencing the World
DOI: https://doi.org/ 10.31261/rias.10013
5 – 13
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critical studies | American Studies today | decolonization | translocality | indigenous methodologies

Streszczenie

The Americas offer a peculiar stage for translocal methodologies. If we agree that the products of Chinese American culture—which, in the course of the last 170 years of interaction, has evolved into a unique, American, phenomenon—can not be labeled as “Made in China,” then contemporary Chinese medicine in the Americas cannot legitimately be perceived solely as an ‘import.’ Beyond doubt, phenomena such as the emergence of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the California Institute of Integral Studies testify to the fact that the once ‘exotic’ forms of therapy are now being granted a status parallel to those developed throughout the history of Western medicine. Increasingly, as translocal, they are becoming recognized as non-foreign elements of the glocal culture. Similarly, the exploration of the physical world, which, to an experienced dancer of Bharatanatyam, Odissi, or any other of the dominant forms of the classical Indian dance is an obvious function of his or her own experience of the ‘body-in-the-world,’ has, translocally, opened up an altogether new space of profound understanding of ourselves in our environment. It is not about the fashionable, politically correct, ‘openness to other cultures’; it is about the opening up to a parallel meditative experience of the “bodymind,” which neither excludes nor isolates the sphere of emotions from the reality of what-is-being-experienced. Or, to express it in terms more easily comprehensible to a Western reader, dance may prove to be a methodology (not just a method) serving the purpose of a more profound understanding of the complexity and unity of the universe, and a language to express this understanding. Making the most of available traditions might produce much greater benefits than remaining locked within just one, Western, Anglonormative, library of concepts. In the context of the ongoing debate on transnational American Studies, the article offers an insight into how the worldwide studies of the Americas and translocality intersect, and how such a perspective may contribute to the multifaceted process of the decolonization, understood both literally and intellectually.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach

Manuel Broncano Rodríguez
Presidential Address: 9th IASA World Congress. Alcalá de Henares, July 8-10 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9994
15 – 27
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Gabriela Vargas-Cetina,
Manpreet Kaur Kang
Cosmopolitanism, Translocality, Astronoetics: A Multi-Local Vantage Viewpoint (Introduction)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9804
29 – 38
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translocality | Transnationalism | Americas

Streszczenie

The world in which we live is crisscrossed by multiple flows of people, information, non-human life, travel circuits and goods. At least since the Sixteenth Century, the Americas have received and generated new social, cultural and product trends. As we see through the case studies presented here, modern literature and dance, the industrialization of food and the race to space cannot be historicized without considering the role the Americas, and particularly the United States, have played in all of them. We also see, at the same time, how these flows of thought, art, science and products emerged from sources outside the Americas to then take root in and beyond the United States. The authors in this special volume are devising conceptual tools to analyze this multiplicity across continents and also at the level of particular nations and localities. Concepts such as cosmopolitanism, translocality and astronoetics are brought to shed light on these complex crossings, giving us new ways to look at the intricacy of these distance-crossing flows. India, perhaps surprisingly, emerges as an important cultural interlocutor, beginning with the idealized, imagined versions of Indian spirituality that fueled the romanticism of the New England Transcendentalists, to the importance of Indian dance pioneers in the world stage during the first part of the twentieth century and the current importance of India as a player in the race to space. 


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Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Meksyk
Manpreet Kaur Kang
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University New Delhi, Indie
Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
India and the Translocal Modern Dance Scene, 1890s–1950s
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9805
39 – 59
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America | India | Dance | Modern Dance | translocality

Streszczenie

At the end of the nineteenth century and during the first half of the twentieth, lead dancers from different countries became famous and toured internationally. These dancers—and the companies they created—transformed various dance forms into performances fit for the larger world of art music, ballet, and opera circuits. They adapted ballet to the variety-show formats and its audiences. Drawing on shared philosophical ideas—such as those manifest in the works of the Transcendentalists or in the writings of Nietzsche and Wagner—and from movement techniques, such as ballet codes, the Delsarte method, and, later on, Eurythmics (in fashion at the time), these lead dancers created new dance formats, choreographies, and styles, from which many of today’s classical, folk, and ballet schools emerged. In this essay, I look at how Rabindranath Tagore, Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, Uday Shankar, Leila Roy Sokhey and Rumini Devi Arundale contributed to this translocal dance scene. Indian dance and spirituality, as well as famous Indian dancers, were an integral part of what at the time was known as the international modern dance scene. This transnational scene eventually coalesced into several separate schools, including what today is known as classical and modern Indian dance styles.


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Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Meksyk
Manpreet Kaur Kang
Bharatanatyam as a Transnational and Translocal Connection: A Study of Selected Indian and American Texts
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9884
61 – 86
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Dance | Bharatanatyam | Transnationalism | Indian American

Streszczenie

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form derived from ancient dance styles, which is now seen as representative of Indian culture. In India, it is the most popular classical dance form exerting a great impact not only on the field of dance itself, but also on other art forms, like sculpture or painting. The Indian-American diaspora practices it both in an attempt to preserve its culture and as an assertion of its cultural identity. Dance is an art form that relates to sequences of body movements that are simultaneously aesthetic and symbolic, and rooted in specific cultures. It often tells a story. Different cultures observe different norms and standards by which dances should be performed (as well as by whom they should be performed and on what occasions). At the same time, dance and dancers influence (and are influenced by) different cultures as a result of transcultural interactions. Priya Srinivasan’s Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor is a particularly valuable source wherein its author critically examines a variety of Indian dance forms, especially Bharatanatyam, tracing the history of dance as well as the lived experience of dancers across time, class, gender, and culture. With the help of this text, selected journal articles, and interviews with Bharatanatyam dancers in India and the US, I explore larger issues of gender, identity, culture, race, region, nation, and power dynamics inherent in the practice of Bharatanatyam, focusing on how these practices influence and, in turn, are influenced by transnational and translocal connections.  


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Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University New Delhi, Indie
Albena Bakratcheva
‘Higher Laws’ and ‘Divine Madness’: Transnational and Translocal Configurations of Quixotic In/Sanity in the American Renaissance
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9827
87 – 101
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Transnationalism | transcendentalism | Quixotism

Streszczenie

The New England Transcendentalists deliberately chose a position which by definition did not belong to what was to them the common “prosaic mood” (Thoreau) of their time. Their choice was the result of representatively romantic discontent with their contemporary reality and, at the same time, through the vigorous drive of the Puritan spiritual leadership, it was essentially anachronistic. The sophisticated delight of identifying with such a doubly anomalous nonconformist ideal only intensified the need for counterbalancing the prosaic sanity of the real world with a wished-for poetic insanity, or “madness from the gods” (Emerson). Such “madness by romantic identification” whose “features have been fixed once and for all by Cervantes” (Foucault), naturally caused “Quixotic confusion” between reality and imagination and the substitution of the true with the fabulous. Though peculiarly intensified in the former Puritan context and in the context of ‘Americanness’ in which the nineteenth century New England intellectuals placed it, the problem was far from being merely a local, New England-centered, phenomenon. This paper argues that in their ‘in/sane’ Quixotic quest for perfection, which caused a series of personal failures, the New England Transcendentalists were remarkably faithful saunterers in a blessed place that, to them, was both America and, at the same time, the all-encompassing perennial—translocal and transnational—world, inviting them to establish what Emerson called “an original relation to the universe.”


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New Bulgarian University
Steffan Igor Ayora-Díaz
Food, Technology and Translocal Transformations of Taste: Industrial and Processed Food in Yucatán
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9806
103 – 121
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food | technology | translocality | Taste | processed food

Streszczenie

Translocality as originally used by Arjun Appadurai was an evocative concept that appealed immediately to anthropologists and others who study global-local connections. Its use has been widely adopted in religious studies, music studies, migration studies and food studies, but it has continued to be rather undefined, which makes it difficult to apply to local data. Here, from the study of local food and gastronomy in the Mexican state of Yucatán, I investigate how translocality can help us look at the global in the local and the local in the global. I propose that when it comes to studying food and gastronomy in the Yucatán, translocality can help us understand the ways in which industrialization, which became both a production model and a way of life in the United States and Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, rapidly extended to food everywhere, and Yucatecans fondly took to the consumption of industrially produced and processed foods, incorporating them into the local gastronomy. The results, in terms of taste, have been extensive but are not particular to the Yucatán, since food and gastronomy everywhere have been impacted in similar ways. However, when we analyze the changes in local dishes and preparations, we can see how ubiquitous industrialized food has become and how it has affected the particular configurations of ingredients in Yucatecan cuisine.


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Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Meksyk
Anne Warren Johnson
A Mexican Conquest of Space? Cosmopolitanism, Cosmopolitics, and Cosmopoetics in the Mexican Space Industry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9808
123 – 144
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Mexico | Outer space | Cosmopolitics | Cosmopolitanism | Social imaginary | Astronoetics

Streszczenie

Mexico cannot be considered a 'spacefaring nation,' as it does not have the capability to build or launch space crafts into orbit. However, for many engineers, scientists, students, and entrepreneurs, outer space represents an important opportunity for economic development and job creation, as well as the resolution of earthly social problems, and a means to globally position the Mexican technology sector. Although they rely on international agreements for scientific, technical, and logistical collaboration, many of these space enthusiasts allude to a “Mexican Conquest of Space,” a discursively potent term given Mexico’s colonial history. In this paper, I examine how Mexican imaginaries of outer space, tied to perceptions of past knowledge, present social issues and future projections, are limited by geopolitical realities, even as they are informed by cosmic imaginaries at various scales. I focus on the recently created Mexican Space Agency, its programs, practices, discourses and alliances, as a starting point for a Mexican astronoetics, a term coined by the philosopher Hans Blumenberg during the Space Race in an attempt to balance the centripetal and centrifugal forces exerted by outer space. From this perspective, I reflect on the ways in which being tethered to Mexico influences the possibility of being untethered to Earth.


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Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México
J.D. Schnepf
Collaborative Futures: Arts Funding and Speculative Fictions
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9995
145 – 157
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arts | art funding | speculative fiction | Trump era America | transmedial studies

Streszczenie

According to scholars of literary sociology, US arts institutions—from the federal government to the writers’ colony to the creative writing program—have been central to the shaping of US literature for the better part of a century. This paper offers a preliminary investigation of the global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter as an emerging arts institution. Drawing on Kim Stanley Robinson and Marina Abramović’s artistic collaboration as a case study, the paper argues that the appearance of the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) in Robinson’s novel New York 2140 troubles the author’s stated generic commitments to “realist speculative fiction”—fiction that bases its vision of the future on the state of things in our present. In addition to furnishing uncertain conditions of production for the novel, Kickstarter’s funding model solicits short-form speculative fiction organized around neoliberal selfhood from its artists. With the assistance of Kickstarter’s networked platform, the MAI’s capital campaign reimagined private funding as public performance art, as dutiful civic engagement, and as reward for artists willing to narrate entrepreneurial optimism.


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Uniwersytet w Groningen, Holandia
Nathaniel R. Racine
Mapping Miguel Covarrubias across Cultures and Disciplines
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9990
159 – 183
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Miguel Covarrubias | Mexican Muralism | San Francisco International Exposition | Cultural Geography

Streszczenie

In this paper, I explore the Pageant of the Pacific, a sequence of mural-maps painted by the Mexican artist and illustrator, Miguel Covarrubias, for the San Francisco International Exposition of 1939–1940. By placing these mural-maps within the larger context of cultural geography and Covarrubias’s own theories of comparative anthropology, they offer an artistic and poetic explanation of the relationships found among the cultures of the Pacific Rim, drawing connections across historical epoch and geographical region. Within Covarrubias’s own historical context, these maps provide an important visual link that crosses disciplinary boundaries, providing insight into the intellectual conversation of his era and, perhaps, providing a model for interdisciplinarity in the present age as well.


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Texas A&M International University, USA
Mena Mitrano
Between Suspicion and Love. Reality, Postcritique, and Euro-American Modernization (An Introduction to the Debate)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.10152
185 – 208
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Italian Theory | Critique and Postcritique | modernism | modernity | European-American Relations

Streszczenie

The essay introduces major tenets in the current debate on postcritique, focusing especially on the widespread rejection of symptomatic reading in literary studies and on the rejection of rupture as both a modernist and theoretical model for the conception of the new. Further, it presents theory as a phase of Euro-American modernization. Finally, it outlines a wider, more dynamic concept of critique, understood as a movement of intellectual—and geographical—displacements.


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Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Włochy
Sakina Shakil Gröppmaier
Democracy and Truth: A Short History by Sophia Rosenfeld (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.10282
209 – 214
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United States | democracy


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Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Niemcy
Elena Furlanetto
How to Hide an Empire: A Short History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.10281
215 – 220
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United States | history


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Universität Duisburg-Essen, Niemcy
Mariola Świerkot
A Worse Place Than Hell: How the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg Changed a Nation by John Matteson (A Pre-Publication Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.11029
221 – 228
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history | Civil War | Fredericksburg | Life Writing | John Matteson


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Pobierz cały numer
1 – 242
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International American
https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS
ISSN 1991-2773
Studies Association
e-ISSN 1991-2773