Latin American Textualities (under contract with University of Arizona Press for publication in 2018) brings together a wide range of scholars to investigate the broad field of textual scholarship in the region. As a group of investigators of textual studies and Latin American cultures and literatures, our book explores themes of textualities through a variety of theoretical lenses with a focus on the fundamental role that the text and its materiality, technological manifestations and production has on Latin American culture, history and identity. The body of the book is divided into three distinct sections: “Reading History through Textuality,” “Textual Artifacts and Materialities” and “Digital Textualities, Media and Editing,” bookended by an introduction by the editors and an afterword.
“Reading History through Textuality” confirms that the foundation of textual cultures in Latin America is based on an understanding of the complexities of the region’s history. As pre-Columbian cultures were dramatically transformed by colonialism, new forms of symbolic expression were created, disseminated and continue to evolve. This section investigates the formation, continual renewal and adjustment of histories through studies such as an exploration of indigenous grammar books as a tool of colonization, and an investigation of representations of reading in Mexican art, literature and popular culture during the last 50 years.
Part two of the volume, “Textual Artifacts and Materialities,” probes specific contexts of textual materialities and describes instances of archival features that underscore cultural heterogeneity and hybridity across the region. Chapters include studies on the influences of Italian, French, German, and Dutch costume books in a seventeenth-century indigenous manuscript from Peru to the textuality of audio clips at the turn of the nineteenth century and the exploration of visual culture in recent Argentinean science fiction. The divergent representations of culture and the processes of historical memory establish a desire to perpetuate certain constructions that unify the region as well as emphasize regional contexts.
The book concludes with a section titled “Digital Textualities, Media and Editing.” Hypertextual representations of Latin American letters have been preceded by the continuous destabilization of textual forms since pre-Columbian periods. This section traverses how digital media continues to revise Latin American cultural histories and artistic expression. We problematize linear models of digitally editing through complex and non-linear colonial manuscripts and seek to understand how someone like Jorge Luis Borges’ work symbolically addresses issues relating to the mass storage of data information. Latin American textual history and its transition into digital formats provide new and important perspectives on the complexities of imagining future textual formats and readerships.
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Associate Professor of Spanish
West Texas A&M University
areynolds at wtamu dot mail dot edu
Assistant Professor of Spanish
University of Mississippi
hjallen at olemiss dot edu