Associate Professor — PhD, Cornell University
Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese; Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at UT
Sound studies, radio, and media ecologies; colonialism; decolonizing methodologies; indigenous aesthetics and politics of languages and knowledge; native territories and diasporas; the Mapuche movement. Race, gender & sexuality. Neoliberalism, literature, and market culture. Human rights, social justice and the arts. Poetry, urban chronicle and fiction, with emphasis in the Andes and Southern Cone of Latin America
Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante is a scholar of Mapuche origin who grew up in Tralcao, a rural village in the River Region of Valdivia in southern Chile. He studied Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Universidad Austral de Chile (1980-1985), obtained his MA at the University of Oregon (1995-1997), and earned his PhD in Hispanic Studies at Cornell (1997-2001). He taught at Harvard University between 2001 and 2009. Since 2009, he teaches Latin American and indigenous literatures and cultures at The University of Texas at Austin. He has recently co-edited, in collaboration with other eight Mapuche researchers, an inter-disciplinary collection of essays entitled Ta iñ fijke xipa rakizuameluwün. Historia, colonialismo y resistencia desde el país Mapuche (Santiago: Ediciones de Historia Mapuche, 2012); a book that brings together fourteen Mapuche authors who examine many dimensions of Mapuche history, relying upon the concept of colonialism as the axis of debate and reflection on historical, political, cultural and territorial issues. Previously, in 2007, Professor Cárcamo-Huechante published his own book, Tramas del mercado: imaginación económica, cultura pública y literatura en el Chile de fines del siglo veinte (Santiago: Editorial Cuarto Propio), and co-edited a volume of essays entitled El valor de la cultura: arte, literatura y mercado en América Latina (with Alvaro Fernández-Bravo and Alejandra Laera, Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2007). He has published articles in prestigious academic journals. He is also a member of the editorial boards of refereed journals in the United States and in Latin America, such as: Latin American Literary Review, Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Native American Studies (NAIS), and Taller de Letras. In Spring 2012, Professor Cárcamo-Huechante won the Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellowship 2012-2013 in the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin; and, in August 2012, he won the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the University of Texas System Board of Regents's highest teaching honor. During the 2013-2014 academic year, he was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina.
ILA 389 • Territories:colonial/Anti
45770 • Fall 2017
Meets TH 5:00PM-8:00PM CAL 21
Description: Since 1990s, the question of territory and territorial rights has been a foundational concept and imaginary in the indigenous resurgence movement throughout the Americas, or Abya Yala—the native Kuna term to name the whole continent. Against narratives of “de-territorialization” (Deleuze and Guattari) that prevailed in the terrain of “high theory” in late twentieth century, indigenous movement—already in the 1990s—placed the concept and imaginary of the territory as a fundamental notion in local and global political and cultural imagination. Usually, and mistakenly, indigenous notions of territory tend to be reduced to the land; however, for many native communities, it also includes the waters of rivers, lakes and oceans; the air and ether; material and spiritual domains. The present seminar will engage this indigenous politico-cultural articulation in order to explore the ways poetics and politics of the territory have shaped not only indigenous views but also literary, cultural, and historical discourses from other ethnic, racial, cultural and social agents in Latin America, in conjunction with colonial and anti-colonial histories. Furthermore, we will also discuss neighboring categories such as space, place, and border (frontera) as well as the ways in which territorial claims have become juxtaposed with new processes of diasporization; in this regard, the seminar will problematize to what extent the politics and poetics of diasporas may diverge, or perhaps mirror, previously held notions of deterritorialization and nomadism. Finally, we will closely examine the acoustic, visual, geographical, racial, animal, human, bodily and spiritual senses of the territory as dimensions that play a critical role in the deployment of colonial and anti-colonial politics, engaging fields such as geography, sound studies, visual culture, environmental studies, and oceanic studies. Materials will include non-fiction prose, novels, poetry, chronicles, documentary video, video art, film, music, and historiographical and cartographical sources, especially from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.
Bibliography and Media Sources
Mariluán; Un drama en el campo (Chile, 1862) by Alberto Blest Gana
Una excursión a los indios ranqueles (Argentina, 1870) by Lucio Mansilla
Selections fromMaremoto (Chile, 1969) by Pablo Neruda
Selections from En Cuba (1972) by Ernesto Cardenal
Selections from Summa de Maqroll El Gaviero (Colombia, 1990;1973) by Alvaro Mutis
Imágenes paceñas (Bolivia, 1979) by Jaime Sáenz
Purgatorio (Chile, 1979) Raúl Zurita
Montacerdos (Peru, 1981) by Cronwell Jara
La esquina es mi corazón: crónica urbana (Chile, 1995) by Pedro Lemebel
La villa (Argentina, 2001) and Embalse (Argentina, 2003) by César Aira
El Ghetto (Argentina, 2003) by Tamara Kamenszain
Omnibus (Argentina, 2006) by Elvio Gandolfo
Selections fromPewma dungu / Palabras soñadas (2003) by Leonel Lienlaf
Selections fromÜl (2005) by Adriana Paredes Pinda
Selections fromMapurbe: Venganza a raíz (Chile, 2005) by David Añiñir
Phaqar Kirki o Cantos a las flores (Bolivia, 2006) by Elvira Espejo
Formas de volver a casa (Chile, 2011) by Alejandro Zambra
Volverse Palestina (USA/Chile, 2013) by Lina Meruane
2. Films and Audio-Visual Sources
Punalka: el Alto Bío-Bío (Chile, 1995) by Jeannette Paillan
El velo de Berta (Chile, 2005) by director Esteban Larraín
Nostalgia de la luz (Chile, 2010) by Patricio Guzmán
El vuelco del cangrejo (Colombia, film, 2011)
Yvy Maraey, Tierra sin Mal (Bolivia, 2013) by Juan Carlos Valdivia
La Tentación del Nixhix (Bolivia, 2015) by Gumercindo Yumani, Nicolas Ipamo, Ruben Dario Cayaduro, Martha Zelady, Marcelina Cárdenas y Franklin Gutiérrez (Bolivia)
3. Literary, Cultural, Theoretical, and Historical Essays
Selections from Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana (1928) by Jose Carlos Mariátegui
Selections from Anti-Oedipus (1972) by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
Indios, ejército y fronteras (1982) by David Viñas
“Diasporas” (1994) by James Clifford
Selections fromSpaces of Hope (USA, 2000) by David Harvey
Selections from“Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native” (Australia, 2006) by Patrick Wolfe
Selections from ¡… Escucha winka…! Cuatro ensayos sobre de historia nacional mapuche y un epílogo sobre el futuro (Chile, 2006) by Pablo Marimán et. al.
Selections fromTerritories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes (2008) by Arturo Escobar
Selections fromAcoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010) by Brandon Labelle
“The Prospect of Oceanic Studies” (2010) by Hester Blum
“Democracia liberal y democracia del Ayllu” from Violencia (re)encubiertas en Bolivia (2012) and Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: Una reflexión sobre prácticas y discursos descolonizadores (2010) by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Selections from Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (2013) by Douglas Kahn
Selections from Earth Politics: Religion, Decolonization, and Bolivia’s Indigenous Intellectuals (2014) by Waskar Ari
“Capítulo IV: La provincia: el mapa de la zona, un más allá de la fractura y la derrota” from Buenos Aires y las provincias. Relatos para desarmar (2014) by Laura Demaria.
LAS 370S • Indigenous Resurgence
40375 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.104
(also listed as SPN 356)
Examines how indigenous writers, artists, and cultural producers have established their own voices and languages through writing and other forms of media. Analysis of the indigenous artistic and intellectual production in concrete political and cultural contexts.
LAS 392S • Lit And Cult Life Of Radio
39715 • Fall 2015
Meets T 5:00PM-8:00PM BEN 1.106
(also listed as ILA 387)
Radio has played a major role in popular culture as well as in the subjective and collective imagination of individuals and communities in Latin America since the early twentieth century to the present. In this process, literary and cultural works have become shaped and immersed in radio culture, and radio has acquired a powerful literary, aesthetic, and cultural life. This seminar will focus on the ways in which this process has forged a radio-phonic imaginary in poetry, short stories, novels, chronicles, and essays within the field of literature as well as in the realm of the arts. In order to address these key questions, this course will examine how radio culture is literally and figuratively registered and performed in literary writing and in the arts. Strong focus will be put on the role of voices, narratives, sound aesthetics, auditory culture, language and the senses, the culture of radionovela or radioteatro, and the history of radio and sound technology in Latin America. The seminar will review and include a critical and theoretical corpus that is central to contemporary debates in the emerging cross-disciplinary field of sound studies, in conjunction with recent critical developments in literary and cultural studies, performance studies, media studies, speech act theory, and anthropology of the senses, anthropology of radio, phenomenology, and acoustic ecology. Our discussion will also link the literary and cultural life of radio to issues of local and national politics, ethnic, racial and gender representation, colonial histories, anti-colonial struggles, and questions of cultural imperialism and globalization.
This course will use the plus/minus grading scale for each of the assignments as well as for the final grade.
The final grade will be determined by the following requirements:
1. Attendance 15%
2. Participation in class discussions 25%
3. Research Paper (RP) 60%: an aprox.15-page research paper on a specific topic addressed in the seminar, reflecting the research interest of the student in sound culture. We will not schedule this research paper for the end of the semester but rather we will start working on it by the middle of the semester in order to set up a process of outlining, drafting, editing, and critical and self-critical revision around the task of writing a research paper. The instructor will closely follow this process with planned meetings with each member of the seminar. Our RP agenda is: proposal: 10%. preliminary draft: 20 %.; final draft: 20%.; abstract: 10%.
Graduate students with knowledge of Spanish are automatically admitted into the seminar. Students from the PhD in Spanish are required to write in Spanish; students from other graduate programs can write in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.
Readings and Bibliography
1. Critical and Theoretical Works
Barbero, Jesus Martin. De los medios a las mediaciones (1987)
Bessire, Lucas and Daniel Fisher. Eds. Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound (2012)
Bronfman, Alejandra and Andrew Grant Wood. Media, Sound & Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (2012)
Chow, Rey and James Steintrager, Eds. The Sense of Sound (2011).
Franz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism (1965).
Ihde, Don. Listening and Voice: Phenomenology of Sound (2008).
Kittler, Friedrich. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (trans. 1999; 1986)
Kun, Josh. Audiotopia: Music, Race and America (2005).
Lacan, Jacques. Radiophonie (1970)
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)
Nancy, Jean-Luc. Á l’écoute (2002).
Ong, Walter. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982).
Perloff, Marjorie and Craig Dworkin. The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound (2009).
Schafer, R. Murray. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and The Tuning of the World (1994) .
LAS 370S • Poetry For The 21st Century
39725 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 2.102
(also listed as SPN 355)
This course will analyze and discuss the place of poetry in the public and historical setting of the Southern Cone of Latin America—that is, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay—since the 1970s to the present.
ILA 380 • Intro To Lit And Cult Theory
46570 • Fall 2014
Meets W 5:00PM-8:00PM BEN 2.104
This course is an introductory survey of certain theories and discourses relevant to the study of Latin American and Iberian literatures and cultures. The course aims to introduce, discuss and analyze past and contemporary theoretical movements and their influence on and relevance for the analysis of Latin American and Iberian Literatures and Cultures. The readings will consist of selected passages from works of literary theory and criticism—Formalism, Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Deconstructionism, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Feminism-Gender and Queer Theory, Decolonization Theory, Media and Performance Studies and Globalization-U.S. Latin@ Studies. The course focuses on theories in the context of literature and culture as well as their relevance for interdisciplinary approaches in other fields. The course seeks to help students read and understand cultural texts as well as train them for specialized academic writing, critical analysis and critical thinking.
Our weekly meetings will be dedicated to each theoretical movement to analyze theories and authors in their socio-historical context. Students will have weekly oral presentations in English, Spanish or Portuguese, and will dedicate the first weeks of the course to preparing their weekly writings based on the readings. In their weekly writings students will summarize the main content of the article-as well as prepare two or three questions about the readings with the aim of addressing and discussing the main thesis or theories developed in it. By the second-week of the semester students will choose a mentor in their area of specialization with whom they will develop a professional relationship and who will work directly with the student in the development of the research paper. A draft of the research paper with a bibliography will be completed by the end of the first semester. Students will complete their final research paper in their second semester. Students will be graded by their concise analysis of theoretical readings, their writing, their oral presentations and their participation in class. Participation and attendance are required for all entering students.
REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:
1 term paper, 15-20 pages 30%
1 15-20-minute research topic presentation 20%
1 15-20-minute oral presentation 20%
Weekly writings 30%
TEXTBOOKS AND/OR CLASS MATERIALS:
A reader of theoretical works and authors
SPN 393T • Research Meths/Professionalztn
46985 • Spring 2013
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM BEN 1.118
SPN 380K • Sound Cultures In Latin Amer
46685 • Fall 2012
Meets W 9:30AM-12:30PM CAL 21
How does the relationship between sound, language and representation work in literary and cultural production in modern and contemporary Latin America? How does sound interweave with the language of the image? To what extent are our reading practices shaped by auditory memories and cultures? Do reading, viewing, and listening constitute interconnected fields of reception and interpretation in our sensorial and aesthetic experiences? How do sonic imaginaires relate to the construction of political, social and cultural identities and differences? In order to address these key questions, this course will examine how soundscapes are figuratively constructed and performed in literary texts as well as in oral and audiovisual media (film, radio, and music). This seminar will engage critical perspectives from literary criticism, cultural anthropology, philosophy, musicology, media theory, and performance studies; more specifically, we will review and discuss a set of theories that are central to the debates in the emerging field of sound studies.
Literary and cultural texts:
Selection of poems by César Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, and Alfonsina Storni
Andamios interiores, Poemas radiográficos (1922) de Manuel Maples Arce
Radio (poema inalámbrico en trece mensajes) (1924) de Luis Quintanilla
Canto kechwa (1938) by José María Arguedas
De donde son los cantantes (1967) de Severo Sarduy
El vampiro de la Colonia Roma (1979) by Luis Zapata
Sonata cafiola (2008) by Pedro Lemebel
“Wünül: concierto de pájaros” (video) and poems by Lorenzo Aillapán (Mapuche)
Je' bix k'in/Como el sol (1998) by Briceida Cuevas Con
“Tijeretazos” (short story) by Lina Meruane
Selection of films, music, and samples of radio shows
The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound (2009) by Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin eds.
Listening (2007) by Jean-Luc Nancy
Audiotopia: Music, Race and America (2005) by Josh Kun
Mexican Modernity: the Avant-Garde and the Technological Revolution (2005) by Rúben Gallo
Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity (2004) by Veit Erlmann
The Auditory Culture Reader (2003) by Michael Bull and Les Back, eds.
Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (2002) by Susan Stewart
Audio-vision: sound on screen (1994) by Michel Chion
Escribir en el aire: ensayos sobre la heterogeneidad socio-cultural en las literaturas andinas (1994) by Antonio Cornejo Polar
La voz y su huella: escritura y conflicto étnico-social en América Latina 1492-1988 (1991) by Martin Lienhard
Performance Theory by Richard Schechner (1988)
Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression (1982) by Steven Feld
Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982) by Walter Ong
The Pursuits of Signs by (1981) by Jonathan Culler
Listening and Voice: Phenomenology of Sound (1976) by Don Ihde
Grading Policy and Course Requirements
The final grade will be determined by the following requirements:
-Participation in class and Blackboard discussions 25%.
Students are expected to actively contribute to discussions in classroom as well as to participate in the Discussion Forum on the Blackboard, posting at least one question or commentary per week (before Sunday midnight, prior to next class) in regard to the texts, materials and/or issues under scrutiny in the course.
-Oral presentation in class 10%
-Mid-term critical essay 15% (a 5-7 page essay on any of the readings of the first part of the course). Deadline: November 16.
-Final Paper 40% (a 12-15 page research paper on a specific topic addressed in the seminar). Deadline: December 12.
Graduate students with knowledge of Spanish are automatically admitted in the seminar; advanced undergraduate students can only enroll with special permission of the instructor.
LAS 370S • Lit Figuratns In Multimed Age
40290 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.212
(also listed as SPN 352)
This course focuses on the figurations of sounds and images in literary language in the context of modern and contemporary Latin America. We will study and discuss the rhetorical ways in which the impressions of the senses, particularly in terms of the relationship between writing, visual and sound culture, take shape in literature. Therefore, the course will be organized around basic literary figures (such as ekphrasis, calligram, onomatopoeia, interjection, and synesthesia), aesthetic constructions (such as rhythm and image) and discursive performance (voice, monologue, dialogue, polyphony), across genres and historical periods. The organization of the course around these multiple procedures will offer the students a specific training in the critical use of concepts that are relevant for the analysis of language and literary representation. In addition, this discussion will allow us to look at literature as a discourse immersed in a multimedia ecology, in which there are a variety of dimensions of language that coexist and intertwine: the language of nature, animal sounds, human senses, oral community traditions, radio, music, painting, cinema, and digital media. Special attention will be paid to the crossings of Western, Criollo, Indigenous, and African traditions in the literary and extra-literary realm of sounds and images.
LAS 370S • Civilization Of Spanish Amer
40300-40325 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 3.132
(also listed as SPN 322K)
This course aims to provide a panoramic view on key issues in the cultural history of Latin America. Our emphasis will be on the cultures of power relations and social change in the region, with particular attention to the role of intellectual production, media and cultural expression in these processes. Within this framework, we will scrutinize the following topics: cultures of [power (i.e., colonialisms, patriarchalism, homophobia, racisms, paternalism, authoritarianisms, populisms); anti-colonial struggles; nation-state formation; slavery; indigenous cultures and peoples; cultures of authoritarianism and democracies; women, sexual minorities, and social change; and the new cultures of immigration, diasporas, and globalization.
Through the critical scrutiny of the aforementioned topics, this course will pursue the following specific goals,
- To understand the heterogeneity of histories and cultures that form part of Latin America across historical periods and geographical boundaries;
- To train students in the use of conceptual and technical tools for the creative analysis and interpretation of cultural subjects and their representation in language;
- To provides students methodological tools for academic writing and critical reading;
- To practice speaking skills through a brief oral presentation in group discussion
- To use the Benson Collection in order to support the writing of the essay for the class; and,
- To be able to respectfully share, discuss, reflect on and self-critique ideas.
LAS 370S • The Imagined Andes
LAS 392S • Indig Worlds Andes/Sthrn Cone
40430 • Fall 2011
Meets T 1:00PM-4:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 380K)
The Criollo and Indigenous Subjects in the Andes and the Southern Cone
This course examines the constructions of criollo subjects as well as the representation and self-representation of indigenous peoples in the literary and cultural production of the Andes and the Southern Cone of Latin America. Historically, we will cover the period beginning with the founding of nation-states in early nineteenth-century to the current era of globalization. We will analyze the ways in which the sujeto popular criollo is constructed and imagined in canonical literary and cultural texts, the indigenista representations of native peoples, and the practices of self-representation in texts linked to Quechua, Aymara, Mapuche and Native Amazonian traditions and authors. Readings will include works that are associated with trends such as gauchesca, Peruvian popular traditions, criollismo, indianismo, indigenismo, and autonomous indigenous poetics. We will study songs, legends, testimony, letters, poetry, short stories, and novels. Paintings, comics, films, lyrics, and radio shows will be also included.
In order to investigate the issues of coloniality, territory, recognition and self-recognition, representation and self-representation, some of the key questions we will address include the following: How do oral and written traditions interrelate in both criollo and indigenous texts? What is the relationship of these non-indigenous and indigenous forms of representation to dominant “national” constructions of the literary canon? What are the politics of recognition, self-recognition and agency that emerge from the texts under scrutiny? How do they relate to the framework of the hegemonic nation-states and issues of “internal colonialism” in the region? Within the context of modern and contemporary times, to what extent do these literatures subject their representation and agency to the universality of a Westernizing, neocolonial criollo nation-state? And finally, to what extent do these texts engage with the potential of “autonomous” indigenous politics of territory—in particular, that of ayllu (communal land in the Andes), tawantinsuyu (the ancient Inca territory), and wallmapu (the notion of Mapuche nationhood)?
The final grade will be determined by the following requirements:
Participation in class discussions 15%
Mid-term paper 15% (a 5-7 page essay on any of the readings of the first part of the course)
Presentation in class (on the research topic for the final paper) 10%
Final Paper 50% (a 12-15 page research paper on a specific topic addressed in the seminar)
Martin Fierro by José Hernández
Selections from Tradiciones peruanas by Ricardo Palma
Manifestos by Tupaj Katari (selection)
Cartas mapuches (selection)
Una excursión a los indios ranqueles by Lucio Mansilla
Selections from Cumandá o un drama entre salvajes by Juan León Mera
Raza de bronce by Alcides Arguedas
Selections from Canto kechwa by José María Arguedas
Selections of poems by Andrés Alencastre
Los ríos profundos by José María Arguedas
Mi despertar by Ana María Condori (Aymara)
Selections of Contemporary Quechua poets (Dida Aguirre, Eduardo Ninamango, Odi Gonzales)
Selections of Contemporary Mapuche poets (Leonel Lienlaf, Elicura Chihuailaf, Jaime Huenún, Liliana Ancalao, Roxana Miranda Rupailaf)
Native Amazonian literature from Ecuador and Peru (Course Reader)
Literary and Cultural Criticism:
Poesía quechua by Jesús Lara
Escribir en el aire by Antonio Cornejo Polar
El género gauchesco by Josefina Ludmer
Indios, ejército y frontera and Literatura argentina y realidad política by David Viñas
Oprimidos pero no vencidos: Luchas del campesinado aymara y qhechwa de Bolivia, 1900-1980 by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Supplementary theoretical and critical materials (Course Reader)
Graduate students with knowledge of Spanish are automatically admitted in the seminar; advanced undergraduate students can only enroll with special permission of the instructor.
LAS 392S • Aesthetics And Polit Of Voices
40830 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 380K)
SPN 380K Graduate Seminar Spring 2011
Aesthetics And Politics Of Voices
Conducted in Spanish
Listed as: SPN 380k; LAS 392S Course Unique Number: 47255
Schedule of Class Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00pm-3:30pm
Room: BEN 1.118
Instructor: Prof. Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Friday 10:00 to 12:00; Office: BEN 3.146
In the field of literature, we often talk about the subjects of literary texts as “speakers” and readers as “audience.” The written domain of literature is imagined as a scene of speaking and listening. With this in mind, this graduate seminar will examine the ways in which voices and sounds work in literary language and representation. Key questions to be addressed are: How does the representation of voices and sounds enrich the aesthetic and sensorial effects of literary texts? What is the role of silence in literary language? To what extent is literature a sensorium of the sounds, noises and voices that constitute public imagination in specific historical contexts? How do writers’ ideologies, cultural backgrounds, locations, ethnicities or gender/sex identities impact the types of voices and sounds that are present in their literary works? What is the role of literary genres in this process? How do literary representations of voice and sound relate to other sound media, such as the gramophone, radio, the telephone, film, or music?
Our discussion will be anchored in the study of literary texts from modern and contemporary Latin America. Theoretical materials will be drawn from literary criticism, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, and media studies.
Current Research Project
The Sounds of an Indigenous Nation:
Poetry, Radio, and Music in Contemporary Mapuche Culture
in Argentina and Chile
The language of the Mapuche people is known as Mapudungun, a name which conjoins two distinctly polyvalent terms: mapu, meaning land, territory, country, or universe; and, dungun, meaning language, voice, sound, or sense. My work over the past few years on contemporary Mapuche culture, literature, and media has centered on the many linkages between sound, language, and representation. Within this framework, I am currently drafting a manuscript entitled The Sounds of an Indigenous Nation: Poetry, Radio, and Music in Contemporary Mapuche Culture in Argentina and Chile.
My study explores the sonorous imaginaire that emerges from the poetic texts, radio programs, and music produced by contemporary Mapuche writers, artists and communicators from Argentina and Chile (1980s-2000s). In this study, I argue that sound plays a pivotal role in the construction of the Mapuche linguistic and cultural imagination. Contemporary Mapuche culture is constructed and made manifest through soundscapes based on a diverse range of resources—from nature to technological devices. In this context, my work challenges the anthropocentric approaches which focus exclusively on the orality-writing dyad, approaches most commonly found in the interpretations of Latin American indigenous cultures (Antonio Cornejo Polar, 1994; Martin Lienhard, 1991).
The first part of my study examines how contemporary Mapuche poets use writing to perform the sounds they experience at the modern crossroads of rural and urban landscapes. From the late 1980s to the 2000s, a vibrant movement of Mapuche poets began to garner literary visibility and prominence through the publication of individual books of poetry and anthologies. I particularly analyze the works of poets Lorenzo Aillapán; Leonel Lienlaf; Juan Pablo Hurimilla; and Liliana Ancalao. For example, Aillapán uses various modes of onomatopoeia and iteration to perform the “sound language” emitted by native birds. Lienlaf’s poetry incorporates the tradition of the Mapuche chant, ül, translating this oral genre into writing in order to evoke ancestral cosmologies. Lienlaf then shatters this universe of harmonic sounds by figuratively introducing the incongruous machinery noises of the forestry industry that has intruded upon Mapuche territories over the past thirty years. Adding to this process a much more hybrid texture of sounds, Huirimilla’s poetry presents a distinct array of cultural sounds, registering the echoes of the music and radio shows that form part of the contemporary auditory culture of Mapuches in both rural and urban areas. Finally, Ancalao’s poetry registers the difficulties of constructing a Mapuche voice within a highly Westernized Argentine literary and cultural environment. By analyzing the construction of soundscapes within literary texts by these Mapuche authors, my work breaks important new ground in the field of Latin American literary studies.
The second part of my study examines on Mapuche radio broadcasts. I examine Wixage anai!, a program aired on Radio Tierra in Santiago, Chile, as well as Radio Wallon and Werken Küruf, two community radio station in Chile’s southern Temuco region. I then juxtapose my analysis of these radio shows with a study of the mini-programs of the Mapurbe Communication Team from Bariloche in Argentina’s Río Negro province, and Radio Wajzugun, a Mapuche station broadcasting from San Martin de los Andes in the also Argentine province of Neuquen. My analysis of Mapuche radio in Argentina and Chile will open a new path in the field of Indigenous Studies by attending to the linkages between the performance of sound identities and the politics of Mapuche nationhood (wallmapu) that constitute the metanarrative of these radios shows in both sides of the Andes.
The third part of my study focuses on Wechekeche Ñi Trawun, a band of young Mapuche musicians from Santiago who achieved popularity in Mapuche communities in Chile and southern Argentina over the recent years. Their music incorporates the sounds of nature and of native traditions while also introducing the contemporary and urban aesthetics of rock, rap, and reggaeton. I investigate how these Mapuche musicians juxtapose Western electronic instrumentation with the sounds of traditional native instruments like the kull kull, trutruka and kultrún. Through this stylistic and technological mixture, they perform an ambivalent position toward globalization by fusing a discourse of Mapuche nationalism with an aesthetic cosmopolitanism.
The objective of my study is to understand the creative ways in which Mapuche cultural producers assemble indigenous and non-indigenous sonic resources to navigate through contemporary media ecologies. I focus on literature, radio and music because these three types of media have played a vital role in the Mapuche cultural, political and social movements of the recent decades. To examine this diverse process, I rely on the methodological approaches from the field of poetics, discourse analysis, aesthetic and cultural criticism, and performance studies. These methods allow me to carry out close readings to unveil the nuances of languages, styles and sound aesthetics in contemporary Mapuche poetry, radio, and music. Through this study, I aim to build conceptual and methodological bridges between two emerging fields, Sound Studies and Indigenous Studies.
Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante
Austin, Fall 2011.