Armed Conflict and its Afterlives: The Uses of War in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula

deadline for submissions: 
December 6, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Hispanic Studies Graduate Student Group

Armed Conflict and its Afterlives

The Uses of War in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula


University of Pennsylvania

Spanish and Portuguese Department Graduate Conference

February 23rd-24th 2018


Keynote Addresses: Juan Pablo Dabove & Cristina Rivera Garza



Call for Papers

The history of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula is that of a world riddled with war. From the medieval accounts of the Reconquista of Castilla and chronicles of the conquest of the Americas, to the contemporary war on drugs in Brazil, through to feminicide in Mexico and human trafficking from Central America to the United States, armed conflicts exist as specters that imbue everything with various forms of violence. Based on these observations, this conference stands as a general invitation to explore the spectral continuity of war in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds in their global contexts, placing specific emphasis on armed conflicts, the return thereto, and that which persists despite their end. Of particular interest is the material and symbolic production of war, as well as the uses and counter-uses that arise. Examples include the recycling of bellicose weapons and tactics, or this same reappropriation of militancy in countercultural movements. 

Could it be, for instance, that afterlives function not only to return, but also to anticipate? In Kafka and His Precursors, Borges suggests that a tradition born in the present finds itself crossed with signs that precede it, signs which themselves likewise index its future. Anticipatory afterlives allow us to think the present and past as a continuum, and to reflect upon the new forms of destruction that are being forged in that present. In this sense, we hope to revisit the tradition of war by examining its strategies of permanence as yet another form of historical violence—an approach that allows us to better understand the tactics of resistance exercised by subjects at the margins of these armed conflicts.

As such, we hope to address the following questions: What forms of life are produced before, during, and after armed conflict? How is war articulated in material terms? What does the afterlife of war tell us about its history? How is war related to forms of slow violence, such as global warming? How is war narrated? How has the concept of war evolved over time and space? Can we dissociate war from the history of Ibero-America and its diasporas? Which interdisciplinary approaches can help us understand the literary treatment of war in the hispanic and lusophone worlds? What do these narratives tell us about the discontinuous temporalities of development that characterize the Latin American continent? Can textual forms or images themselves enact war

Keeping in mind the centrality of war and its abovementioned implications, we encourage graduate students to present papers that discuss cultural production (art, cinema, literature, and alternative creative forms) associated with armed conflict as it exists across hispanic and lusophone cultures, placing particular emphasis on the spectralization of war and the modes in which violence is reconfigured. Proposals can engage, but are not limited to, the following themes:


- War, between-war, and postwar

- Coloniality/decoloniality, colonization/decolonization

- Revolution and counterrevolution

- Guerilla warfare and paramilitarism

- Trauma and pain

- Transition and post-dictatorship

- Gender, race, class

- Exile and expulsion

- Wars of independence and autonomy

- New materialisms

- Performativity and affect

- Marxism and critical theory

- Indigenous communities, indigeneity

- Slow violence and environmental humanities

- Nation, nationalism, and borders


While we welcome proposals on Latin American and Iberian cultural production, we also invite those dealing with alternative geopolitical spaces and cultural contexts—Anglophone, latinx, francophone, Luso-African, for instance—that exist in either direct or indirect relation to Latin America and/or the Iberian Peninsula.


Abstracts should be sent to no later than November 27, 2017. We accept papers in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words in length, and should include the title of your presentation. In a separate document please state your name, affiliation, and contact information.