Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Romance Languages

First Advisor

Román de la Campa

Abstract

This dissertation, La insólita tropicalidad de la poesía argentina, identifies the ways in which major contemporary Argentine poets articulate what I call a poetics of tropicality, anchored in tropes largely present in Caribbean and Brazilian aesthetics. In it, I draw a critical framework that goes beyond the disciplinary boundaries that define North/South cultural and political relations. Specifically, I foreground the mobilization of exotic tropes in Argentina, which has historically built its national identity in contrast to the tropics in its desire to present the nation as part of the Global North. I argue that Enrique Molina, Néstor Perlongher, and Washington Cucurto reshaped the traditional meaning of tropicality, a fundamentally foreign concept to Argentina, as a means of articulating an intra-Latin American poetics that includes national subjectivities underrepresented through traditional Eurocentric channels. I examine mainly poetry—the privileged art form for such tropes—but also prose and anthropology. Through this corpus, I demonstrate that the natural properties attributed to the tropics from scientific, medical and philosophical discourses can ironically function as highly movable artifacts capable of challenging stereotypes based on geographical determinism. This poetics of tropicality—a multisensory material and intellectual experience—provides a model for rethinking Latin American diversity: not as the appearance of a radical other, but as an encounter between subtle differences.

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