Envisioning Latinx America: Neoliberalism, Multiculturalism, and the Politics of Spectatorship
Cowan, Joshua Jared
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This project examines film, media and literature from the perspective of historically situated Latinx spectatorship. It looks at discrete moments in time from the Cold War up to the present day, focusing in on cultural texts that depict what I here call ‘Latinx America,’ the geographical space of the Western Hemisphere that is also marked by the mobility of people. Placed in a historical context, spectatorship, or the interaction between spectator and text, highlights new interpretive possibilities for the three television series, seven films and one novel that are discussed here. Namely, these new avenues for interpretation clarify specific relevance that those texts have with their concurrent political environment. The chapters listed here represent a loose genealogy of spectatorship which showcases changes in that environment in the U.S. for over a half century. Spectatorship always finds itself located within a particular discursive moment in time. This project looks closely at the ways in which spectatorship is a product of specific ideological discourses about ethnicity and race that are often contradictory. The tension at any one moment in time between ethnoracial discourse provides the interaction between Latinx spectator and text the opportunity to limn out contradictions within texts themselves. The textual production of ethnicity and race can thus be clarified through a dialectical process of close reading. This project engages in that interpretive performance to show how concepts of neoliberalism and multiculturalism have played a major role in envisioning Latinx America for over sixty years.