Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalán (Kent): 'Contradictory Solidarity: Tagore, Victoria Ocampo, and South-South Cultural Relations'
|Starts:||17:00 28 Nov 2018|
|Ends:||18:30 28 Nov 2018|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
Part of the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies seminar series.
Venue: Uni Place 3.209.
Contradictory Solidarity: Tagore, Victoria Ocampo, and South-South Cultural Relations
This paper explores the cultural relations between countries located in the (so-called) global South, focusing on India and Argentina through the nexus between the Bengali author, artist, and educationalist Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and the Argentine writer, publisher, and feminist Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979). Originally coined in what has been recognised as the first Asian-African conference held in Bandung (Indonesia) in 1955, the geopolitical term global South is, I suggest, of extreme relevance to the recent transnational ‘turn’ in literary studies that has problematised Western-centric paradigms by foregrounding less-studied geographical areas across the globe. The term remains, however, a highly contested and problematic designation based on a geographical division between countries located north and south of the equator. As such, it reinforces reductive representations that typically depict the north as ‘superior, rich and powerful’ and the south as ‘backward, poor and marginalized’. Therefore, my use of the term global South is not strictly geographical, but rather ideological and symbolic. Along with critics Siba Grovogu and Walter Mignolo, I utilise it as a ‘designation meant to capture the semblance of cohesion that emerged when former colonial entities engaged in political projects of decolonization’ (Grovogu) and as a metaphor ‘where global futures are being forged by delinking from the colonial matrix of power’ (Mignolo).
The paper argues that the cultural relations that ensued from Ocampo’s and Tagore’s encounter in Buenos Aires in November 1924 can provide a pertinent example of a south-south paradigm that proposes a decentered spatial model for global interconnectedness formulated from late-colonial and neo-colonial locations, even if the contradictory hospitality that Ocampo showed to Tagore was out of kilter with the latter’s cultural expectations of a country such as Argentina. Tagore and Ocampo are also positioned in relation to the outward-looking, multidirectional models of literature they articulated, vishva-sahitya (Tagore) and Sur (Ocampo), both of which can significantly expand our undertanding of modernism and modernity in the global South, particularly through a wider historical awareness of the fraught relations between India/Argentina and imperial Britain.
Role: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature
Organisation: University of Kent
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