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Title: Translating Universality: Marxism in Latin America and the Caribbean
Authors: Arnall, Gavin
Advisors: Draper, Susana
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: Arguedas
Subjects: Comparative literature
Latin American studies
Caribbean studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores how Marxism travels across linguistic, cultural, and geopolitical borders by examining the literary and theoretical writings and political practices of José Carlos Mariátegui, José María Arguedas, and Frantz Fanon. I argue that these figures translate Marxism by critically refashioning the doctrine’s universal concepts to account for the historical and material specificity of Latin American and Caribbean conjunctures. Since Marxism can be historicized as an expression of European modernity, the tendency of contemporary scholarship is to provincialize its concepts and construe Marxism as literally and conceptually out-of-place beyond Europe. I maintain, however, that it is precisely the gap between universal concepts and particular realities that occasions the translation of Marxism so that its concepts can become concretely universal and de-provincialized. The dissertation also considers when Marxism confronts alternative worldviews (i.e. indigenous cosmology, négritude, Jacobinism, humanism) that articulate equally universalist beliefs and values. In these instances of encounter, I contend that Mariátegui, Arguedas, and Fanon engage in another mode of translation that aims to negotiate not between universal concepts and particular realities but between distinct and sometimes competing conceptualizations of the universal as such. The task of the translator is therefore to locate or construct overlapping zones of confluence within which Marxism can align itself with other universalist forms of thought and action without hegemonically subsuming them under its own internal logic and presuppositions. The dissertation concludes with a reflection on the short-circuiting of translation or its absolute rejection in the name of a different paradigm that aims to destroy the old and create the new.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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