Radical Energy Narratives In Argentina And Brazil

Nancy Lee Roane, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation uncovers underlying arguments in Argentine and Brazilian media from 1971-2017 about why (and how) humans consume energy to the detriment of the planet. I identify films and novels that challenge colonial “male energy narratives” (Nye 1993) through re-writing canonical texts about “civilization” in the Southern Cone such as Martín Fierro (José Hernández) and the “Manifesto Antropófago [Cannibalist Manifesto]” (Oswald de Andrade). What I term “radical energy narratives” craft ethical and ecological responses to the present climate crisis through prioritizing energy transfers over accumulation, return on investment, or extraction. This flips the perspective from how humans use energy to how energy uses us, reframing life as a series of relationships born out of energy moving through and then moving on. “Radical energy narratives” frame non-teleological energy expenditure as joyful, creative, connected, and ephemeral. Authors and film directors include César Aira, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Lucrecia Martel, Marcelo Gomes, Karim Aïnouz, and Gabriela Cabezón Cámara. This project is in dialogue with Georges Bataille, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Donna Haraway, Dominic Boyer, Jane Bennett, Gilbert Simondon, and Gilles Deleuze, among others.