Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares

Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares: Globilization in Recent Mexican and Chicano Narrative

Miguel López-Lozano
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares
    Book Description:

    Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares traces the history of utopian representations of the Americas, first on the part of the colonizers, who idealized the New World as an earthly paradise, and later by Latin American modernizing elites, who imagined Western industrialization, cosmopolitanism and consumption as a utopian dream for their independent societies.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-120-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares: Rewriting Mexican History in the Times of NAFTA
    (pp. 1-42)

    These words from George Orwell’sNineteen Eighty-Four(1949) contemplating the importance of history and its impact on the future reflect a critical paradigm for contemporary Latin American and US Latino writers as they confront the social and political changes accompanying rapid modernization and globalization. Through the depiction of a desolate future,Nineteen Eighty-Fourinspires a re-examination of the implications of the manipulation of history by a dictatorial state interested in advancing technology and industrialization at any cost, thus revealing the perils and contradictions of modernity. As the epigraph from Orwell suggests, control over the interpretation of history can be a...

  5. Chapter One The Brave New World of Carlos Fuentes’s Cristóbal Nonato: A Critique of Mexican Modernity
    (pp. 43-90)

    Since his monumental 1975 novelTerra nostra,the internationally known Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes has evidenced a particular concern with the implications of the 1492 Euro-American encounter for contemporary global culture and society.¹ A dozen years later, and some half dozen years before the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, Fuentes’sCristóbal Nonato(1987)² constitutes an early critical assessment of some of the potential effects of globalization on the cultural and economic makeup of both Mexico and the US border region. Fuentes projects his dystopia five years into the future, setting...

  6. Chapter Two Cultural Identity and Dystopia in Alejandro Morales’s The Rag Doll Plagues
    (pp. 91-134)

    Debates about identity politics have had a significant impact on literary production in Latin America and the United States in recent decades, as is evidenced by the vast number of contemporary narratives on the theme of ethnicity. Inspired by the anticipation of the 1992 commemoration of five centuries of intercultural contact between Old and New Worlds, there has been a proliferation of Mexican novels that reexamine the theme of racial and cultural amalgamation during the period of conquest and colonization of the Americas;¹ these include: Ignacio Solares’sNen, la inútil(1992); Olivier Debroise’sCrónica de las destrucciones(1998); Carmen Boullosa’s...

  7. Chapter Three The Dream of Mestizo Mexico: Memory and History in Carmen Boullosa’s Cielos de la tierra
    (pp. 135-174)

    Like Chicano writer Alejandro Morales’sThe Rag Doll Plagues, Mexican author Carmen Boullosa’sCielos de la tierra(1997) examines the transformation of utopian dreams into apocalyptic nightmares in the colonial past, postrevolutionary present, and postnational future, pointing to the disjunction between nature and humanity.¹ Dramatizing the paradox posed by the pursuit of industrialized development without regard for the cost to the environment and to humanity’s sense of community,Cielos de la tierracalls the reader’s attention to notions of power and knowledge deeply ingrained in the discourse of modernity.² In addition, Boullosa develops the issue of the colonial construction of...

  8. Chapter Four Surviving the Ecoapocalypse in Homero Aridjis’s La leyenda de los soles and ¿En quién piensas cuando haces el amor?
    (pp. 175-230)

    While in the previous chapters, we read how Morales’sThe Rag Doll Plaguesand Carmen Boullosa’sCielos de la tierratrace a pattern of racial exclusion and ecological devastation of nature in three different time periods, in Homero Aridjis’s novels, we see the environmental and human cost of industrialization in Mexico City in a single time frame, a hypothetical 2027. While Latin American officials and intellectuals were debating the implications of the then upcoming Quincentenary of the Discovery of America, in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the Mexican author published several literary works dealing with the ramifications of...

  9. Conclusion The Angel of History and the Postapocalyptic Consciousness
    (pp. 231-238)

    As I write the final lines of this book, a decade has gone by since NAFTA went into effect and the Zapatista insurrection in Chiapas began; as Josefina Saldaña-Portillo observes: “The Zapatista uprising has brought the Mexican nationalistic project to a crisis and has challengedmestizajeas its dominant trope for citizenship” (405). Following the PRI’s loss in the 2000 elections, Mexico has been governed by a right-wing presidency watched over by a wide range of political parties, leading to the realization of many of the political developments anticipated by Carlos Fuentes in his 1987 futuristic dystopia.

    In this study...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 239-266)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 267-286)
  12. Index
    (pp. 287-293)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 294-295)