Northwestern Events Calendar


LACS Graduate Workshop: Catalina Rodríguez (Spanish & Portuguese) & Usdin Martínez (Political Science)

When: Monday, February 1, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Usdin Martínez  

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


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Catalina Rodríguez (Spanish and Portuguese - NU)
"Titania's Fashion Chronicles: Between Global Modernities and National Identities"

The late nineteenth century Mexican magazine El Diario del Hogar (1881-1912) published three hundred and thirty-one weekly chronicles that addressed “useful and public” concerns surrounding female fashion trends. The majority of the chronicles were published on Sunday under the allegorical pseudonym of “Titania” and showcased a summary of cosmopolitan fashion trends depicted through large and detailed woodcuts. Claiming a female foreign voice, “Titania” boasted deep knowledge on global fashion and commented on cultural, social and political debates of late nineteenth century Mexico. My presentation aims to uncover the discourses that arise with the creation of a pseudonymous female journalist and the reproduction of cosmopolitan female fashion trends in late nineteenth century Latin America. I examine how the circulation of European and North American fashion woodcuts proliferates an ideal of womanhood deeply rooted in transnational and cosmopolitan discourses of modernization. This foreignization of fashion discourse in turn produces an ideal where Mexican women should be capable of aesthetically reenacting and representing European and North American standards. I propose to read howEl Diario del Hogarposes an exemplary case of this public negotiation between global modernities and national identities through ephemera of fashion.

Usdin Martínez (Political Science - NU)
“Global Motleyness: René Zavaleta and Postcolonial Theories of Capital”

A key debate in postcolonial theory today is how to examine the global transformations of capitalism without reproducing dubious Eurocentric/universalist narratives or forfeiting the historical specificity of the postcolonial condition. This challenge has pushed scholars to consider in detail how capital relates to historical difference: does capital subsume all social, cultural, and political practices, or does it simply coexist along with them? How to make sense of this co-presence of capitalist and non-capitalist practices, systems of domination, and temporalities within a given space? In this presentation, I bring the works of René Zavaleta Mercado into this conversation by examining his account of capitalist development and democratization throughout the 20th century in Bolivia. I analyze Zavaleta’s singular political theory that crystallized around the concept of sociedad abigarrada or ‘motley society,’ precisely an attempt to capture the co-presence of multiple modes of production and temporalities that inflect nation-building in Bolivia. I argue that this theoretical effort is, however, undermined by Zavaleta’s underlying historicism (i.e. the juxtaposition of motley/backward societies and modern/homogeneous ones). I demonstrate that this gesture has so far been downplayed by the contemporary reception of his works, and I explore the implications of this critique for drawing on Zavaleta to understand global capitalism.

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