Space and Psyche in Contemporary Latinx/Latin American Culture

(Panel)


Spanish/Portuguese / American/Diaspora

Thomas Conners (University of Pennsylvania)

This panel sets out to discuss the ways in which subjects form while navigating the dynamic environments they inhabit. With movement across the Americas in constant flux, contemporary Latin American and Latinx literatures offer insight into this border-crossing psyche. Recent novels depict the diverse reactions subjects exhibit in forming, surviving, and thriving. For example, the heroine of Yuri Herrera’s Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (2011) comes to terms with her subjectivity in her journey north, while the journalist of Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Insensatez (2004) finds his conception of self shaken after his move. In a similar way that the protagonist of Héctor Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier (1995) is unable to escape the Guatemalan trauma he sought to leave behind upon traveling to the US, the protagonist of Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper (2005) finds no respite from abandonment and loss of subjecthood after crossing from Mexico into California. Using psychoanalysis as a theoretical framework to analyze and problematize subject and identity formation, the following questions are raised: how do changes in physical space affect psychic space? How is a subject formed when straddling borders, languages, racial identities, and national affiliations? What are the formal, affective, and aesthetic manifestations of this in literature? This panel looks to examine the psychological implications of crossing, moving around, and standing in the spaces in 20th and 21st century Latin American and Latinx texts.




Psychoanalysis ponders the ways in which subjects form while navigating the dynamic environments they inhabit. With movement across the Americas in constant flux, contemporary Latin American and Latinx literatures offer insights into this border-crossing psyche. Examining the implications of crossing, moving around, and standing in the spaces, we ask: how is a subject formed when straddling borders, languages, racial identities, and national affiliations? What are the formal, affective, and aesthetic manifestations of this in literature?