TITLE: The Natural Nation: Tropical Imaginings and Ecologies of Abjection in Brazilian Literature
SPEAKER: Mark Anderson
EVENT DATE: 2008/11/13
RUNNING TIME: 68 minutes
Brazil is paradise; everyone knows that. European explorers of the region praised its exuberant greenery and natural abundance, and some even imagined themselves to be honing in on the Garden of Eden. During the 20th century, nationalist discourses of mesticagem and brasileridade proclaimed Brazil a perfectly blended racial and cultural utopia. Effective in creating a homogenous national identity spanning cultural and geographical diversity, the official discourse of Brazil as a natural, racial and cultural paradise also implied the marginalization of anyone (or anywhere) that did not conform to its designs. The rebellious nature and cultural wilds of places like the interior Sertoes of Northeastern Brazil, Mato Grosso and the Amazon Basin embodied a challenge to national definition. Largely unmapped, demarcated only cursorily, they were in Brazil, but they were not Brazil. This presentation traces the formation of an early 20th century Brazilian literature of ecological otherness that frequently represents environmental and cultural difference not only as abjection, but also as a threat to the modern nation.
Speaker Biography: Kluge Fellow Mark Anderson is from the University of Georgia.