Literacy Machines: Writing and Politics in Latin America

Talk by Jonathan Beasley-Murray, Hispanic Studies

Most discussions of the relationship between politics and writing touch on the concept of hegemony: the notion that power works by seeking consent through culture as much as it depends upon threats of force, implicit or otherwise. This notion is especially prevalent in discussions of Latin American literature and culture where, for various reasons, writing and power have been especially closely interlinked since the Spanish conquest.

Jon Beasley-Murray will argue for a posthegemonic understanding of the social function of literature (in Latin America and, by extension, elsewhere), that is, an understanding that does without this dichotomy of consent plus coercion. Taking examples from canonical authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and José María Arguedas, his talk will outline a literary mechanics of affect, habit, and the multitude.