Arts and Sciences Workshop: Indisciplinarity: Analyzing Literature and Visual Culture in Turn of the Century Latin America


Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6:00pm to 8:00pm


CGIS South, S-250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Alejandra Uslenghi, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literary Studies, Northwestern University. 

Series chaired and moderated by Mariano Siskind, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University


Mira Schendel: Untitled, de la serie "Objetos gráficos", 1967

The workshop will focus on the cultural history of Latin America’s involvement in nineteenth century world’s fairs in the United States and France, examining the complex display strategies, pavilion architecture and modern literary writing, through which Argentina, Mexico and Brazil forged the image of a modernizing Latin America as they inserted themselves into the new visual economy of capitalism through the international scenarios of universal exhibitions. Against facile understandings of the Latin America’s presence at the exhibitions as an exotic display for European spectators, we will argue that artists, intellectuals and writers availed themselves of these scenarios as a point of departure for partaking of a cosmopolitan modernity on behalf of their transnational reading and viewing publics. At the same time, we will discuss the interdisciplinary in the growing field of Latin American visual culture, and a comparative framework in which to think of a global fin-de-siècle, when Latin American, European and American cultural traditions became intensely related, and thus to explore how modernista writers narrated their cosmopolitan experience, shaped by a modernizing literary language that gave way to experimental literary forms.

Alejandra Uslenghi  is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Latin America at fin-de-siècle Universal Exhibitions. Modern Cultures of Visuality (Honorable Mention in the Latin American Studies Association’s Southern Cone Section, 2016) and editor of Walter Benjamin. Culturas de la imagen (2011). She recently co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies on Modern Argentine Photography analyzing the photographic work of Horacio Coppola and Grete Stern.  

Pre-circulated papers are used as reference for a discussion introduced by a designated graduate student.

Paper attached below. Please do not circulate.