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Alternative Orientalisms in Latin America and Beyond

Alternative Orientalisms in Latin America and Beyond (Hardback)

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Orientalism is widely known as the study of Eastern cultures by Western intellectuals. Yet most people would associate this term with scholars from France, England, Germany, and the United States. This book presents, along with new essays dealing with the United States, the Islamic world and the Far East, alternative views on Orientalism, this time also coming from Latin America and other regions. While still dealing, in some cases, with interpretations of the East by Western outsiders, the fact that the cultural production analyzed (as well as many of the critics) comes from an area, Latin America, that has also been affected by European and U.S. imperialism and colonialism brings new light to the traditionally negative connotations ascribed to the term. These essays reveal that, though prejudice and racism are still prevalent in many Orientalist aesthetic practices coming from Latin America and other world regions, the perspective can also be radically different.

From this perspective, rather than constructing the Orient as the West's alien and inferior other, the mirror image that appears in this book constitutes an attempt at understanding the Asian within us (within the Western world). The postcolonial approach of many of these essays is the theoretical framework that prevents (or, at least, tries to prevent) paternalistic or hegemonic representations of the Asian subject. As a result, the emphasis is often placed on transculturation, hybridity, liminality, double consciousness, and cultural identity.

Ignacio Lopez-Calvo is an Associate Professor of Latin American literature and literary theory at the University of North Texas. He is the author of four books on Latin American literature and culture: Written in Exile. Chilean Fiction from 1973-Present (Routledge, 2001); Religion y militarismo en la obra de Marcos Aguinis 1963-2000 (Mellen Press, 2002); "Trujillo and God": Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican Dictator (University of Florida Press, 2005); and Our Sons Will Never Know What We Have Endured: Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture." (University Press of Florida, 2007. Accepted for publication). He has also edited the book Alternative Orientalisms in Latin America and Beyond and co-edited Caminos para la paz: literatura israeli y arabe en castellano, which will be published in 2007, and has published thirty-two articles in refereed journals.

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