Seminar on Contemporary Latin American Democracies

A Glasscock Center Three-Year Seminar (2013-2016)

Seminar Director
ALBERTO MOREIRAS, Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies, Texas A&M University

Seminar Activities | Seminar Descripition

Seminar Activities • Spring 2016

coldwar-theoryThursday, 28 April 2016, 9:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.
From the Cold War to Theory Wars. A Symposium on Latin American Thought.
311 Glasscock Building

Seminar Activities • Fall 2014

Event posterFriday, 24 October 2014, 9-11:45 a.m.
Symposium: New Directions in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies
Abraham Acosta | University of Arizona
Erin Graff Zivin | University of Southern California
Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, Room 3.225, UT Dallas

Thursday, 30 October 2014, 4 – 6 p.m. CANCELLED
Gramatología del acontecimiento
Raúl Prada Alcoreza | Public intellectual
130 Academic Building

Friday, 31 October 2014, 4 – 6 p.m. CANCELLED
Epistemologia politica y narrativa
Raúl Prada Alcoreza | Public intellectual
130 Academic Building

Seminar Description

The proliferation of new left-wing governments in Latin America over the last fifteen years marks the breakdown of the Washington consensus and the subcontinental end of the dominance of the neoliberal policies that had marked the states of Latin American democracy since the public debt crisis of 1982. Latin America confronts today the possibility of various populist revolutions, variously termed under the concepts of the “Communal State,” “Andean Capitalism,”  a resurgent “Peronism,” or even so-called “Movement Communism” by some of the political agents to the left of governing configurations.

The possibilities for a deterioration of the Latin American political system are therefore at least equal to the possibilities for a reinvention of Latin American democracy on a large scale. What is behind all of this is not simply a realignment of political and social elites, but a veritable pressure from below in a situation of epochal crisis in social and political legitimacy. The traditional conceptual pair “persuasion + coercion” that established the political system of modernity is giving way, in public perception, to a situation of contested domination. As a region defined by its colonial and postcolonial history and with endemic social inequality, it isonly natural that Latin America has become today a symptomatic point of pressure for the political future of humanity as a whole.

A significant geopolitical factor in that context is the effective end of a North American hegemony that had been in place since the development of the Monroe Doctrine in the early 19th century. While North American hegemony is no longer efficient in the subhemisphere—indeed, the US has been unable even to alleviate the narco conflicts that have threatened and might threaten again to drive the Mexican state to collapse—, regional powers like Brazil or Venezuela have proven unable to fill in the geopolitical void. We term this “posthegemony.” Latin American states are embarking on a road to the future in a situation of fragile posthegemonic democracy that could, on the one hand, evolve towards goals of social justice and wealth redistribution or, on the other hand, towards despotic totalitarianism and political and economic unfreedom.

We propose to embark upon a sustained collective reflection on some of the fundamental underlying practical and theoretical issues.  The issue of indigeneity—its reconceptualization, its role in the democratic polis, its figures of citizenship—is prominent among them, and so is the problem of democratic representation, the autonomy of different social sectors, including the proliferation of informal sectors in countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia, and the power of the different presidential leaders.   This seminar will study the contemporary situation in Venezuela under (post)chavismo, the neoextractivist policies for economic development in Correa´s Ecuador and Morales´ Bolivia, the fight for control of the media in Kirschner´s Argentina, the narcowars in Mexico and Central America, student revolts in Chile, and other situations. It will study the political implications of the notion of posthegemony, in counterpoint to Laclau´s hegemony theory as the limit of the political itself.  It will study the reverberations of contemporary political and theoretical discussions for cultural production in the arts, in literature, and in social networks.   In sum, it will focus on contemporary problems in Latin American democracy.

Past Activities • 2013-14 Academic Year

Spring 2014

Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 2-5:15 p.m. Yannis Stavrakakis event April 23
“Populism and Democratic Theory”
Yannis Stavrakakis
| Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Memorial Student Center, MSC 2504



2014 4 - Encuentro VillalobosFriday, 28 March 2014, 1-5 p.m. 
“Soberanìas en suspenso: Imaginaciòn y violencia en América Latina”
Sergio Villalobos  | Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American
and Latino Studies, University of Arkansas
402 Rudder Tower


Event flyerFriday, 28 February 2014, 1-5 p.m. 
Panel Discussion
Arguedas/Vargas Llosa Dilemas y ensamblajes
Mabel Moraña
| Professor of Spanish and International and Area Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
402 Rudder Tower, Texas A&M University

Fall 2013

Tuesday, 10 September 2013, 1 p.m. 
Initial Meeting
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building
Lunch will be served. RSVP to Elsa Escamilla so we can plan for lunch accordingly.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013, 1 p.m. 
Seminar Meeting
Discussion of Garcia Linera’s Forma valor y forma comunidad.
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building

Tuesday, 5 November 2013, 1 p.m. 
Seminar Meeting
Discussion of Garcia Linera’s Forma valor y forma comunidad.
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building

15-16 November 2013
“Democracy in the Andes: The Work of Alvaro Garcia Linera” Workshop
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building
Workshop Program

Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 1 p.m.
Seminar Meeting
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building