10.17615/xdsh-ep37

Masculine Textualities: Gender and Neoliberalism in Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Abstract

A casual look at contemporary Latin American fiction, and its accompanying body of criticism, evidences several themes and fields that are unifying in their need to unearth a continental phenomenology of identity. These processes, in turn, hinge on several points of construction or identification, with the most notable being gender in its plural expressions. Throughout the 20th century issues of race, class, and language have come to be discussed, as authors and critics have demonstrated a consciousness of the past and its impact on the present and the future, yet it is clear that gender holds a particularly poignant position in this debate of identity, reflective of its autonomy from the age of conquest. The following pages problematize the writing of the male body and the social constructs of gender in the face of globalization and neoliberal policies in contemporary Latin American fiction. Working from theoretical platforms established by Raewyn Connell, Ilan Stavans, and others, my analysis embarks on a reading of masculinities in narrative texts that mingle questions of nation, identity and the gendered body. The first chapter examines nationalism and the writing of masculinity in the context of the new historical novel, keeping in mind economic paradigms of laissez-faire, marketing, privatization, and the deterritorialization of economic markets. In the second chapter I examine the narrative usage of the cultural artifacts of popular music and song, both as a textuality of Latin American identity and as a political affront to the forces of neoliberal cultural imperialism. Chapter three recontextualizes masculinities in contemporary Latin American fiction through a study of the diegetic usage and characterization of space in Mexico City. I trace a practice of representation through novels from the 1970s to the early 2000s, focusing on the contemporary works of Ana Clavel. Taking into account current approaches to the study of masculinities, I conclude with an analytic presentation of new culturally-indigenous literary tropes that dialogue with globalized representations of power and gender.Doctor of Philosoph

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