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Other Modernities (Altre Modernità) Università degli Studi di Milano
n.6 – 11/2011
Afro-Latin American literature, music and art between social denunciation
and self representation
edited by Irina Bajini and Laura Scarabelli
The current historical debate on slave trade in North and Latin America, with all its social, political and cultural dimensions, considers the African diaspora as one of those events in the history of manhood which left an extremely high number of unsolved debts, misleading trajectories and open wounds. This was unfortunately accompanied by accomplice silences from the official and academic institutions which should have both recorded and denounced those atrocities, both when they occurred and through subsequent critical analyses of the facts.
During the Twentieth century, Afro-Latin American literature, art and music have undoubtedly contributed to mimetically reproduce a reality which was marked by detribalization. Several scholars have been working for years toward the denunciation of distorted representations of the African diaspora within the dominant hegemonic discourses, or even of the lack of diasporic references, which almost seemed to get lost in the post-independent configurations of different African nations.
This issue of AM wishes to meditate on some examples of modern and contemporary cultural expression of the African diaspora without falling into the rhetoric of superficial social denunciation or one-sided testimony. We rather aim at examining the complex layers of meaning which stem from the double, if not multiple (Cornejo Polar, 1971) socio-cultural matrix of the diasporic phenomenon in these areas. The slave trade in fact, has conditioned the destiny of the black community in the Americas, creating a history torn between the African memory of the origins, and the new developments in the contexts of North and Latin America.
The close analysis of the texts and their textures, of their symbols and imageries, can reveal far more than a “black” vision of the world, they disclose a poetics of the encounter and of the relationship with the different cultures which were forced to settle in a radically new environment from that of their origins (Glissant, 2003).
The most evident result of this poetics is to modify the imagery of blackness inside the
American communities (and to influence the self-image of the individual and of the community he/she belongs to.)
The close reading of the chosen texts will allow to highlight the hidden areas which reveal representations that unite the stress on the African origins and on the multiple losses that the diaspora caused, with the dimension of the encounter with a new land and its different socio-cultural environment.
Submissions may therefore consider, among the other, the following themes:
- Slavery and the conformation of the African American and Latin American identity
- Origin and development of the Afro-Latin American cultures in the plantation regime: ingenios, cabildos, cimarronaje
- Negrism and Negritude
- Afro-Latin American art and music in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries
- Novela testimonio: origins and perspectives
- African mythologies: translations and artistic/literary re-elaborations
- New “afro” contemporary expressive forms
- Syncretic cults and the market
- Mixed ethnicities in Latin American society
Other similar themes, which relate to the main subject of this issue, are welcome. We aim at expanding, with articulate and original paths, the current academic debate on these matters.
The editorial process will develop according to the following deadlines: 500-1000 word abstract and one-page CV submitted via email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 15th February 2010. The editorial committee will notify the contributors by 28th February 2011.
Final papers are due on 30th June 2011. The issue will be published online in November 2011.
We also welcome reviews or interviews focused on novels/authors focused on the main theme of the issue. Interview and review proposals have to be submitted according to the same deadlines indicated above. Feel free to contact the editors in case any further clarification is needed.