Living with Death in Mexico City: Poetics and the Built Environment
This talk critiques the urbanization of Latin America, through readings of poetry from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. It examines how the poetry of the early 20th century (ca. 1900-1930) worked to re-map the relation between urbs and civitas throughout Latin America. It then relates the “poetics of space” to other art-forms and disciplines including architecture, urban planning, prose literature, and digital media in the region’s emerging megalopolises from 1930 to the present day. More than simply providing “representations of space” (or maps), Alternative Functions argues that poetics itself has been reformulated in Latin America as a critical “representational space” capable of re-configuring power relations with respect to the spatial practices of everyday life in the city. Justin Read is Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures. He currently researches Latin American modernism in literature and architecture, particularly those of Brazil. His first book, Modernist Poetry and Hemispheric American Cultural Studies, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009. He co-organized the UB Humanities Institute’s “Fluid Culture” series in 2011-12.