Critiques lingering manifestations of colonialism in contemporary Latin American scholarship.
This collection of essays offers alternative readings of historical and literary texts produced during Latin America's colonial period. By considering the political and ideological implications of the texts' interpretation yesterday and today, it attempts to "decolonize" the field of Latin American studies and promote an ethical, interdisciplinary practice that does not falsify or appropriate knowledge produced by both the colonial subjects of the past and the oppressed subjects of the present.
Using recent developments in postcolonial theory, the contributors challenge traditional approaches to Hispanism. The colonial situation under which these texts were composed, with all its injustices and prejudices, still lingers, and most studies have consistently avoided the connection between this colonial legacy and the situation of disenfranchised groups today. Colonialism Past and Present challenges discursive strategies that celebrate only European cultural traits, dismiss non-European cultural legacies, and solidify constructions of national projects considered natural extensions of European civilization since independence from Spain.
Alvaro Félix Bolaños is Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Florida and the author of Barbarie y canibalismo en la retórica colonial: los indios pijaos de Fray Pedro Simón. Gustavo Verdesio is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan and the author of La invención del Uruguay: La entrada del territorio y sus habitantes a la cultura occidental.
"A deep, thoughtful, diverse, rich confrontation with postcolonial theory and the way it affects contemporary scholarly exegesis and appropriations of New World colonial literatures. A major contribution to Latin American studies and postcolonial theory. " — Eduardo Mendieta, coeditor of Thinking from the Underside of History: Enrique Dussel's Philosophy of Liberation