Controversy as Art and Political (In)Correctness in Latin America (NEMLA Conference in Montreal-April 7-11, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Juan G. Ramos (NEMLA 2010-Montreal)
contact email:

In a region where queer sexualities, child abuse and pornography, the relation between the Church and the State, historical traumas from dictatorships, legacies of so-called Dirty Wars, animal brutality, machismo, among other topics are both commonplace and yet “taboo,” Latin American writers and artists such as Fernando Vallejo, Pedro Lemebel, Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis, Guillermo “Habacuc” Vargas, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Sabina Berman, Griselda Gambaro, Calle 13, among others have brought such sensitive issues to the public’s attention and garnered a mixture of outcries or acceptance. Generally speaking, Latin America has been a traditional or conservative region in terms of its abidance to conventional social mores, preference for heteronormativity, predilection for historical amnesia rather than confronting its recent traumatic events (e.g. political disappearances or dirty wars) and bringing some sort of closure, as well as its inability to recognize the complex mechanisms of racialization and politics of social stratification that maintain a great disparity among social sectors and endorse implicit segregational practices. As such, this panel invites papers that investigate the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of controversy as an art form in countries where the very notion of political correctness is a contested terrain. In other words, paper proposals examining Latin American artworks, literature, music, films, performance art that either thrive on overtly being controversial or are deemed as controversial because of its content are welcome.

Please send 300-word abstracts and brief biographical statements to Juan G. Ramos, by September 30th, 2009.

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