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Primitivism and Identity in Latin America: Essays on Art, Literature, and Culture
edited by Erik Camayd-Freixas and José Eduardo González
University of Arizona Press, 2000
Paper: 978-0-8165-4727-2 | eISBN: 978-0-8165-4726-5 | Cloth: 978-0-8165-2045-9
Library of Congress Classification PQ7082.N7P755 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 863.60911


Although primitivism has received renewed attention in recent years, studies linking it with Latin America have been rare. This volume examines primitivism and its implications for contemporary debates on Latin American culture, literature, and arts, showing how Latin American subjects employ a Western construct to "return the gaze" of the outside world and redefine themselves in relation to modernity.

Examining such subjects as Julio Cortázar and Frida Kahlo and such topics as folk art and cinema, the volume brings together for the first time the views of scholars who are currently engaging the task of cultural studies from the standpoint of primitivism. These varied contributions include analyses of Latin American art in relation to social issues, popular culture, and official cultural policy; essays in cultural criticism touching on ethnic identity, racial politics, women's issues, and conflictive modernity; and analytical studies of primitivism's impact on narrative theory and practice, film, theater, and poetry.

This collection contributes offers a new perspective on a variety of significant debates in Latin American cultural studies and shows that the term primitive does not apply to these cultures as much as to our understanding of them.

Paradise Subverted: The Invention of the Mexican Character / Roger Bartra
Between Sade and the Savage: Octavio Paz’s Aztecs / Amaryll Chanady
Under the Shadow of God: Roots of Primitivism in Early Colonial Mexico / Delia Annunziata Cosentino
Of Alebrijes and Ocumichos: Some Myths about Folk Art and Mexican Identity / Eli Bartra
Primitive Borders: Cultural Identity and Ethnic Cleansing in the Dominican Republic / Fernando Valerio-Holguín
Dialectics of Archaism and Modernity: Technique and Primitivism in Angel Rama’s Transculturación narrativa en América Latina / José Eduardo González
Narrative Primitivism: Theory and Practice in Latin America / Erik Camayd-Freixas
Narrating the Other: Julio Cortázar’s "Axolotl" as Ethnographic Allegory / R. Lane Kauffmann
Jungle Fever: Primitivism in Environmentalism; Rómulo Gallegos’s Canaima and the Romance of the Jungle / Jorge Marcone
Primitivism and Cultural Production: Future’s Memory; Native Peoples’ Voices in Latin American Society / Ivete Lara Camargos Walty
Primitive Bodies in Latin American Cinema: Nicolás Echevarría’s Cabeza de Vaca / Luis Fernando Restrepo
Subliminal Body: Shamanism, Ancient Theater, and Ethnodrama / Gabriel Weisz
Primitivist Construction of Identity in the Work of Frida Kahlo / Wendy B. Faris
Mi andina y dulce Rita: Women, Indigenism, and the Avant-Garde in César Vallejo / Tace Megan Hedrick
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