An Inhospitable World: The Post-national Imaginary in Latin American Novel and Film, 2000-2010

Stachura, Anne Marie , Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Chávez, Daniel, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Shaw, Donald, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Hill, Ruth, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Braun, Herbert, Department of History, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the trend of the presentation of the global community in 21st-Century Latin American novels and films. That is to say, the works studied start from the premise that the national community is no longer (or only very loosely) bounded. With the breakdown of the nation as a firm category, the terms of identity, and therefore interaction between individuals, has changed. The increasing economic disparity exacerbated by globalization (specifically in the form of neoliberal economic policy) accompanies a weakening of the autonomy of national governments as they are challenged by transnational corporations. One commonality between all of the texts is the representation of excessive interpersonal violence. I argue that the physical violence portrayed in these texts echoes the systemic violence of the globalized economy, which is to say the inherently violent conditions necessary for the smooth functioning of our current economic system. The violence in these texts takes on many different forms, and so each chapter deals with a different set of problems that arise in the Post-national Imaginary. The first chapter, which focuses on the novels Limon Reggae and Amphitryon, deals with the Post-national militant and the problems associated with the fluidity of national identity during times of armed conflict. The second chapter, which examines the film Cronicamente Inviavel and the novel El libro del silencio discusses the violence inherent in the production of knowledge, as the texts themselves take the form of academic products (a documentary and an encyclopedia). The third chapter discusses specifically the question of women and violence, focusing on the murders of maquiladora workers portrayed in the novel 2666 and the exploitation of sex workers and the problem of transnational human trafficking in the film En la puta vida. The fourth chapter analyzes the novels Mantra and La novela perfecta as examples of technology gone awry and the violence that ensues from engagement with mass media and the collaboration between artists and scientists. In each of these texts, the physical violence reflects the violence of economic conditions in the era of globalization.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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