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Seeing Politics Otherwise

Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 208
  • Book Info
    Seeing Politics Otherwise
    Book Description:

    InSeeing Politics Otherwise, Patricia Vieira uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the interrelation of politics and representations of vision and blindness in Latin American and Iberian literature, film, and art.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9528-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Shadows of Vision
    (pp. 3-7)

    Blindness runs like an invisible thread through many twentieth-century Latin American and Iberian literary and cultural creations thematizing political violence.² This is, perhaps, not surprising, given that the waves of aggression perpetrated against dissidents by the dictatorial regime of Francisco Franco in Spain (1939–75), the Estado Novo in Portugal (1933–74) and in Brazil (1937–45), and the military dictatorships in Brazil (1964–85), Chile (1973–90), and Argentina (1976–83), to name but a few, led many of those who lived through the periods in question to experience them as ʹdark times.ʹ The metaphorical darkness of the situation...

  5. 1 At the Blink of an Eye: Vision, Ethics, and Politics
    (pp. 8-39)

    The inherently relational character of vision binds together the seer and the seen. The gaze focuses on its target, arresting it in the field of perception, and risks transforming it into a property to be possessed. At the same time, what is seen has an imperium of its own, in that it magnetizes the look of the beholder. Through this mutual attraction the two elements of seeing are locked in a reciprocal exchange, a relation that betrays the ethical grounding of vision as a commerce with alterity, ethics being understood here,lato sensu, as relationality, where at least one of...

  6. 2 Darkness and the Animal in Graciliano Ramosʹs Memórias do Cárcere (Memoirs of Prison)
    (pp. 40-64)

    Darkness envelops the direst steps of Graciliano Ramosʹs (1892–1953) autobiographical textMemórias do Cárcere(Memoirs of Prison).² Published posthumously in 1953, the narrative depicts the authorʹs incarceration between March 1936 and January 1937, during the populist government of Getúlio Vargas in Brazil, under the accusation of supporting a communist rebellion.³ In his text, Graciliano frequently describes the obscurity that characterized his prison environment, an inability to see that was often conjoined with the inmatesʹ figurative acquisition of animal features that denoted the erasure of their humanity by the authorities. Prisoners were thrust into a dusky limbo, moving on the...

  7. 3 Twists of the Blindfold in Art, Fiction, and Film
    (pp. 65-97)

    The defining trait of the blindfold resides in its power to generate individualized darkness. It is an artefact that isolates the ones using it from the light that surrounds them, thus creating an artificial and temporary blindness. The main consequence of this feature is the emergence of an asymmetry between those who are and those who are not blindfolded while sharing the same space, since the blindfolded individual is seen but cannot see. Further, he or she is looked at in the act of not seeing, arrested in unsuccessful attempts to replace the now useless eyes with the ears or...

  8. 4 The Reason of Vision: Variations on Subjectivity in José Saramagoʹs Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness)
    (pp. 98-124)

    José SaramagoʹsEnsaio sobre a Cegueira(Blindness),² published in 1995, invites a meditation upon the limits of rationality in contemporary societies.³ Even though the novel seems to propound a return to reason, this facile interpretation is thwarted by the narrativeʹs questioning of the very meaning of thought. The luminous blindness portrayed in the text is presented as the point where reason and unreason intersect and the corporeal dimension of the plague of blindness that triggers the events in the novel further indicates a rejection of an abstract universal rationality and the recovery of the material individual who is exposed to...

  9. Conclusion Readings in the Dark: Shades of Criticism
    (pp. 125-136)

    This book set out to explore the correlation between blindness, ethics, and politics delineated in many literary and artistic productions that allude to abuses of political power. While vision has been associated with a reflection on ethical relations and socio-political organizations from Greco-Roman Antiquity to contemporaneity, late modernity has questioned the traditional foregrounding of sight as the fundamental means to relate to reality and has denounced this tendency to resort to vision for contributing to the formation of an oppressive subject that strives to dominate and possess its object. Twentieth-century philosophy often identifies blindness as a way to denounce this...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 137-176)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 177-190)
  12. Index
    (pp. 191-198)