Chronotopes: Cultures of Space and Time in Latin America After Modernity


In two thematic blocks—“Ends of Landscape” (taught by Jens Andermann) and “Time after Time” (taught by Natalia Brizuela)—this seminar traces some of the aesthetic and theoretical effects of the contemporary crisis and transformation of modern space-time regimes in Latin American literary and artistic production in recent years. The seminar also links these effects to the aesthetic and critical genealogies that have reflected on and anticipated this crisis throughout the twentieth century.


  • Instructors:  Prof. Jens Andermann and Prof. Natalia Brizuela
  • Colloquium Moderator:  Prof. Carlos J. Alonso

Prof. Jens Andermann (U of Zurich) and Prof. Natalia Brizuela (UC Berkeley) will lead respectively the first and second halves of this graduate seminar. Prof. Andermann’s sessions will meet once weekly from February 1st to March 7th. Prof. Brizuela will teach the second half, from March 21st until April 25th. The seminar will meet for a two-hour weekly session, which the instructors will join via WebEx. Both scholars will travel to campus for a panel discussion at Casa Hispánica on May 2nd.



Since Stephen Kern published his classic analysis of the techno-economic, aesthetic and philosophical production of the spatio-temporal experience of modernity, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (1983), the ‘spatial turn’ in the late 1980s and the debates on the ‘end of history’ following the demise of the Soviet bloc have led to an exponential array of critiques of space, place and temporality across a number of disciplines:  from literary theory and film studies to history, contemporary art, postcolonial theory, anthropology and queer theory. Debates around climate change and other now undeniable environmental crises of the present, the complex temporalities of financial capitalism (speculation, debt, new forms of labor and the commodification of affect and leisure) and the experience of a massive acceleration of the time, compression of space and spread of non-places in the all-encompassing neoliberal regime, have spurned this critical concern. In part, this crisis of modernity’s spatio-temporal regimes under the impact of what is (sometimes too quickly) subsumed under the idea of globalization, has also called into question the specificity of Latin America as a ‘colonial periphery’ and as a ‘developing region’ or even as the vanguard of revolutionary decolonization. Indeed, to think Latin America as a region somehow removed from, or discontinuous with, the space-time of ‘the West’ (or in fact, the industrialized trans-Atlantic ‘North’) nonetheless still implied a reliance on teleological and centered experiences of modernity elsewhere, from which Latin American difference could then be distinguished. How does the exhaustion of modern ideas and experiences of space and time impact on contemporary Latin America? How does it redistribute space-place constellations and the non-simultaneous temporalities associated with these?

The first section of the course is dedicated to the modern challenges to, and reassertions of, the landscape-form as a means of capturing the ‘nature’ of the New World’, including its literary, cinematic, performative and (counter) monumental interventions and invocations; the second section addresses contemporary critical debates around time while closely exploring Latin American art, films and literature from the second half of the twentieth century that take up time as a weapon for critique. Objects and works to be studied include the gardens and landscapes designed by Roberto Burle Marx and Luis Barragán, Brazilian Neoconcretism, the Chilean ‘Ciudad Abierta’ collective of poets and architects, films by Lisandro Alonso, Paz Encina, Nicolás Pereda and Lucrecia Martel, literary texts by Juan Rulfo, José María Arguedas, César Aira, Mario Bellatin, Diamela Eltit and Raúl Zurita, and artworks/installations by Maria Thereza Alves, Luis Fernando Benedit, Nuno Ramos, Rosângela Rennó, Oscar Muñoz and Adriana Varejão, among others.

Last Updated 1 year ago