Numer 15 (2/2022)
Visual Stories: Latin America in Focus
Redaktorzy: German A. Duarte, Justin Michael Battin
Spis treści
Strony
Pobierz
Paweł Jędrzejko
Snapshots: On the Value of Photo/Sensitivity
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.15001
5 – 18
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photography |literary theory |cultural theory |epistemology |Robert Cushman Murphy |Nantucket Sleigh Ride

Streszczenie

The article offers an comparative insight into two, parallel, narratives concerning a nautical event: one visual, and one verbal.  The argument is based on the juxtaposition of Robert Cushman Murphy's photographic rendition of the so-called Nantucket sleigh ride (the stage of a whale hunt, in which the harpooned animal, attempting to flee his oppressors, tows the whaleboat behind him) with his description of the same phenomenon, which he included in his diary A Logbook for Grace. Whaling Brig Daisy 1912–1913 (first published only in 1947). The reflections stemming from the analysis concern the importance of the Barthesian punctum in the context of the interpretive power of the image, which, ultimately, leads to conclusions concerning the significance of emotions in the hermeneutic process of filling the spots of indeterminacy. Ultimately, the article demonstrates how, through his glass lantern images, Robert Cushman Murphy offers his audiences the “realist” truth, employing “modernist means” to “romantically” emulate the emotions.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach

German A. Duarte,
Justin Michael Battin
Latin America in Focus
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14917
19 – 23
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photography |cinema |Latin America |communicative media |television |the Americas |visual narratives |visual stories |visuality

Streszczenie

A key distinction of Review of International American Studies is its commitment to the notion that the Americas are a hemispheric and transoceanic communicating vessel. This angle provides a unique path to de-center the American Studies discipline, which has become tantamount to studies of the United States. This angle also expands the discipline beyond its traditional literary roots, inviting critical investigations into other forms of communicative media, such as cinema, television, and photography. Informed and inspired by this conceptualization of the discipline, this issue of RIAS is composed of several pieces specifically focused on Latin America, each of which employs a unique interpretive approach of visual media to, collectively and comprehensively, articulate how this multilayered cultural landscape manifests in our contemporary social imaginary.

The arbitrary delineation of the globe through the notion of ‘the western world’ has, seemingly, transformed the Latin American continent a no man’s land. In its vast extension, this part of the planet seems condemned to exist between two worlds. Despite being part of the western hemisphere, and despite its deep Catholic tradition, this vast region is surprisingly excluded as a member of ‘the west.’ Yet, it was neither placed in ‘the east,’ nor on the other side of the wall, when the world was politically, culturally, and economically divided by the Iron Curtain. This land’s perpetual homelessness might be due to its consistent political instability, to the weakness of some of its democracies, or even its colonial past, one that bears no relation to the Commonwealth of Britain, a belonging that placed Australia in the topos of the West. These reasons, in addition to others, have fostered an understanding of Latin America as being generally alien to the ‘western world.’

Being a no man’s land, deprived of a hemisphere, and broadly unintelligible by the general imaginary of the western cultural industry, this continent, populated by almost 700-million people, was traditionally subjected to stereotypes formulated during the twentieth century, and that remained unchangeable in this new millennium. Latin America has become, for the global imaginary, a place of military juntas, a vast lowland displaying desertic features, a tropical yet savage jungle, a poverty-stricken favela, and a land fought over by romantic revolutionarios.

Certainly, the question remains if the obsolete model ‘western world,’ the also obsolete ‘third world,’ or ‘periphery,’ and even the in vogue ‘global south’ would be able to embrace and reproduce a closer image of this heterogenous and vast continent, and by extension if this generalization is able to denote a set of multiple series of social diversities. We doubt it. This doubt encouraged us to gather diverse scholars from diverse academic disciplines to contribute to this issue of Review of International American Studies. And this doubt, which was at a first glance only intuitive, brough us to avoid the topic of identity and representation as the main theme for this journal’s issue. Our initial plan was to structure the series of contributions on some problematics relating to the photographic medium, a medium that is widely regarded as exerting an objective representation of reality, yet also places the pictorial representation on an undetermined semiotic field. The choice of photography was also a choice of intuition that we quickly abandoned since, in our twenty-first century mediascape, photography represents only one element of a fast and global visual stream that shapes and refashions the collective imaginary of the Latin American continent. Thus, we expanded our scope to include other media such as films, paintings, and any visual-oriented human expression that could provide insights on the complex and chaotic mechanism that formulates and constructs the imaginary on the turbulent entity that we call society.


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German A. Duarte
La Libera Università di Bolzano, Włochy


Justin Michael Battin
University in Ho Chi Minh City, Wietnam

German A. Duarte,
Eva Leitolf
The Narratives of Topos: Eva Leitolf’s Deutsche Bilder – eine Spurensuche (1992–2008) and Postcards from Europe (since 2006)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14862
25 – 47
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propaganda |photography |Latin America |collective imaginaries

Streszczenie

Around the turn of the century, the notion of topos (τόπος) underwent an interesting and necessary transformation. Presumably due to the popularization of digital technology, scholars started to progressively uncover the complex nature of the word by expanding on its general meaning as it pertains to the sphere of speech. This phenomenon granted to narratives some spatial characteristics, and at the same time brought into the light an old and critical relationship between text and image. In the form of a conversation, this essay deals with this critical relationship between text and image, and the way this conflictual relationship shapes social imaginaries, propaganda, and automatisms when representing social events. The essay will address these questions through an analysis of a series of pictures that had a great impact on Latin America’s social imaginary.


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German A. Duarte
La Libera Università di Bolzano, Włochy


Eva Leitolf
La Libera Università di Bolzano, Włochy

Justin Michael Battin
Explorations on the Event of Photography: Dasein, Dwelling, and Skillful Coping in a Cuban Context
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14868
49 – 70
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Martin Heidegger |photography |Latin America |Cuba |Skillful Coping

Streszczenie

In the summer of 2016, the author traveled to Havana to begin preliminary work on an interdisciplinary visual ethnography project. While venturing primarily on foot, he took hundreds of high-resolution photographs and interviewed people at random across several localities about their daily routine, their neighborhood, and their expectations about what was to come following the [then] normalizing of relations with the United States. Of the utmost importance to this work was the special attention granted to the inhabited locale where each photograph and interview took place. This article explores these photographs through the lens of the “event of photography,” a term emphasizing the temporal moment when a photographer, photographed subject, and camera encounter one another. With this interpretation, photographs are positioned as historical documents and the practice of photography as a civil and political matter, thus inviting new possibilities to read political life through its visual dimension, as well as to trace different forms of power relations made evident during the ‘event.’ This paper uses phenomenological reflection to explore the meshwork manifestation of these power relations, and articulate how they provide insights about one’s place and responsibility within that ‘event’ in a range of relational contexts.


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University in Ho Chi Minh City, Wietnam

Gustavo Racy
Of Cannibals and Witches: Monstrosity and Capitalism at the Onset of Colonial Visual Culture
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14720
71 – 94
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monstrosity |capitalism |cannibalism |hexes |Theodor de Bry |Brazilian visual culture

Streszczenie

This article provides preliminary insight into the creation of colonial visual culture. Using visual examples, the author shows how the encounter between European and Amerindian was, at first, apparently deprived of moral judgement, later being increasingly signified through moral and physical monstrosity, especially the female body, which served as an apparatus to assure colonial dominion. Looking mostly at the works of Liègeois artist Theodor de Bry, the author shows how increasing female protagonism may have helped to coin a proper visual culture that mirrored the development of productive force in early capitalism. Assuming that the European colonizer in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was still highly informed by Medieval culture, the author quickly retraces how the New World was imagined through cartography, following to the first depictions of the Amerindian and, finally, focusing on de Bry’s work and an argument on capitalism and how visual culture may help us understand its process.


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Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgia

Laura Fattori
Remembering Violence in Matar a Jesús (2017)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14719
95 – 107
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violence |Latin America |Colombian cinema |Matar a Jesús |Laura Mora

Streszczenie

Events that are violent and traumatic in nature entail the breakdown of language and, with it, the conceptual frameworks that construct our social worlds. The inability of reason to articulate this rupture and to conventionally construct meaning implies that the reality of misery and violence can only be suggested (or formulated) through acts of narration that formally and affectively articulate memory into an imaginary. This dislocation of the event from its representation can then only be mapped through the generation and stimulation of affect – which has come to substitute reason as tool for remembering, narrating and, consequently, of mediating our reality. In the present article, the author studies the role of elements that evoke memory and generate the affective dynamics of a traumatic event. Specifically, the author explores the interactions of memory and affect in the process of narrating violence by analyzing objects of memory (such as photographs) that Paula, the protagonist of Matar a Jesús (Killing Jesus (2017) by Laura Mora), utilizes in order to articulate the story of her father’s murder. Further, she claims that the incorporation of filmmaker Laura Mora’s own personal experience as victim of violence points to the fact that the incessant necessity of reformulating trauma and stylizing misery widens the gap between reality and its representation, thus rendering violence unimaginable.

Bértold Salas-Murillo
Images to Remember: Nostalgia and Hegemonic Identities in Italia 90: The Movie
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14721
109 – 127
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Soccer |National Hero |Memory |Nostalgia |Costa Rican Cinema |Identity

Streszczenie

The reconstruction of the past and memory is examined in the feature film Italia 90: The Movie (2014) by Miguel Gómez, which depicts the first participation of a Costa Rican team in a World Cup. The analysis includes the narrative, visual, and sound operations with which the past and memory are recreated (... or created), as well as the ways in which the story involves the viewers, particularly those who remember the episode. It is explained that, although the story resorts to certain topics of sports cinema, it is presented more as an adventure of the community, which would eventually include an entire country, and favors the exploration of the intimate over the epic. Italia 90: The Movie appeals to nostalgia, through recognizable images and sounds, as well as figures anchored in the hegemonic Costa Rican imaginary (such as the “common peasant”), to narrate an episode that, in addition to being central in the history of sports in Costa Rica, it is among the events that symbolically mark the country's entry into the globalized world.


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Universidad de Costa Rica, Kostaryka

Diego H. Franco Cárdenas
Mestizaje y expresiones culturales identitarias en Latinoamérica. Una reflexión sobre el costumbrismo del siglo XIX, la música tradicional y la música pop
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14740
129 – 143
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Identity |music |Post-colonialism |Culture |Miscegenation

Streszczenie

The costumbrista illustration of the 19th century in Colombia, after independence, focused on the representation of national cultural expressions. From the iconographic analysis of two representative illustrations, made by Ramón Torres Méndez in that period of time, it is possible to identify elements that contribute to the construction of a cultural identity. The elements that make up these expressions, however, are the result of a mixture of other forms of cultural expression, namely European, American, and African. This miscegenation, always present, extends even today and can be seen in more contemporary manifestations such as pop, in particular, of which is the key focus of this article.

La ilustración costumbrista del siglo XIX en Colombia se concentró en la representación de las expresiones culturales nacionales. Desde el análisis iconográfico de dos ilustraciones representativas, realizadas por Ramón Torres Méndez en ese periodo, identificaremos elementos que sirvieron para la construcción de una identidad cultural. Los elementos que conforman dichas expresiones, sin embargo, son el resultado de una mezcla de otras formas de expresión cultural; europeas, americanas y africanas. Este mestizaje, siempre presente, se extiende hasta nuestros días y se puede apreciar en manifestaciones más contemporáneas como el pop, en particular, el movimiento del rock en español en la década de 1990.


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Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Kolumbia

Beatriz Torres Insúa
Conservación de patrimonio cultural: mueble vs. conservación fílmica
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14741
145 – 161
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Słowa kluczowe

Película 35 mm |Estado de conservación |Conservación fílmica |Objeto Fílmico |Patrimonio cultural

Streszczenie

Conservators deal with different kind of objects; nevertheless, a particular degree of specialization is needed to work with certain artifacts. Motion picture film requires determined expertise, tools, and equipment for its manipulation. Unlike other objects of cultural heritage, apprehension does not occur only by looking at the film object, but also by seeing the projected film and living the cinematographic experience. The purpose of this project was to assess the state of conservation of a film by applying the methodology used in the conservation of objects of "traditional" cultural heritage, such as graphic documents, photographs, paintings, and sculptures. The film object is titled Cine Revista Salvadoreña and belongs to the collection of the Filmoteca of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Los conservadores están preparados para tratar diferentes tipos de objetos; sin embargo, se necesita un grado de especialización particular para trabajar con determinados artefactos. Las películas cinematográficas requieren determinados conocimientos, herramientas y equipo para su manipulación. A diferencia de otros objetos del patrimonio cultural, su aprehensión no se da únicamente mirando el objeto fílmico, sino viendo la película proyectada y viviendo la experiencia cinematográfica. El propósito de este proyecto fue dictaminar el estado de conservación de una película aplicando la metodología utilizada en la conservación de objetos del patrimonio cultural "tradicional" como: documentos gráficos, fotografías, pinturas, esculturas, etc. El objeto cinematográfico se titula Cine Revista Salvadoreña y pertenece al acervo de la Filmoteca de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Lisa Marchi
To Staunchly “Remain a Reader” and build up a World Comradeship: Reflecting with Rabih Alameddine on World Literature
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.12430
163 – 185
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intimacy |world literature |cosmopolitanism |decolonial praxis |anti-authoritarianism

Streszczenie

What is a classic? To what extent are books and book collections endangered goods? What is the role and meaning of literature and translation in times of hardship? In An Unnecessary Woman (2013), Rabih Alameddine addresses these questions, while also indirectly contesting traditional canonical practices based on rigid hierarchies and the logic of national and linguistic purity. Alameddine highlights the violence inscribed in the practices of book selection and canon formation. In doing so, he troubles received notions of the canon, the classics, and especially of world literature, offering an alternative conceptualization of this long-debated category as an intimate, cosmopolitan assemblage of worldly texts.


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Università degli Studi di Trento, Włochy

Giulia Magro
From From Knight Errant to Exploring Pioneer: The Influence of Medieval Romances on the Depiction of Human and Non-Human Others in John Filson’s “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon”
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.13429
187 – 210
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Medievalism |Frontier Narratives |Early American Literature |ecocriticism

Streszczenie

This article analyzes, through a comparative approach, a frontier narrative, John Filson’s “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon” (1784), in relation to selected medieval chivalric romances from an ecocritical perspective, exploring the way in which medieval patterns have been employed in the American mythopoeic process, especially in relation to the frontier and the wilderness myths. In fact, medievalist narratives have been often employed to justify an anthropocentric, expansionist, and imperialistic agenda with grievous consequences on the way in which Americans engage with nature and with nonhuman species. At the same time, this tendency is often accompanied by an androcentric and ethnocentric rhetoric, contributing to the marginalization from dominant national discourses of significant sections of the population due to their race and gender. For this reason, attention will be also given to how attitudes toward the nonhuman can reflect and bear an impact on those toward other humans. By investigating how narratives develop, evolve, and circulate across time and space, it becomes possible to reveal the harmful logic they carry, and stress the importance of shifting the narrative in the direction of more sustainable intra- and inter-species relations.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy

Emiliana Russo
Original Pronunciation and the United States: The Case of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Paul Meier (2010, 2012)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.13757
211 – 231
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Original Pronunciation |Theatrical production |Radio production |Paul Meier |A Midsummer Night's Dream |Shakespeare Studies |Transatlantic American Studies

Streszczenie

In 2004 Romeo and Juliet in Original Pronunciation (OP) was staged at Shakespeare’s Globe, inaugurating what Crystal would later define the OP movement (2016) - a movement aiming to restore the original sound of both the literary and non-literary works of the past. While academic literature suggests an irregular theatrical interest in the Shakespearean OP in the UK, it also demonstrates that such restoratory projects have proven increasingly appealing to the US audiences. The reasons why the North American theater goers' are attracted to the Shakespearean OP remain unclear. Based on a qualitative analysis of interviews with Paul Meier, the director of the theatrical and radio production A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2010, 2012) and two of his cast members, and complementing the findings with the study of promotional and non-promotional articles concerning the productions, this paper aims to shed light on the rationale behind the North American fascination with the Shakespearean OP. As Meier’s reflections gravitate towards the identity of the US as a former British colony, this study, relying extensively on literature review, is carried out both through the lens of literary/cultural history and of historical linguistics. Finally, though limited in its scope, this paper intends to pave the way for further studies on the relationship between the allure of the OP and the US culture, and thereby  to enrich the area of investigation concerning Shakespeare's reception in the US and his role in the American culture.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy

Howard Robert Coase
Seeing Silence by Mark C. Taylor (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.13732
233 – 240
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Seeing Silence |Mark C. Taylor


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Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy

Daniel Rees
Narrative Change Management in American Studies: A Pragmatic Reading by Silke Schmidt (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14732
241 – 249
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Słowa kluczowe

American Studies |Silke Schmidt |Narrative Change Management in American Studies |Narrative change


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Hochschule Fresenius, Niemcy

Giacomo Traina
Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies by the Critical Refugee Studies Collective (A Book Review)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.14773
251 – 257
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Słowa kluczowe

immigration |Critical Refugee Studies |Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies |emigration

Streszczenie

Departures is the introductory volume to the interdisciplinary field of Critical Refugee Studies, written by the Critical Refugee Studies Collective and published by the University of California Press. The book works on many levels and can be read in as many ways. Partly a guide, partly a manifesto, the book dutifully performs its pre-set task of introducing the general reader to the field of Critical Refugee Studies, all the while engaging with larger issues and challenges. Its manifold nature is made explicit by the title itself, intended both as an allusion to the action of leaving and to that of deviating from a regular path. Highly readable and sharp-edged, tailor-made for an audience that includes (and transcends) colleges and universities, this text will likely find its way into many class syllabi and reading lists. Located at the crossroads of theory and resistance, advocacy and academia, Departures oozes rage, energy, and optimism, and is unapologetically political.

The field of Critical Refugee Studies, the authors state in the “Introduction,” is “a way to seize control of image and narrative, by and for refugees, centered in refugee epistemologies and experiences." As a community-engaged critical field, it postulates the necessity of moving past pre-existing humanitarian narratives and frameworks, exposing the underlying threads that tie militarism and migration, power and memory, empire and race. Channeling Somali British and Palestinian poetry, Syrian visual art, and Vietnamese American independent cinematography, the seven contributors call for new methodologies and approaches, as well as for new stories that go beyond the simple “formula of … escape, despair, and rescue” embedded in mainstream refugee narratives. The book's aim is to break that mold, underscoring the “invisible relations of power that broker how we see and consume the refugee subject”; that is to say, to radically twist the ways in which the latter is defined by the law, by the arts, and by the collective conscious. Bold and provocative, Departures will not fail to spark conversations in the coming years.


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Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy
IASA Emerging Scholars: The Position of the IASA Executive Council on the Inclusion of Emerging Scholars in the Leadership of the Organization
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.15002
259 – 261
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Journeying (the) Americas: The Paradoxes of Travel (and) Narratives. IASA 11th World Congress 2023 - Call for Contributions (First Circular)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.15003
263 – 268
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Słowa kluczowe

tourism |epistemology |colonialism |diplomacy |the Americas |travel |journey |Hemispheric American Studies |Transoceanic American Studies |perceptions |peregrinations |the tourist gaze

Streszczenie

International American Studies Association announcement of the Call for Contributions for the 11th World Congress of IASA titled Journeying (the) Americas The Paradoxes of Travel (and) Narratives. This time, the organization of the IASA World Congress has been entrusted to our excellent Colleagues from the Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. The Congress, organized and hosted both on the University premises and on line, will be held between September 7th and 10th 2023.

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International American
https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS
ISSN 1991-2773
Studies Association
e-ISSN 1991-2773