Argentine Afterlives: Translation, Race, and “South American Consciousness” in Benjamín de Garay’s “Los sertones”

Online Lecture:

Thursday, 14.10.2021, 17.00 h (UTC+02, Berlin), via Webex:

Lecture Series “Knowledge Production and Cultural Transfers in Trans-regional Contexts”.

In his lecture, Tom Genova, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota Morris, USA) considers Argentine Benjamín de Garay’s 1938 Spanish translation of Brazilian Euclides da Cunha’s 1902 “Os Sertões” as a transnational meditation on racialized processes of nation formation in South America. The translation “Los sertones” paradoxically frames the linguistic and historical relationships between Brazil and Argentina in terms of both similarity and difference. While de Garay stresses the parallels between Brazil and Argentina in his prologue, he also includes a glossary of supposedly untranslatable Portuguese terms, which suggests an incommensurability between the two national experiences. Tellingly, many of the glossary’s terms refer to racial categories. In this way, the text of de Garay acts as a reflection on the divergent paths that Argentina and Brazil take in treating racial heterogeneity in their respective national narratives.


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