Rethinking Aesthetics and Politics in Latin America


This course focuses on the problem of Aesthetics and Politics in contemporary Latin American cultural practices (literature, films, new experiences). As the topic is part of the modern tradition in Latin American culture, the course will revisit its genealogy and update the theoretical reflection. The students will read canonical and contemporary theoretical texts and they will be able to reflect on the current debates on Art, Politics, Intellectuals. This course will give them tools to understand contemporary cultural phenomena in Latin America.

The purpose of the course is to study the relationship between Aesthetics and Politics, its genealogy and the updated discussions on the field. In Latin American culture this relationship was crucial during the twentieth century; at present times most of the works of the main contemporary artists update political potentialities of art and Aesthetics. The course necessary will review both aspects: the theoretical reflection and the new works. From Benjamin, Althusser, Debord to Badiou, Rancière, Latour, Negri we will discuss the constellation of problems around Aesthetics and Politics: Modernity, Avant-Garde, Representation, Revolution, Commitement, Materialy and Immateriality in Art, Mimesis and Institutions, Artists and Intellectuals. We will read texts by Mario Bellatin, César Aira, Antonio José Ponte, Alan Pauls, Fernanda Laguna, Mario Levrero, films by Federico León and Eduardo Coutinho and art projects by Vick Muniz and Marcos López.

Last Updated 3 years ago


Be registered in a graduate program.


  • Adorno, Theodor. The Culture Industry. London and New York, Routledge, 1991.
  • Aira, César. Duchamp en México. Buenos Aires, Simurg, 1997.
  • Avelar, Idelber. The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Fiction and the Task of Mourning. Durham and London, Duke University Press, 1999.
  • Badiou, Alain. Fifteen theses on contemporary art.
  • Benjamin, Walter. “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Illuminations. Edited and with an Introduction by Hannah Arendt. Translated by Harry Zorn. New York: Schoken Books, 1968.
  • Bellatin, Mario. Congreso de dobles. Escritores duplicados: narradores mexicanos en París. Paris, Landucci, 2003.
  • Bellatin, Mario. The Hundred Thousand Books of Bellatin. Die Hunderttausend Bücher von Bellatin. Documenta 13, 2012.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. La distinction. a social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge/Mass., Harvard University Press, 1984.
  • Buck-Morss, Susan. Dreamworld and Catastrophe: the Passing of Mass Utopia in the East and West. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 2000.
  • Castro, Fidel. “Palabras a los intelectuales” [discurso] 1961.
  • Debord, Guy. Society of Spectacle. Detroit, Black and Red, 1977.
  • De Rosso, Ezequiel. La máquina de pensar en Mario. Ensayos sobre la obra de Levrero. Buenos Aires, Eterna Cadencia, 2013.
  • Derrida, Jacques. Specters of Marx : the state of the debt, the work of mourning, and the New international. New York, Routledge, 1994.
  • Franco, Jean. The Decline & Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America in the Cold War. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, Harvard University Press, 2002
  • Foucault, Michel. Ethics: subjectivity and truth. Edited by Paul Rabinow. New York, New Press, 1997.
  • Gilman, Claudia.  Entre la pluma y el fusil. Debates y dilemas del escritor revolucionario en América Latina. Buenos Aires, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003.
  • Gramsci, Antonio. Diarios de la cárcel. México, FCE, 2004.
  • Groys, Boris. “Under Suspicion: A Phenomelogy of the Media”.
  • Huyssen, Andreas. After the great divide: Modernism, mass culture, postmodernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Electronic resource, Butler Library.
  • Laddaga, Reinaldo. “Introducción”. Estética de la emergencia: la formación de otra cultura de las artes.
  • Laddaga, Reinaldo. Espectáculos de realidad: Ensayo sobre la narrativa latinoamericana de las últimas dos décadas. Buenos Aires, Adriana Hildalgo,
  • Laguna, Fernanda. Interview by Inés Katzentein. Otra Parte. Número 28, Otoño/Invierno, 2013.
  • Latour, Bruno. We have never been modern. New York ; London : Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993.
  • Ludmer, Josefina.
  • Lukacs, Georg. History and class consciousness; studies in Marxist dialectics. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1971.
  • Lury, Celia. Consumer Culture. New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 2012.
  • Masiello, Francine. The Art of Transition: Latin American Culture and Neoliberal Crisis. Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Moreiras, Alberto. “Introduction: Conditions of Latin Americanist Critique”. The Exhaustion of Difference: The Politics of Latin American Cultural Studies. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Negri, Antonio. Insurgencies : constituent power and the modern state. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
  • Rancière, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics. The distribution of the Sensible. Translated with and Introduction by Gabriel Rockhill. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. [Le partage du sensible: Esthétique et Politique, 2000].
  • Rancière, Jacques. The Emancipated Spectator. London, Verso, 2009.
  • Rojas, Rafael. Tumbas sin sosiego: Revolución, disidencia y exilio del intelectual cubano. Barcelona, Anagrama, 2006
  • Angel Rama (ed.).  Más allá del boom: Literatura y mercado. Buenos Aires, Folios, 1984.
  • Richard, Nelly. La insubordinación de los signos. Santiago, Francisco Zegers, 1989.
  • Sinclair, John and Anna Cristina Pertierra (eds). Consumer Culture in Latin America. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • Sorensen, Diana. A Turbulent Decade Remembered: Scenes from the Latin American Sixties. Stanford University Press, 2007.
  • Zizek, Slavov. Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions on the (Mis)use of a Concept. London, Verso, 2001.

External Resources

Alain Badiou

Boris Groys

Eloísa Cartonera

Marcos López


Vik Muniz