Toward un estado plurinacional. An Interview with John Beverley on Postsubaltern Studies

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 15
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Document Description
Rafael Ramirez Mendoza. Sandra Ruiz. Isabel Gomez. Entrevista a John Beverley. Mester 42 2013
Document Share
Documents Related
Document Tags
Document Transcript
  eScholarship provides open access, scholarly publishingservices to the University of California and delivers a dynamicresearch platform to scholars worldwide. Title: Toward un estado plurinacional: An Interview with John Beverley on Postsubaltern Studies Journal Issue: Mester, 42(1) Author: Gómez, Isabel, UCLARamírez Mendoza, Rafael, UCLARuiz, Sandra, UCLA Publication Date: 2013 Publication Info: Mester  Permalink: Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Professor John Beverley for granting us this interview. © 2013 IsabelGómez © 2013 Rafael Ramírez Mendoza © 2013 Sandra Ruiz Keywords: Plurinacional, Postsubaltern, Latinamericanism Local Identifier: ucla_spanport _mester_20781 Abstract:  An Interview with scholar John Beverley. Copyright Information:  All rights reserved unless otherwise indicated. Contact the author or srcinal publisher for anynecessary permissions. eScholarship is not the copyright owner for deposited works. Learn moreat  MESTER  , VOL. XLII (2013) 117  Peter Lehman & Rebecca Lippman Toward un estado plurinacional  : An Interview with John Beverley on Postsubaltern Studies Isabel Gómez, Rafael Ramírez Mendoza, and Sandra Ruiz University of California, Los Angeles On May 17th 2013, Professor John Beverley of the University of Pittsburgh sat down with three of Mester ’s editors for a con-versation around his recent work Latinamericanism After 9/11  (2011) and the context in which he posits a new “postsubalternist” phase to the field. The interview took place the day after Professor Beverley’s talk “Regarding Latinamericanism: Is A Paradigm Shift Necessary?” hosted by Motus Sodalis and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.During that talk, Professor Beverley framed the question of what happens when organic and pluralistic social movements become a part of the state. Because of specific changes in the geopolitical landscape, he argues for a shift beyond the subalternist paradigm that rested on a binary divide between hegemony and the subaltern. To trace the reasoning behind his move toward a “postsubalternist” approach, he identifies a set of changing conditions that began before 9/11 but were confirmed by that event; these include the increasingly plurinational foundations of new Latin American constitutional democracies and the replacement of Latin America with the Middle East as the object of the USA’s greatest interventionist activity.Professor Beverley’s visit happened to follow a talk and reading in our department by Mexican novelist Jorge Volpi. In evaluating his position in relation to other approaches to the field, Beverley named Volpi as prime example of an opposite paradigm, a more conserva-tive or even “annexationist” model that seeks to embrace neoliberal policies and cultural or economic affinities with the USA. Beverley cites Volpi’s El insomnio de Bolívar  in Latinamericanism After 9/11  saying “Quizá la única manera de llevar a cabo el sueño de Bolívar sea dejando de lado a América Latina” (Volpi 148, cited in Beverley  118 Isabel Gómez, Rafael Ramírez Mendoza, and Sandra Ruiz 14). Since his book Against Literature  (1993) Beverley has read the production of an elite readership through literary works as a part of the conservative and reactionary axis of Latin American culture. Here at UCLA, we are pleased to have had the opportunity to hear directly from all sides of these debates. Mester: In your most recent book,  Latinamericanism after 9/11 (2011), you introduce the paradigm of Postsubaltern Studies. Could you explain how this new positionality differs from and/or enhances Subaltern Studies?  John Beverley: Subaltern Studies flourished in the late ’80s-’90s, and the project runs into a series of problems in the new century. But there was a tension from the beginning within both South Asian and Latin American Subaltern Studies between what you might call the articulation of subalternity as a problem of non-representation and the politics of the subaltern.The first articulation is subalternity understood as discrimination, lack of significant voice. This branch was conceived primarily in the British colonial context, and Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988), of course, was the manifesto of what we might call the deconstructive mode of subalternity. Subalternity is always that which escapes hegemonic representation, even if that hegemonic representa-tion may be popular or democratic in some way.The other aspect of subalternity would be defined as the place from which new political challenges to the existing system would emerge. A position of inequality—almost necessarily—would gener-ate a kind of negation. In Ranajit Guha’s book, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (1999), negation is not just a passive position outside of representation, but acts. And so the notion of the politics of a subaltern or the politics of the poor is the other dimension.One could say—in the Latin American framework—that the sub-altern does have some kind of voice with the new governments of the left. Those governments depend on the articulation of some form of hegemony—popular democratic, populist, multi-class, multi-alliance, whatever the form may take. These new conditions produce a tension in Subaltern Studies, because the binary between subalternity and hegemony no longer works effectively when the subaltern itself is now articulating a hegemonic position. Bolivia   is an  estado plurinacional  .  An Interview with John Beverley on Postsubaltern Studies 119 That is a hegemonic position, whatever you want to say about it, it is a hegemonic position.On the other hand, Subaltern Studies opened up a series of inter-rogations in field of the social: Women Studies, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies. I don’t want to say that Subaltern Studies and every-thing it produced was a waste of time. So instead I conceived of a postsubalternist position that no longer depended on the dichotomy between the state and civil society, between hegemony and subal-ternity. In other words: it carries with it the intellectual experience and the new perspectives that had been generated around Subaltern Studies, it doesn’t reject that work. M: Alberto Moreiras has critiqued your last book with the argument that a postsubaltern paradigm fetishizes the leaders of the marea rosada  and promote accepting their actions without criticism. 1  What do you think about this? What is your response to these critiques?  JB: Well, I wouldn’t say I fetishize the leaders. But in the last chapter of my book I do put Gayatri Spivak in conversation with Alvaro García Linera, the vice president of Bolivia; I favor García Linera, but that’s as far as I go. 2 It’s hard to say what to make of the critical question—I am critical all the time of things that my government does, and certainly Latin American governments do. Maybe I’m favorable to a general historical movement that seems to be occurring with these governments, and in Latin America, and in the Third World in general, the rise of China, shifting balance of power in the world. But I am not giving the gov-ernments a clean slate. Wasn’t it Chávez who said about Obama, if he lived in the United States he would vote for Obama and if Obama lived in Venezuela? He would probably vote for Chávez. I would probably vote for Chávez too, but that doesn’t mean I like everything either leader has done.Perhaps one of the signs of my postsubalternist shift is that I started reading a lot of Hegel and Huntington, and geopolitical issues began to interest me in new ways. Not the old Latinamericanism of la raza c ó smica , which was tied with elite conceptions of how Latin America was going to develop, where mestizaje  is the ideal of Latin American culture. One commonality among cultural theories from the ’90s: they were directed against a normative notion of mestizaje  as a cultural model for Latin American modernity. (Although mestizaje  
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks