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OSU Prof. addresses ferment in his field

By Amanda Duncan

October 11, 2012

Dr. Abril Trigo, a Distinguished Humanities Professor of Literature and Culture of Latin America from Ohio State University spoke to students and faculty on Oct. 9.

His lecture bridged his two books, one titled "Latin Culture Studies Reader," which he co-authored, and the other one titled "Crisis Y Transfiguracion de Los Estudios Culturales Latinoamericanos," which translates to "Crisis and Transfiguration of Latin American Cultural Studies."

He discussed the development of Latin American cultural studies from its origins in the '80s to the present, with special focus on the expansion of the '90s and its contemporary crisis in the larger context of globalization. He stressed on its limits and its role in the contemporary intellectual debates.

"There is a noticeable difference in Latin American cultural studies in the United States compared to the Latin American Cultural Studies in Latin America in various areas such as political structure and social context," said Trigo.

Trigo specializes in the areas of Latin American Cultural Studies, XIX Century Latin American Thought, Theater and Film, Popular Culture and Cultural Theory and Globalization Studies. He is the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at OSU.

He gave an overview of the study of Latin American Culture, its origins and its current state. He also discussed what happened to the cultures due to globalization and explained the issues and the complexities in a political context.

In the United States, Latin American Studies, like many other areas of study, received a boost due to the passage of Title IV of the National Defense Education Act of 1958. Trigo went on to talk about the relationship of Latin American Studies with Anglo-Saxon cultural studies, especially how the practice in Latin American relates to the exercise outside of Latin America and its relationship to Latin America.

Trigo's publications include Caudillo, State, Nation, Literature, History and Ideology in the Uruguay (1990); Uruguayan Culture or Cultures Linyeras (1997); Migrant Memories, Testimonials and Essays on the Uruguayan Diaspora (2003). In addition to the books he has written numerous essays on cultural issues and processes of globalization in Latin America.

Trigo's work has been influential in transforming the field, explained Antonio Medina-Rivera, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages. Trigo's closing chapter of "Crisis and Transfiguration of Latin American Cultural Studies" points out a fundamental failure of the field. It designed the outlines of an unavoidable project — a critique of the political economy of culture in the globalization.

More specifically, it designs a critique of the politico-libidinal economy that involves a critique of political economy, at the same time, a critique of the hegemony and a critique of the libidinal economy, which is what Professor Trigo is currently working on. Trigo has often voiced his criticism of the geopolitics as result of global realignment in transatlantic studies.

This lecture was part of the Cultural Crossings series by Dr. Medina-Rivera. This year's series runs under the theme of "Memories, Reflections and Recollections." The objective of the series is to make the humanities more accessible to students, faculty and the public.

The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences was the sponsor of the lecture; and The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and the Humanities Consortium were the co-sponsors.