Gender identities in Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Literatures

Posted by jcm22 at Oct 18, 2018 06:40 PM |
12 December 2018 - Part of the Modern languages seminar series for 2018/19. Princesas y Antiprincesas: re-inscribing and re-writing female gender identity in contemporary Latin American adolescent and children’s literature, plus Girl, interrupted: intertextuality in Marta Sanz's Daniela Astor y la caja negra (2013)

Date: 12 December 2018
Time: 4.00pm-6.00pm
LocationAttenborough Seminar Block, Room 212

Speakers: Emma Staniland and Maite Usoz de la Fuente

Contact: Rabah Aissoui


Princesas y Antiprincesas:  re-inscribing and re-writing female gender identity in contemporary Latin American adolescent and children’s literature

Speaker: Dr Emma Staniland (Teaching Fellow in Spanish & Latin American Studies, University of Leicester)

In 2015, Argentine writer Nadia Fink published the first in a series of children’s stories entitled Colección Antiprincesas (the Anti-Princess Collection), which sought to present new kinds of heroines to its intended 6-12 year old readers. Taking the world-famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Chilean folklorist Violeta Parra as her first alternative figures of inspiration, Fink has gone on to tell the stories of real-life Bolivian guerrilleras, Brazilian women writers, Argentine songwriters… and now there is the ‘League of Anti-Princesses’, which cleverly taps into the popularity of the Marvel and DC Universe comics, and gives superhero qualities to real-life female figures all too often side-lined by the narratives of the region’s History.

An intriguing starting point for discussions of gendered identity portrayal in Latin American children’s literature and its role in the inculcation of gender ideologies, these texts challenge the princess archetype to which much feminist literary criticism has turned its attention, but whose presence remains highly evident in writing for this age group. Contextualising them within the important demands for change currently being made throughout Argentina by the Ni una menos women’s movement, this paper presents a contrastive discussion of the Antiprincesas books and other recent Argentine publications that engage with the princess trope, thus to explore the resilience of this stereotype as a lodestar for contemporary female gendered identities… And to help promote its necessary demise.

Girl, interrupted: intertextuality in Marta Sanz's Daniela Astor y la caja negra (2013)

Speaker: Dr Maite Usoz de la Fuente (Lecturer in Spanish, University of Leicester)

Marta Sanz’s critically acclaimed novel Daniela Astor and la caja negra engages in a critical reappraisal of one the most mythical (and, arguably, mythologized) periods in Spain’s recent history: the country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. It is within this climate of rapid social and political transformation that Sanz sets the coming-of-age-story of the novel’s protagonist and narrator, Catalina Hernández Griñán, thus creating a parallel between Spain’s transition and Catalina’s entry into adolescence and adulthood.

By recourse to a series of non-fictional materials -transcriptions of blogs, interviews, and TV programmes, among others- which interrupt the main narrative strand at regular intervals, but are also, at times, integrated within Catalina’s story, Sanz masterfully portrays the conflicting demands waged on women in transitional Spain (and beyond), exposing a disconnect between a cultural discourse that seemingly celebrates the female body and encourages female sexual liberation, and a social discourse that condemns women who appear sexually confident. The novel thus engages in an ongoing critique of Spain’s transition to democracy and of its legitimising cultural discourses –exemplified most clearly in the publication of the volume CT o Cultura de la Transición in 2012– but offers a fresh, gender(ed) perspective on the disturbing continuity and effects of certain social and cultural discourses.

Refreshments will be provided. This series is free to attend and open to all.

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