Francisco Goldman and the Political Imagination of Borderlands

CGS Brown Bag Series
Mar 15, 2017
12:15 PM to 01:15 PM
463 Burrowes

Dr. Judith Sierra-Rivera, Penn State

In this presentation, I will focus on Francisco Goldman’s journalist pieces published during the 1980s and 1990s in the US. As I will explain, Goldman's heritage, life experiences, and travels have given him the unique opportunity to easily move back and forth between the Central American and United States (US) contexts. I will argue that this is a geographical and cultural movement that creates a "borderland" locus of enunciation. From this imagined borderland, Goldman mediates and translates between the histories, politics, and cultures of the US and Central American peoples. More specifically, since the 1980s, Goldman has functioned as a kind of "cultural translator" between the US and Central American readerships of alternative and mainstream media. By taking advantage of every possible outlet, Goldman has constantly documented and asked hard questions about local oligarchies in the region and the unequal relationship between the US and Central America, too. As I will demonstrate, the final effect of his interventions is the imagination of an emotional community of readers that can understand the complexity of Central America, its problematic political relation with the US, and the importance of the isthmus in understanding the idea of a continental continuity between the Hemispheric Americas (that is, América).

Judith Sierra-Rivera is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latina/o Studies at Penn State. She specializes in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx history of ideas and intellectual history. Her research and teaching interests analyze these areas through the analysis of social space, race, gender, sexuality, and affects. She is currently completing her first book-length project, Affective Intellectuals: Space of Catastrophe and Emotive Discourses in the Americas. This book studies what she calls the “affective locus of enunciation” in intellectual discourses. Considering crónicas, essays, autobiographies, radio performances, and blogs from Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central America, and the United States, this book defines a different kind of public intellectual by analyzing five authors (Carlos Monsiváis, Pedro Lemebel, Josean Ramos, Sandra Álvarez Ramírez, and Francisco Goldman) who address material and symbolic catastrophes in the post-1985 neoliberal state mode of production. Her analysis illustrates how these authors engage with everyday life and popular memories through a diversity of media. In so doing, their productions speak to an affective “we,” that is, a community sharing thoughts and feelings.

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