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Über dieses Buch

This book explores contemporary cultural, historical and geopolitical connections between Latin America and Australia from an interdisciplinary perspective. It seeks to capitalise on scholarly developments and further unsettle the multiple divides created by the North-South axis by focusing on processes of translocal connectivities that link Australia with Latin America. The authors conceptualise the South-South not as a defined geographic space with clear boundaries, but rather as a mobile terrain with multiple, evolving and overlapping translocal processes.



Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Australia and Latin America? On Mapping Connections and Its Implications for Knowledge Production

This introduction discusses the development of the field of Latin American Studies in Australia to consider its place in the broader academy. It outlines some of the current trends in the field, both positive and negative, and suggests some potential research agendas. Ultimately, it argues that Latin American Studies in Australia has never been (and should not seek to be) a re-creation of American or British models. Rather, Latin Americanist scholars in Australia generate unique research questions and agendas due to their own peripheral status as inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere.
Fernanda Peñaloza, Sarah Walsh

South-South Perspectives and Transpacific Flows


Chapter 2. Decolonising the Exhibitionary Complex: Australian and Latin American Art and Activism in the Era of the Global Contemporary

This chapter problematises the notion of a Global Contemporary, a term arising in the aftermath of the postcolonial turn in the visual arts, critiquing it from an overarching perspective of geopolitical and cultural decolonisation. This perspective foregrounds activist curatorial, artistic and institutional practices, contextualising them in relation to other art forms and academic disciplines, specifically focusing on developments in Australia, Brazil and Mexico. Some key artistic currents, exhibitions, thinkers and institutional critiques from these regions are explored, including an examination of Euro-American modernism and philosophical thought as vectors of epistemic occupation by a hegemonic Northern ‘exhibitionary complex’. It also considers emerging, technologically-connected artistic and exhibitionary incubators, alongside biennials and triennials, as the primary sites of The Global Contemporary. The focus is on exhibition practice, rather than individual artists’ works; intersections with academic, institutional and museum cultures; and with broader notions of place and place-making. This includes a consideration of a worldwide turn towards socially engaged artistic practices; the ways in which the exhibitionary complex is responding to the emergence of new methodologies and identity formations; and possible futures for latitudinal artistic exchange among independent institutions and collectives within a globalised spectacle economy.
David Corbet

Chapter 3. La Bestia as Transpacific Phenomenon: Indigenous Peoples’ Camps, Violence, Biopolitics, and Agamben’s State of Exception

This chapter establishes a transpacific epistemological connection through the exploration of often surprising parallels that exist between Indigenous peoples of Australia and those of Mexico and Central America. An insider, Indigenous knowledge’s framework for understanding and theorising the phenomenon, recognised and named by the people themselves as la Bestia, reveals the redundancy of modernist, neo-liberal interpretations of Indigenous disadvantage. Indigenous people in the settler colonial states of Mexico and Australia are caught by forces beyond their immediate control, overwhelming push factors, that see them abandon contexts within their ancestral country where they are no longer sustained physically and spiritually, to seek a life elsewhere. In both locations across the Pacific this process has seen the lives of many Indigenous people lived out precariously in “camps”; this phenomenon is a reflection of the nature of the modern democratic states that have developed on their lands. This is best described as living in a state of exception, following the theory of Giorgio Agamben.
Victoria Grieves-Williams

Chapter 4. Common Ground: Connections and Tensions Between Food Sovereignty Movements in Australia and Latin America

This chapter explores the food sovereignty practices of La Vía Campesina member organisations in Chile, México, Brazil and Australia to map the discursive connections between the Australian and Latin American food sovereignty movements. The author identifies the emergence of transnational publics concerned not only about what we eat but also the specific function of rural space, the type of development that should take place in it and who should benefit from this. She identifies unresolved tensions in systems of food provisioning and the articulation of food sovereignty on both continents. Focusing on the contradictions that have emerged in the corporate food regime, where hunger and obesity, scarcity and abundance co-exist, she highlights the unique role of the Latin American campesino in stabilizing food supply in times of crisis, such as the food price hikes of 2007–2008 which triggered riots in over 40 countries. Analysing the engagement of different actors in the struggle for food sovereignty in Australia and Latin America this study highlights the individuality of experience and the employment of distinct cultural and regional symbols in issue-framing on local and country scales.
Alana Mann

Chapter 5. Rethinking the Chile–Australia Transpacific Relationship in Light of Globalisation and Economic Progress

The transformations brought about by globalisation, and the ramifications of economic progress epitomised by neoliberal projects have reconfigured transnational relationships, forging unexpected coalitions and challenging dominant paradigms of geopolitical power. This article sheds light on how Australia and Chile, two countries generally considered to be distant, have reshaped their bilateral relations and renegotiated projections of national identity in light of the implications of economic progress and trade. By applying Critical Discourse Analysis tools, this article examines a selection of Australian and Chilean governmental discourses released between 2010 and 2017 following the signing by both countries of a Free Trade Agreement. It is argued that globalisation, as well as the increasing visibility of neoliberal policies, has led to a closer bilateral relationship, albeit in a context of uneven flows of capital and intra-national social inequalities.
Irene Strodthoff

Diasporic Connections


Chapter 6. Mavis Robertson, the Chilean New Song Tours, and the Latin American Cultural Explosion in Sydney After 1977

Before the overthrow of the Allende government in 1973 there was little knowledge of Latin American culture in Australia. The establishment of solidarity committees and the influx of refugees, asylum seekers, and others from Chile post-coup resulted in a diversity of activities to build awareness of what was occurring within Chile and to put pressure on the military regime. Of great importance in this work was the organization of cultural events, which included tours by prominent Chilean musicians. These attracted large audiences and led to a wider appreciation on the part of the Australian population of Latin American culture. The tours also stimulated the formation of Australian Latin American musical groups, Latin American cultural centres, and women’s groups, and the organization of solidarity events in which many ethnic performers from all over the globe participated. Central to this cultural upsurge was Mavis Robertson, a prominent member of the Communist Party of Australia, who chaired the cultural subcommittee of the Committee in Solidarity with the Chilean People in Sydney. This chapter concentrates on her role as a central figure in a growing awareness of Chile, and of Latin America, in Australia after 1973 and continues to the present.
Peter Ross

Chapter 7. Latin American Diasporic Writing in the Australian Migrant Magazine Tabaré

This article focuses on the little-known periodical Tabaré: revista mensual por el Club Social Uruguayo de Melbourne, the Uruguayan Social Club of Melbourne’s newsletter, published between 1978 and 1983. Spanish creative writing in Australia has been closely tied to Spanish-language periodicals as well as the literary competitions of cultural clubs. While the Spanish Club of Sydney and the Spanish-language press have received some scholarly attention, Tabaré, printed through low-cost roneo duplication, hand-stapled and distributed to club members, has been almost forgotten. This ephemeral production is an important archival resource in tracing South-South connections and, in particular, the Latin American contributions to Australia’s Spanish-language writing. Latin American ephemera collections in both northern and southern hemisphere institutions tend to concentrate on materials relating to political and social justice movements. In Australia, literary ephemera such as the poetry, short stories and essays appearing in migrant community newsletters like Tabaré remain neglected. This article, then, is a work of literary retrieval, bringing to light a publication that provided opportunity for Latin American migrants, predominantly from Uruguay, to engage in a form of literary production that contributed to the recognition and negotiation of complex differences within this Spanish-speaking community.
Michael Jacklin

Chapter 8. Sydney’s Iberoamerican Plaza and the Limits of Multiculturalism

Since the 1970s, immigration has been one of the primary means of understanding connections between Australia and a variety of Latin American nations. However, when compared to the number of Asian migrants arriving in Australia in the same period, Latin Americans are often overlooked. Instead, they are contextualized as part of Australia’s turn toward multiculturalism that was first officially sanctioned by Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Using Sydney’s Iberoamerican Plaza as a case study, this chapter considers the conceptual limits to multicultural representation in late twentieth-century Australia. Specifically, the chapter demonstrates how the construction, maintenance, and legacy of the plaza were very much affected by a general lack of understanding among Sydney city officials about Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese cultures and traditions (and the distinctions between them). It also demonstrates that attempting to include a large number of stakeholders as well as shifts in government policy often hampers multiculturalist efforts of this sort.
Sarah Walsh

Chapter 9. Screening Latin America: The Sydney Latin American Film Festival

This chapter explores the ways in which the Sydney Latin American Film Festival (SLAFF) contributes to the visibility of Latin American cinema in the Australian context; it focuses on the history of the Festival, on film selection and programming. Given the limited circulation of Latin American films in Australia, and the evident crowd-gathering ability of these film exhibition events, this chapter builds on the hypothesis that the range of experiences and diverse set of agendas that these cultural spaces create are essential to further our understanding of the transnational forces that traverse contemporary “Latin American cinemas.” Furthermore, Film festivals like SLAFF are fascinating cases to explore how responses/appropriations/interpretations of both cultural differences and individual and collective agency are deliberately exalted.
Fernanda Peñaloza

Comparative Readings


Chapter 10. Days of the Dead: Australian Encounters with Violence in Contemporary Mexico

In late November 2015, two Australians were murdered while travelling in Mexico. Australia’s connections to violence in Latin America have previously been dominated by the physical presence of refugees from military dictatorships, as well as solidarity between anti-imperialist groups opposed to the United States’ policies in the continent. The killing of the Australian tourists suggested a newfound emotional proximity and connectedness to the violence experienced in parts of Mexico. Paradoxically, just weeks prior to the killing of the two men, cities around Australia had enthusiastically celebrated the Day of the Dead with street parties, food and music festivals. This chapter argues that contemporary Australian attitudes to violence in Mexico differ from previous connections with human rights abuses in Latin America. Without significant personal connections, encounters with violence in the contemporary period focus on the place and performance of the act. Media reports interact with a tourist gaze as sites are transformed by the transgressive nature of the violence. The chapter explores synergies between the encounters with death to discuss the transformative potential of violence to challenge abuse and generate affinity. It suggests the potential for these emotional connections to challenge how refugees’ experience of violence is silenced in Australia.
Robert Mason

Chapter 11. Remembering Obedience and Dissent: Democratic Citizenship and Memorials to State Violence in Australia and Argentina

Memorials to state violence can be read as cultural ledgers of what constitutes legitimate citizenship practice and acceptable citizen–state relations. This chapter explores the significance of Argentinian and Australian memorials for understanding how past political action shapes a horizon of political possibility. First, it examines how ANZAC memorials celebrate empire, obedience and the status quo. ANZAC exists in a field of other memorials and cultural texts in Australia that negate politics and possibility for emancipation. Next, it discusses several Argentinian memorials that reflect the diversity of Argentina’s politics of memory. While questions of popular complicity in the state violence of the 1970s have yet to be memorialized, Argentine memorials nonetheless recognize the legitimacy of dissent as a basis of democratic citizenship. Drawing out the significance of the comparison by discussing memorials in relation to theories of citizen agency, this chapter problematizes the northwest-centric view of democracy as end, and reveals the importance of remembering challenges to power as a basis for ongoing democratization. Based on a comparison of memorials in relation to theories of democratic citizenship, the chapter contends that Australia’s political subjectivity is amenable to dedemocratization while Argentina’s reflects the possibility of open-ended democratization.
Robin Rodd
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