HDDH | "Orientalism / Orientations," led by Laura Torres-Rodríguez

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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For Edward Said, Orientalism operates a power-knowledge device that exerts a geopolitical distribution of bodies and objects based on a localization of alterity. In dialogue with feminist and Marxist revisions of Said’s work (Sara Ahmed, Rey Chow, Lisa Lowe), we proposed that the term is still fundamental for studying the current global logics of zoning—the demarcation and separation of bodies as “privileged zones” or “vulnerable zones” around the world. An understanding of Orientalism as a bodily orientation, as a specific phenomenology of race, space, and capital that could travel and be transplanted (Sara Ahmed) may help us critically map the current celebratory notions of transpacific globalization, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Our facilitator suggested the following readings in preparation for this Hemispheric Dialogue:
— Sara Ahmed, Queer Orientations, “The Orient and its Others”
icon Click here to download a PDF of this reading (3.39 MB)

— Long Thanh Bui, “Glorientalizations: Specters of Asia and Feminized Cyborgs Workers in the US Mexico–Borderlands”
icon Click here to download a PDF of this reading (244.71 kB)

Laura Torres-Rodríguez is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Torres-Rodríguez’s work examines the role of cross-cultural investigation in the development of Latin American aesthetic and political discourses, primarily in nineteenth and twentieth century Mexico. Her current book project, Asian Designs: Orientalism and Modernity in Mexico, 1900-1968, proposes that Mexican Orientalism was a key discursive practice in the consolidation of post-revolutionary cultural nationalism. Other research interests include forms of inter-peripheral thought among the Mexican left, and the relationship between popular culture and aestheticism in turn-of-the-century Latin America.

Hemispheric Dialogues invite key thinkers to lead discussions about some of the pressing issues of our time. The series envisions informal yet sustained dialogue among faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, artists, and members of the community.

Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003