Sunday, January 25, 2009


Some of the following has been lightly edited as I have been, quite rightly, reproached by Idelber Avelar in the comments. I haven't completely revised this post, however, in part because I think that my basic point stands: for those interested in rethinking the field of Latin American studies, and encouraging new forms of communication, blogs are an obvious resource. And in part I don't want to rewrite history to pretend that I didn't indeed let a number of important blogs slip my mind when originally writing it, or that there are certainly others of which I have been ignorant. Perhaps my error, as Idelber implies, was indeed that I was thinking about the field in overly conventional ways.

One thing that occurs to me as I read some of Alberto Moreiras’s lengthy and thought-provoking comments to recent posts here is that he should start up his own blog!

I'm serious. Yes, Aberdeen's Centre for Modern Thought does run a blog, and Alberto has used it on occasion, particularly in relation to specific events. See this comment on Esposito, for instance. But mainly the Centre uses its blog for administrative purposes, highlighting upcoming events, and comments such as Alberto's soon get lost.

But on his own blog, Alberto could develop some of these thoughts informally. Others could respond. And there would be the opportunity for new connections. For instance, take Alberto's important question: "What if biopolitical democracy is a contradiction in terms. What if there can and will be no biopolitical democracy? Where does that leave us?" This immediately links up with Jodi Dean's current project of working through the classic texts on biopolitics, or some of Steven Shaviro or Nate Holdren's recent ruminations on the topic.

Of course, there are many reasons not to start a blog: lack of interest, lack of time (but for those evenings when there is no film worth watching at the video store...), and so on, and I've often enough been ambivalent about the process myself. Alberto should feel no compunction to take my advice!

I'm also struck by the fact that in the field of (broadly) Latin American literary and cultural studies, this here blog, Posthegemony, is one of relatively few out there. (But see update and correction below...) One example that immediately comes to mind is Idelber Avelar's O Biscoito Fino e a massa. Horacio Legras briefly blogged at 13AVentana=13AWindow, but just at the moment his exuberance for Obama seems to have left him speechless. There are a number of Latin American Political Science blogs such as Greg Weeks's Two Weeks Notice. Plus, more broadly in Hispanic Studies, I would be remiss if I did not mention Jorge Ledo's elegant ficta eloquentia.

Yet, in the context of a discussion of the state of the field and how one might reinvent intellectual freedom within it, or despite it, one might think of taking a leaf out of the book of the many blogging denizens of Philosophy (surely, a far more hostile and fractured field). They consistently show, as in the current buzz around speculative realism, that this informal sphere of discussion and collaboration can, at least at times, prove very rewarding and productive.

Update: In comments, Idelber upbraids me for missing many Argentine and Brazilian blogs. Specifically, he mentions the following: Nación Apache, La lectora provisoria, Wimbledon, Contemporânea, and Odisséia Literária. He later also gives us: Pensar enlouquece, Tiago Dória (on culture and technology), Liberal Libertário Libertino (especially the posts on race) and Consenso, só no paredão (by Alexandre Nodari, a friend and student of Raúl Antelo's).

It's true that I was implicitly thinking of North American-based blogs of a certain type. And I thank Idelber to introducing me to blogs previously unknown to me. I welcome more suggestions.

So let me add the following, which I do follow, a couple of which are indeed based in the US, and which collectively show something of a Peruvianist bias on my part: alma matinal, Kolumna Okupa, Puente Aéreo, Río Fugitivo, Professor Zero, and the Página de Gonzalo Portocarrero.

Oh, and this reminds me that I should update my blogroll sooner rather than later. (Though I understand that they are rather passé these days.)

Further update: Rather than overburden this post with too much retrospective elaboration, here's a link to a talk by Idelber himself on blogging and academia: "Cultural Studies in the Blogosphere: Academics meet new Technologies of Online Publication". A longer version of this paper is to be found in Erin Graff Zinn's The Ethics of Latin American Literary Criticism: Reading Otherwise.

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