Beyond Latin Americanism and other Accidental/Occidental tourism: Guatemala (NS) in seach of cultural theory, and more
This essay focuses on the current malaise in Latin American studies. More generally, it discusses how dogmatic theoretical assumptions, specifically postmodern, impair productive critical diagnosis of rapidly changing reality, such as that of Latin America today. As a result, two very different images of present-day Latin America are put forth, one, by a diverse group of emerging new leading Latin American thinkers and scholars, critical of intellectual currents that coalesced in macondismo, and the other, by U.S. Latin Americanism, still anchored politically in the 1960s, entangled methodologically in a hodge-podge of postmodern, poststructuralist and postcolonial, theories, and enthralled by macondismo. This "Latin America" concocted by the hegemonic U.S. academy for its own consumption is then re-exported to Latin America which is, paradoxically, struggling to liberate itself from macondismo. The essay argues for a retooling of theory and for a critical reexamination of postmodern epistemology and other tenets.