Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction

Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction

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By Patricia Vieira
University of Toronto Romance Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
208 Pages
ISBN 9781442642997
Published Jul 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $54.00    $40.50

When confronting twentieth-century political oppression and violence, writers and artists in Portugal and South America have often emphasized the complex relationship between freedom and tyranny. In Seeing Politics Otherwise, Patricia Vieira uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the interrelation of politics and representations of vision and blindness in Latin American and Iberian literature, film, and art.

Vieira's discussion focuses on three literary works: Graciliano Ramos's Memoirs of Prison, Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden, and José Saramago's Blindness, with supplemental analyses of sculpture and film by Ana Maria Pacheco, Bruno Barreto, and Marco Bechis. These artists use metaphors of blindness to denounce the totalizing gaze of dictatorial regimes. Rather than equating blindness with deprivation, Vieira argues that shadows, blindfolds, and blindness are necessary elements for re-imagining the political world and re-acquiring a political voice. Seeing Politics Otherwise offers a compelling analysis of vision and its forcible deprivation in the context of art and political protest.

Patricia Vieira is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University.


Introduction: Shadows of Vision

  1. At the Blink of an Eye: Ethics and Politics Beheld
    • Vision and Blindness in Greco-Roman Mythology
    • The Greek Philosophy of Light and Darkness: Parmenides and Plato
    • Judeo-Christian Representations of God: The Question of the Image
    • and the Excess of Brightness
    • Dark Spots in the Sun: Viewing the Enlightenment Project
    • Twentieth-Century Fragments of Vision in Ruins
  2. Darkness and the Animal in Graciliano Ramos’s Memórias do Cárcere
    • Darkness in a State of Emergency
      The Ghost of the Animal
    • Autobiographical Twilight
  3. Twists of the Blindfold in Art, Fiction and Film
    • Blindfolds, Hoods, and the Exercise of Power in the Art of Ana Maria Pacheco
    • Torture and Sociality in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden
    • Filming the Blindfold: Garaje Olimpo and O que é isso Companheiro?
  4. The Reason of Vision: Variations on Subjectivity in José Saramago’s Ensaio sobre a CegueiraThe Reason of Blindness
    • Becoming Blind, Becoming a Subject
    • Collective Vision

Conclusion: Shades of Criticism

Works Cited

‘Insightful exploration of blindness and its cultural representations… This thought-provoking study is also accessible and relevant to those working beyond Hispanic and Lusophone Studies.’

Stuart Davis, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, vol 90:07:2013