Arts and Sciences Workshop: "Media Laboratories: Late Modernism in South America"


Thursday, November 30, 2017, 6:00pm to 8:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street


Speaker: Sarah Ann Wells, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moderator: Mariano Siskind, Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University. Series co-chaired and moderated by Mariano Siskind, and Brian D. Farrell, Director, DRCLAS; Professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Media Laboratories: Late Modernism in South America

This workshop examines the multiple transformations authorship undergoes throughout the long twentieth century in South America (Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay). Our focus is on a compelling period of transition: the “late modernism” of the 1930s-1940s, when privileged categories such as rupture, invention, and experimentation were thrown into doubt. While partially a response to economic and political upheavals, the new figures of authorship that emerged from this crisis indexed transformations in the new media that had been central to the earlier avant-gardes — cinema, radio, and the typewriter. Authors began to reflect on how they might respond, and in turn help shape, a shifting and consolidating media ecology. At stake was a reconfiguration of authorship as usership, in which writers recast themselves as viewers and listeners, as laborers and feelers, tinkerers and gamers. While grounded in the late modernism of the 1930s and 1940s, this workshop also asks participants to think of how these problems might animate other historical contexts, including authorship in contemporary Latin America.