home
agenda · presentation   
themes literature agenda archive anthology calendar links profile

Alfonso de Toro

Latin America and the Diversity of Discourses

Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Communication in the Context of Postmodernism and Postcoloniality


 Objectives of the Project


español  
deutsch  

Diversity of Discourses.
Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Communication in the Context of Postmodernism and Postcoloniality

University of Leipzig
Ibero-American Research Centre
Brühl 34-50
D-04109 Leipzig
GERMANY
Tel.
+49 (0)341 - 961 80 77
Fax
+49 (0)341 - 213 27 85
emaildtoiafsl@rz.uni-
leipzig.de

external linkhttp://www.uni-
leipzig.de/~iafsl/


Cientific Director:
Prof. Dr. Alfonso de Toro

1

  The objective of this project – realized since 1997 by the Ibero-American Research Centre of the University of Leipzig (Germany), in cooperation with the University of Manitoba/Winnipeg (Canada) and numerous scientists of Europa, the USA and Latin America – is to study the diverse manifestations and representations of the post-colonial and post-modern discourses in Latin America narrative, theatre, as well as in fields such as sociology, history, philosophy, politics, etc. This study will be carry out from an intercultural and interdisciplinary approach, based on certain topics, authors and on a given number of countries. The project aims at representing, analyzing and interpreting the knowledge and thought in Latin America, also taking into consideration the dialogue with Europe and North America.

2

  A close analysis of the intercultural dialogue that goes beyond countries and continents shall help us to outline a broader correlation in the interpretation of the specific significance of the discourses on post-modernism / post-coloniality so as to gain a new perspective on the Latin American continent. This is to lay bare the similarities and differences between the cultures, the specific cultural position of the Latin American thought and the characteristics of the Latin American culture.

3

  Moreover, the project also examines a more recent discussion which became known in the debate on post-modernism as the concept of post-colonialism. The research carried through under the concept nouvelle histoire or metahistory are also closely related to this debate. In this regard we shall investigate if Latin America or parts of it, constitute a continent that – at least in certain areas of its culture (meaning culture in general) – has reached the state of post-coloniality, as a homogenous dialogue with the economic and scientific world-powers. The result of this investigation is to contribute to clarify the relation between Centre and Periphery and at the same time to question the correctness of such a classification as well as to settle the question of the "power" of the discursive system.

4

  The interest in post-modernism / post-coloniality in Latin America is, on the one hand, purely academic, that is, it deals with the description of thought and knowledge in post-modernism / post-coloniality. On the other hand, it attempts at understanding the complexity of our time – that is the place in society in which such thought and knowledge are to be found.

5

  The project will focus its attention in the following four aspects:



 1. Fictional Discourse as Deconstruction of Historiography



Survey of the tasks and responsabilities in the several investigation areas:
external linkProject structure



Institut of Romance Philology at the University of Leipzig:
external linkHomepage

6

  Against the background of "new historicism" and "metahistoricity" the relation between historiography and the "new" historical novel will be researched. This portion of the project is concerned with the analysis of post-modern theory, taking into account, on an equal footing, different kind of discourses which provide an explanation of their roles and justifications (Loytard, Derrida). A second relevant hypothesis is the idea that reality or history were linguistic and therefore "nomadic" (Deleuze, Guattari) or "hybrid" constructs (García Canclini, Brunner etc.).

7

  This involves, in particular, the investigation of the concept of truth and the possibility or impossibility to relate, to interpret and to fix history. In this context the concepts narrativity, tropology and construction (White) form a basis for the comparison between narration in historiography and fiction. It is thus possible to involve history in general, social history and history of mentality (Le Goff, Braudel). The questions arising from this investigation, namely the relation between event, mind / perception and the writing down, between speech and writing, that is between the search for meaning and the constitution of meaning (Derrida), are also to be examined.

8

  These analyses shall after all clarify how fiction, that is the category of the imaginaire, rivals historiography. Thus the matter is to study whether the novel functions, for example, as the deconstruction of historiography and the traditional historical novel, or if the novel can be seen as a palimpsestic corrective of the still existing traditional historiography. It is therefore necessary to describe the areas that are excluded by the traditional historiography. They are taken up here to examine how much they contribute to the formation of a new conception of history. In addition, we shall attempt to answer the question if post-history really places us at the "end of history".



 2. Hybridity as Cultural Principle


»The interest in post-modernism / post-coloniality in Latin America is, on the one hand, purely academic, that is, it deals with the description of thought and knowledge in post-modernism / post-coloniality. On the other hand, it attempts at understanding the complexity of our time – that is the place in society in which such thought and knowledge are to be found.«

9

  The issues of post-colonial thinking is intimately related to what we have stated above regarding the type of historiography which seeks to re-define culture and history from the "margins" and enter the debate and take a position with respect to the hegemonic discourses. By these we mean not only the countries of the "Centre" such as the United States of America, or Europe, but also the "Periphery" and the centres within different countries and cultures in Latin America.

10

  The main emphasis is placed on the relationship between Centre and Periphery and the problem of power which is linked to the acquisition of and the "dwelling" on discourses established by the centre in the attempt to make use of these discourses for own ideas. We shall attempt to elaborate an alternative culture to the normative culture of a given society, and thus show the fragmental plurality, the highly and not removable plurivalence of the Subject, which is a phenomenon also to be found in the theatre. Examples provide amongst others the figures of Francia and Bolivar in the works of Roa Bastos and García Márquez or the short stories by Borges, Roa Bastos and Griffero.

11

  We shall further research which of the elements of the international debate on post-modernism are adopted by the Margins and how they are re-coded in Latin America. In this regard the concepts différance (Derrida) and rhizom (Deleuze, Guattari) that coincide with the Latin American concepts syncretism / hybridity will be helpful constructions.



 3. Dissemination of Meaning as a Structural Principle


»The different forms of intertextuality and their functions are to be described with the objective to show the change of the binary way of thinking that presupposes a rigid system of knowledge, an origin and a complete structure in favour of a radically open, constantly changing structure.«

12

  AStarting out from post-modern categories like simulation, rhizom, fragmentation, heterogeneity, diversity, plurimediality, intertextuality, deconstruction and différance, aspects of the textual and theatrical production shall be analyzed that characterize the Latin American culture within the framework of the general tendencies of our times, and therefore make an important individual contribution to post-modernism.

13

  The deconstruction of common literary and theatrical-dramaturgical procedures, general narration and depiction will be described as well as the deconstruction of genres, the concept genre and the "dissemination of meaning" (both construction and deconstruction of meaning). In this context, the different forms of intertextuality and their functions are to be described with the objective to show the change of the binary way of thinking that presupposes a rigid system of knowledge, an origin and a complete structure in favour of a radically open, constantly changing structure. This is to depict how the post-modern thought is rendered in literature and theatre, that is, how these two genres shape the post-modern thought. Of a major importance is the description of time shifts in culture and their interferences, since authors like Borges think post-modernism before it is established as a paradigm.



 4. Multimediality and Translation


Alfonso de Toro is professor for Romanance Philology and founder and director of the Ibero-American Research Centre at the University of Leipzig.

14

  Against the background of the three fixed and explained main aspects of study, we shall analyze the various forms of performing theatre, taking into consideration the multimediality and the function of the different codes used (video- and film clips, art in theatre, music, light effects, photography, different text types, computer-driven technology). In particular, we shall analyze the relation between the dramatic text and the performed text, taking into account the production, the phenomenon of virtuality in contemporary theatre, the rendering of the text or parts of the text in images of the production and the relation between body and language.

15

  Another focus of investigation will be the analysis of translation under several different perspectives: The interpretation of language in the production, the interpretation of a text in different productions, the interpretation of elements belonging to a particular cultural context in a different culture which becomes especially relevant. For example, when an Argentinean play is performed in Germany or when classical plays, that do not have their origin in Latin America, are produced in this part of the world. This analysis does not only deal with the issues regarding cultural transformation, but above all with the unlimited potential to create meaning.



themes literature agenda archive anthology calendar links profile

home  |  search  |  sitemap  |  newsletter  |  interphil  |  imprint  |  donations