Rise and Fall of the Cosmic Race: The Cult of Mestizaje in Latin America

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University of Texas Press, Nov 1, 2004 - History - 202 pages
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Latin America is characterized by a uniquely rich history of cultural and racial mixtures known collectively as mestizaje. These mixtures reflect the influences of indigenous peoples from Latin America, Europeans, and Africans, and spawn a fascinating and often volatile blend of cultural practices and products. Yet no scholarly study to date has provided an articulate context for fully appreciating and exploring the profound effects of distinct local invocations of syncretism and hybridity. Rise and Fall of the Cosmic Race fills this void by charting the history of Latin America's experience of mestizaje through the prisms of literature, the visual and performing arts, social commentary, and music.

In accessible, jargon-free prose, Marilyn Grace Miller brings to life the varied perspectives of a vast region in a tour that stretches from Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina. She explores the repercussions of mestizo identity in the United States and reveals the key moments in the story of Latin America's cult of synthesis. Rise and Fall of the Cosmic Race examines the inextricable links between aesthetics and politics, and unravels the threads of colonialism woven throughout national narratives in which mestizos serve as primary protagonists.

Illuminating the ways in which regional engagements with mestizaje represent contentious sites of nation building and racial politics, Miller uncovers a rich and multivalent self-portrait of Latin America's diverse populations.

 

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Contents

JOSÉ VASCONCELOS ABOUTFACE ON THE COSMIC RACE
27
CARIBBEAN COUNTERPOINT AND Mulatez
45
TANGO IN BLACK AND WHITE
79
SHOWCASING MIXED RACE IN NORTHEAST BRAZIL
96
DISENCOUNTERS IN THE LABYRINTHS Mestizaje IN QUITO
119
GLOBALIZATION CYBERHYBRIDITY AND FIFTH WORLD Mestizaje
141
NOTES
157
BIBLIOGRAPHY
179
INDEX
197
Copyright

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Page 17 - Pratt defines the contact zone as "the space of colonial encounters, the space in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict ... By using the term 'contact,' I aim to foreground the interactive, improvisational dimensions of colonial encounters.
Page 20 - ... an artistically organized system for bringing different languages in contact with one another, a system having as its goal the illumination of one language by means of another, the carving-out of a living image of another language.
Page 20 - Everything means, is understood, as a part of a greater whole — there is a constant interaction between meanings, all of which have the potential of conditioning others.
Page 17 - Ethnographers have used this term to describe how subordinated or marginal groups select and invent from materials transmitted to them by a dominant or metropolitan culture.
Page 19 - It is a mixture of two social languages within the limits of a single utterance, an encounter, within the arena of an utterance, between two different linguistic consciousnesses, separated from one another by an epoch, by social differentiation or by some other factor.

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About the author (2004)

Marilyn Grace Miller is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University in New Orleans.

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