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20th Annual Conference on the Americas

Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, 2017

Conference on the Americas: An interdisciplinary-intercultural conference

The Americas Council provides an annual conference for presenters and participants to explore critical socio-cultural, political, economic, global, regional and national issues reflecting the cultures, the challenges and opportunities facing Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada.

Proposals for individual papers and panels on specific topics are now being requested. The committee invites presenters and participants from all disciplines in exploring topics related to Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean.

Keynote Speaker and Keynote Address

Dr. Vinodh Venkatesh
Associate Professor of Spanish
Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
Virginia Tech
 

"Territory and Erotics in Contemporary Latin American Narrative and Cinema"

February 11, 2017 (Time & Place TBA) 

Vinodh Venkatesh is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Virginia Tech. His research is primarily centered on issues of gender, subjectivity and the urban space in contemporary Hispanic narratives. A secondary area of research concerns the cinematic production of Spain and Latin America. He has published articles in such journals as Hispanic Review, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, and Symposium, in addition to several chapters in critical editions. He has edited journal issues on urban studies, masculinity, and cinema, and is the author of two books: The Body as Capital: Masculinities in Contemporary Latin American Fiction (Arizona, 2015), and New Maricón Cinema: On Outing and Feeling Latin America (Texas, 2016). He is currently researching the aesthetics and politics of superheroes in Latin American moving images. 

Information about Dr. Venkatesh's recent book publications

The Body as Capital: Masculinities in Contemporary Latin American Fiction (Arizona, 2015)

Through economic liberalization and the untethering of labor and production markets, masculinity as hegemon has entered a crisis stage. Renegotiated labor and familial orders have triggered a widespread cultural renegotiation of how masculinity operates and is represented. This holds especially true in Latin America.

Addressing this, Vinodh Venkatesh uses contemporary Latin American literature to examine how masculinity is constructed and conceived. The Body as Capital centers socioeconomic and political concerns, anxieties, and paradigms on the male anatomy and on the matrices of masculinities presented in fiction. Developing concepts such as the “market of masculinities” and the “transnational theater of masculinities,” the author explains how contemporary fiction centers the male body and masculine expressions as key components in the relationship between culture, space, and global tensile forces.

Venkatesh includes novels by canonical and newer writers from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Chile. He focuses on texts produced after 1990, coinciding with what has popularly been termed the neoliberal experiment. In addition to probing well-known novels such as La fiesta del Chivo and La mujer habitada and their accompanying body of criticism, The Body as Capital defines and examines several masculine tropes that will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Latin American literature and gender studies. Ultimately, Venkatesh argues for a more holistic approximation of discursive gender that will feed into other angles of criticism, forging a new path in the critical debates over gender and sexuality in Latin American writing.

New Maricón Cinema: Outing Latin American Film (Texas, 2016) 

Recent critically and commercially acclaimed Latin American films such as XXY, Contracorriente, and Plan B create an affective and bodily connection with viewers that elicits in them an emotive and empathic relationship with queer identities. Referring to these films as New Maricón Cinema, Vinodh Venkatesh argues that they represent a distinct break from what he terms Maricón Cinema, or a cinema that deals with sex and gender difference through an ethically and visually disaffected position, exemplified in films such as Fresa y chocolate, No se lo digas a nadie, and El lugar sin límites.

Covering feature films from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela, New Maricón Cinema is the first study to contextualize and analyze recent homo-/trans-/intersexed-themed cinema in Latin America within a broader historical and aesthetic genealogy. Working with theories of affect, circulation, and orientations, Venkatesh examines key scenes in the work of auteurs such as Marco Berger, Javier Fuentes-León, and Julia Solomonoff and in films including Antes que anochezca and Y tu mamá también to show how their use of an affective poetics situates and regenerates viewers in an ethically productive cinematic space. He further demonstrates that New Maricón Cinema has encouraged the production of “gay friendly” commercial films for popular audiences, which reflects wider sociocultural changes regarding gender difference and civil rights that are occurring in Latin America.


Sponsored By

The University System of Georgia, The Americas Council, Armstrong State University College of Liberal Arts, Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy, Department of Criminal Justice, Social and Political Science.