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Thresholds of IlliteracyTheory, Latin America, and the Crisis of Resistance$
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Abraham Acosta

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257096

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257096.001.0001

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Thresholds of Illiteracy, or the Deadlock of Resistance in Latin America

Thresholds of Illiteracy, or the Deadlock of Resistance in Latin America

(p.26) 1 Thresholds of Illiteracy, or the Deadlock of Resistance in Latin America
Thresholds of Illiteracy

Abraham Acosta

Fordham University Press

This chapter traces the emergence of postcolonial theory in Latin American studies during the 1990s, a disciplinary shift that sparked a serious and hotly contested debate over the terms and conditions of intellectual exchange between metropolitan institutions of interpretation in Europe and the United States and those in Latin America. Latin American scholars opposed to this disciplinary trend drew attention to the foundational singularity and irreducibility of Latin American history and identity; asserted the categorical impropriety of drawing from European theoretical models—as well as postcolonial intellectual production from former British colonies—to reflect on Latin America; and appealed to Latin America’s own intellectual tradition as a means to counter and resist what are perceived as homogenizing and subordinating globalized narratives. The chapter returns to these debates in order to trace the political implications and cultural effects of this disciplinary deadlock. It introduces the central thesis and lays the theoretical and critical groundwork for establishing the relation between these larger claims and the claims made in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   postcolonial theory, Latin American studies, intellectual exchange, Latin American history

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