In his introduction to Globalization and the Decolonial Option (2010), Walter Mignolo invites us to consider decolonial thinking “as a particular kind of critical theory and the de-colonial option as a specific orientation of doing.” As a type of critical theory, decolonial thinking becomes an option from which we can be critical of existing master/universal narratives that pervade in society and academia. Because the modernity/coloniality/decoloniality project seeks to avoid becoming yet another master theory, we are confronted with the challenge of not falling into the trap of thinking about coloniality (colonial matrix of power) “as a model, a theory or an object of study.” To prevent this from happening, we ought to delink ourselves from “the hegemonic and Eurocentred matrix of knowledge.” Likewise, coloniality implies delinking our thinking from disciplinary constrictions and not thinking about modernity/coloniality/decoloniality from the strict vantage points of established disciplines. Instead, the project preoccupies itself with unearthing and articulating alternative ways of thinking from its dwellings in double consciousness, mestiza consciousness, border thinking, subaltern epistemologies, borders and peripheries of master narratives, and the undersides/darker sides of modernity.
With this in mind, the panel invites papers that take up these critical challenges, particularly in relation to the disciplinary demands of Latin American and Latina/o literary studies. How might decolonial thinking help us to think beyond the current academic/scholarly boundaries we face in either Latin American or Latina/o literary studies? How might decolonial thinking help us collapse the disciplinary boundaries that separate Latin American and Latina/o literary studies as distinct fields of inquiry? Are there ways in which modernity/ coloniality / decoloniality might generate new critical tools or methodologies to investigate cultural productions that can be simultaneously situated in either field of literary study? In what ways might decolonial thinking help us deal with cultural manifestations that belong to spaces in-between Latin American and Latina/o literary studies and not specifically in either one? How might the axes of the colonial matrix of power (control of economy, control of authority, control of gender and sexuality, control of subjectivity and knowledge) help us address current debates in Latin American and/or Latina/o literary studies? How might decolonial thinking help us reflect about the place of Latin American and/or Latina/o literary studies within current discourses about world literature? Papers that engage with any of these questions based on the analysis of specific literary texts or case studies are particularly welcome. Approximations to the writings and concepts of the members of the modernity/coloniality/decoloniality working group or other specific problems germane to the topic are also welcome.
Please submit your abstracts by Monday, November 1st, 2011 to: <>
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