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Friday, May 31, 2013

"Aesthetic Politics"

That phrase occurs in the subtitle of Javier Sanjinés's 2004 book Mestizaje Upside Down, a book about Bolivian cultural politics.* Cultural nationalism is a literary, aestheticized discourse. From the title of this book I also got the idea of "flipping" exceptionalism. I had already come up with the reversibility of the inferiority and superiority complex, and of progressive and reactionary versions of cultural exceptionalism.

Walter Benjamin famously said that Fascism aestheticized politics, and Marxism politicized art. Something like that, I believe in "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." That's true enough. So chiasmus is another master trope for cultural exceptionalism. Unamuno loved that trope, so he said instead of Europeanizing Spain, we should Hispanize Europe (for example). Now I'm remembering an essay by Thomas Mermall on Unamuno and chiasmus, in PMLA I think. Too late at night to look it up.



*I found this book first from a reference on Profacero's blog. It is a very good book and it is very good for me to read something so outside of my normal Peninsular expertise.


Anonymous said...

Now I have to read Mermall.

Jonathan said...

I don't know it's worth reading if you are not an Unamuno specialist or working on Spain. He's a smart guy but a little conservative.

Anonymous said...

Well, but chiasmus as master trope is a good enough reason and also Unamuno is worth thinking about, he is a secret architect of Lat Am identity too although people do not fully realize this.

I don't have time but I really ought to compose some sort of Facebook post for the Louisiana activist contingent. They are writing a spate of columns about how our problem as a state is that we are "invertebrate." It would be fun to have an O&G teach-in.

Jonathan said...

I can send you the pdf if you want. I didn't realize Unamuno was that big in Latin America. It makes sense. Ortega was.

Professor Zero said...

Gracias! We actually have the pdf here ... if I have understood correctly, this is because there is a database serving the poor, and PMLA is in it! ;-)