Crossing the Anglo-Hispanic Divide: Modernist Women Writers and Artists beyond Frontiers
A Seminar at ACLA 2017 (6th-9th July, Utrecht)
Organizers: Esther Sánchez-Pardo (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Renee Silverman (email@example.com)
Proposals due Sept. 23, 2016
Between approximately 1880 and 1945, women involved in modernist and avant-garde circles frequently crossed the cultural and linguistic frontiers dividing the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds—in Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic. Driven by crucial historical and political events such as World War I and Word War II, the Mexican Revolution, and the Spanish Civil War, as well as by reasons of artistic, literary, and aesthetic exploration, many women writers and artists decided, or saw themselves forced, to go beyond frontiers. Indeed, some remained permanently ‘in transit’ across national and other sorts of boundaries, experiencing the trauma of exile.
This panel centers on cultural exchanges between the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, focusing on women who used one or both languages as avenues for expression. These women were cosmopolitan avant la lettre and developed valuable ideas regarding aesthetics, experimenting with and hybridizing several traditions. The underlying idea of our panel would be how they created and translated across borders, working bilingually, or against the grain of the dominant language or culture, perhaps suffering the absence of their mother tongue. We may point to major voices such as: Gertrude Stein; Laura Riding; Norah Borges; Anaïs Nin; Gabriela Mistral; Victoria Ocampo; Maruja Mallo; Zenobia Camprubí; Nellie Campobello; Jane Bowles; Leonora Carrington; María de Maeztu; Ernestina de Champourcín; and Muriel Rukeyser. Some, like Stein, Riding, and Borges, crossed borders in search of opportunities, and new aesthetic and artistic modalities; others, for instance, Mallo, Camprubí, Champourcín, Maeztu, and Rukeyser did so for reasons of political conviction and necessity.
We will explore, among other issues: the creation of singular aesthetic responses to a situation of displacement, temporary residence, and exile; the development of innovative and hybrid forms; and the role of the mother tongue and its relation to the ‘cultural vernacular.’ We intend to investigate the way in which crossing the Anglo-Hispanic divide responds to trauma that is particular to women’s experience, including sexual, physical, and emotional violence, as well as how writing across borders can be construed as a strategy to manage the anxiety and psychic instability that comes as trauma’s aftermath.
This seminar will also consider how exile and transnational identity may (or may not) be compared to a woman’s ‘homeless’ position in the patriarchal symbolic order, or can rather be understood as a means of surviving and even subverting this order. Finally, our seminar will examine the special vulnerability of a woman living a displaced and deracinated existence, and translation as both risk (mistranslating or being mistranslated) and a means to manage such an experience.
Only members can participate in this group's discussions.