Maps for a Fiesta: A Latina/o Perspective on Knowledge and the Global Crisis

Maps for a Fiesta: A Latina/o Perspective on Knowledge and the Global Crisis

Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Maps for a Fiesta: A Latina/o Perspective on Knowledge and the Global Crisis
    Book Description:

    What can theology offer in the context of neoliberalism, globalization, growing inequality, and an ever more ecologically precarious planet that disproportionately affects the poor? This book, by one of the country's best-known Latino theologians, explores possibilities for liberation from the forces that would impose certain forms of knowledge on our social world to manipulate our experience of identity, power, and justice. Beautifully written in a refreshingly direct and accessible prose, Maduro's book is nevertheless built upon subtly articulated critiques and insights. But to write a conventional academic tractatus would have run counter to Maduro's project, which is built on his argument that ignorance is masked in the language of expertise, while true knowledge is dismissed because it is sometimes articulated in pedestrian language by those who produce it through the praxis of solidarity and struggle for social justice. With a generosity and receptivity to his readers reminiscent of letters between old friends, and with the pointed but questioning wisdom of a teller of parables, Maduro has woven together a twenty-first-century reply to Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach." Neither conventional monograph nor memoir, neither a theological nor a political tract, but with elements of all of these, Maps for a Fiesta arrives as Maduro's philosophical and theological testament one that celebrates the knowledge-work and justice-making of the poor. What Maduro offers here is a profound meditation on the relationship between knowledge and justice that could be read as a manifesto against the putatively unknowable world that capitalist chaos has made, in favor of a world that is known by the measure of its collective justice. His fiesta grants us the joy that nourishes us in our struggles, just as knowledge gives us the tools to build a more just society. What Maduro offers is nothing less than an epistemology of liberation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-6308-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xvi)
    Eduardo Mendieta

    This book was meant to include a foreword to the first English edition, by Otto Maduro, but he passed away on May 9, 2013, before he could finish the manuscript. Otto Maduro was surely one of the best-known Latino theologians in the United States.¹ He was active within the academia, the churches, and community organizations, advocating, funding, and directing many initiatives on behalf of Latina/o priests, pastors, religious workers, community activists, and of course, students. He was also actively engaged in the Latina/o immigrant communities of New Jersey. He was an institution builder, a generous and engaged mentor. Wherever he...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Nearly everyone, and probably all human communities, has had at least a few beautiful, unforgettable experiences of some form of satisfaction, victory, kindness, affection, happiness, peace, and/or hope. A love returned, a successful strike, the feat of getting a home to call one’s own, the end of a period of trials and tribulations, a birth in the family, a long-fought bill raising the minimum wage, the release of a loved one from prison, a reconciliation with someone we had fought with, a relative’s successful struggle against alcoholism or a drug addiction.

    All these are pleasant and valuable experiences that affirm...

  5. 1. Does Experience Shape Our Knowledge?
    (pp. 13-35)

    In 1982, when I was in Managua for the third time, I had to get around on my own for the first time. I learned to ride the bus that went from the residence where I was staying, the university where I was working, and a commercial center where I liked to eat delicious Hawaiian pizzas. One day I was invited to a meeting in a place I’d never been. I left for the meeting, prudently, two hours ahead of time. I had the exact address and the money for a taxi—and I was in a city much smaller...

  6. 2. Calmly Reflecting on Our Knowledge
    (pp. 36-57)

    In the 1940s, a vaudeville company staged a cabaret in a theater in Caracas. A pair of young Christian leaders whom I had met many years earlier felt offended by what seemed to them an immoral and pornographic spectacle. Even though the show was not attracting many people, they organized a public protest outside the theater with the aim of shutting it down. Not only did the theater not cancel the show; in fact, the attention awakened by the protest became free publicity, and the hall could not hold the hundreds of men who turned up early to buy their...

  7. 3. Oppression, Liberation, and Knowledge
    (pp. 58-83)

    I met Maximina in the 1960s. She was the daughter of campesinos and had started working in Caracas as a maid at a very young age. One day she heard that Manolo, a fellow Venezuelan working in a market not far from my house, was suffering from a skin infection called impetigo. Maximina went to see him and advised him to rub a live toad over his skin. She was familiar with the infection and knew people from her hometown who had been cured with this treatment. Nonetheless, most people who heard about the remedy she suggested laughed behind her...

  8. 4. How Do We Express and Share Knowledge?
    (pp. 84-101)

    Let me relate two anecdotes in order to introduce the theme for this chapter.

    The first regards the four-decade rule of General Francisco Franco in Spain. Vehemently anticommunist, Franco was a Christian military dictator whose official title was “Leader of Spain by the grace of God.” Nonetheless, it was surprisingly possible to publish and sell some Marxist tracts in the final years of his regime. But there were limitations. Not all writers on Marxism were published—only the most difficult to read, like György Lukács, Karel Kosík, and Theodor W. Adorno. Nor were they available at just any price or...

  9. 5. Rethinking Our Understanding of Knowledge
    (pp. 102-126)

    In the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, a minor scandal stirred up the press and political world: serious economic, political, and military decisions of the most powerful government on the planet were made by Reagan after consultation with close friend of the First Lady and astrologist Jeane Dixon. Friends and advisers of the president both confirmed and denied the reports, some refused to comment, and others simply affirmed that confusion reigned in the White House. Dixon herself saw her book sales and contracts increase, while newspapers and magazines the world round filed reports on similar...

  10. Conclusions
    (pp. 127-134)

    While rereading and revising the last chapter, I feel that, to a certain point, these meditations on knowledge that I wish to share with you are already there—and there is very little that I would add for now. However, it is an old custom of mine to suggest to my students that they always end every essay with some conclusions, reflections that will summarize what has been expressed, thus opening a door to invite the readers to continue beyond the text in a certain direction.

    I am going to opt here for a combination of these approaches. First, I...

  11. APPENDIX A An(other) Invitation to Epistemological Humility: Notes toward a Self-Critical Approach to Counter-Knowledges
    (pp. 137-154)
  12. APPENDIX B Migrants’ Religions under Imperial Duress: Reflections on Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics in the Study of the Religious “Stranger”
    (pp. 155-166)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 167-178)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 179-184)