Arts and Sciences Workshop: After Human Rights. Latin American Art and Literature in the Last Turn of the Century


Thursday, February 23, 2017, 6:00pm to 8:00pm


CGIS South, S-216, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Fernando J. Rosenberg, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature, Brandeis University 

Series co-chaired and moderated by Mariano Siskind, Professor and Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Brian D. Farrell, Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology


Juan Pablo Renzi: "Porto Dos Ossos", 1992

This presentation explores artistic and literary production concerned with the possibility of justice after the establishment, rise, and ebb of the narrative of human rights during the last Latin American turn of the century. Key literary and artistic projects that articulated Latin American modernity attempted to address and supplement the state’s shortcomings at embodying for and enacting justice. I argue that since constitutive paradigms of modern political thought (i.e., emancipation, autonomy, identity, revolution, resistance, representation) no longer define the social field, a central sector of contemporary Latin American artistic production situates itself at the point in which the logic and conditions of marketization intersect with the discourse of rights in the formation of subjects. The phrase “after human rights” acknowledges the passing of the most eventful era of human rights activism and its incorporation into the state and the market mechanisms of subordination through identity; but being “after” denotes the persistence of a quest, as the open agenda of human rights might exert pressure to reimagine the common good. Literary texts and artworks might also offer glimpses into this imagination.