Bildner Center Lectures: “Severo Sarduy and Cuban Culture”


The Bildner Center will host on Friday, October 18, 2013, 4:00pm, at The Graduate Center, Room 9206/07. The Graduate Center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th Street), New York, New York. The event features two talks: “Severo Sarduy’s Archival Subversions” by Car­los Riobó (The City Col­lege of New York, CUNY) and “Severo Sarduy’s Cuba: Invented, Simulated, and Cross-dressed” by Rolando Pérez (Hunter Col­lege, CUNY). The discussion will be moderated by Ana María Hernández (LaGuardia Community College).

About Carlos Riobo’s talk: Severo Sar­duy delves into the archive of Latin Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture and rewrites some of its most sacred texts, sub­vert­ing foun­da­tional tra­di­tions such as the nov­ela de la tierra and the nov­ela de la selva. This talk will exam­ine Sarduy’s Col­i­brí (1982) as an attempt to rein­ter­pret clas­sics of Latin Amer­i­can nar­ra­tive such as Rivera’s La vorágine (1924) and Gallegos’s Doña Bár­bara (1929). Sar­duy uncov­ers hid­den and unre­al­ized ten­sions in those nov­els (sex­ual, gen­der, and racial ker­nels) and high­lights them as anx­i­eties of mod­ern Latin Amer­i­can literature.

About Rolando Perez’s talk: Inspired by excerpts from Colum­bus’ Diary, Sarduy sought to deconstruct that which other writ­ers of his gen­er­a­tion saw as the essence of cuban­ness, or “lo cubano.” For Sar­duy “Cuba” was many things, but cer­tainly not a uni­tary entity. De donde son los can­tantes was published in 1967, a year after the Der Spiegel inter­view with Hei­deg­ger; and it is many ways an irrev­er­ent and humoris­tic response to the Hei­deg­geran ontol­ogy of national ori­gins. Aux­ilio and Socorro, two trans­ves­tite show­girls that rep­re­sent “Cuba” in Sarduy’s novel remind us that “Cuba” has his­tor­i­cally been the prod­uct of “cross-dressing” for oth­ers to con­sume. Yet, Cuba was very real though for Sar­duy, such Cuba remained enigmatic.

Car­los Riobó is Chair­man and Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Latin Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­tures at The City Col­lege of New York. He is also a Cuba Project Fel­low at the Bild­ner Cen­ter for West­ern Hemi­sphere Stud­ies (CUNY). His research inter­ests include Nineteenth-century Argen­tine cap­tiv­ity nar­ra­tives; con­tem­po­rary Cuban lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture, and lit­er­ary and cul­tural the­o­ries. He is the author of Sub-versions of the Archive: Manuel Puig’s and Severo Sarduy’s Alter­na­tive Iden­ti­ties (2011) and Cuban Inter­sec­tions of Lit­er­ary and Urban Spaces (2011).

Rolando Pérez is Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Hunter Col­lege (CUNY). He spe­cial­izes in twen­ti­eth cen­tury Latin Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture. His research inter­ests include the rela­tion­ship between lit­er­a­ture and art and between phi­los­o­phy and lit­er­a­ture. His on-going projects con­sist of read­ing lit­er­ary texts vis-à-vis the philo­soph­i­cal con­cepts of thinkers like Niet­zsche, Deleuze, Guat­tari, Bau­drillard, Badiou, Lev­inas, and Dus­sel, to name a few. Pérez is author of On An(archy) and Schizo­analy­sis (1990), Severo Sar­duy and the Reli­gion of the Text (1988), Severo Sar­duy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts (2012).

Ana María Hernández specializes in Caribbean and River Plate studies and is Professor of Latin American Literature and Culture at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY). Her publications have focused on Julio Cortázar, Horacio Quiroga, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Felisberto Hernández and Antonio Benítez Rojo. Her recent publications include an annotated edition of Fantoches 1926: Folletín Moderno por Once Escritores Cubanos (Stockcero, 2011), and an edition of Cirilo Villaverde’s novel Cecilia Valdés o La Loma del Angel (Stockcero, 2013).

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