During the age of dictatorships, Latin American prisons became a symbol for the vanquishing of political opponents, many of whom were never seen again. In the postdictatorship era of the 1990s, a number of these prisons were repurposed into shopping malls, museums, and memorials. Susana Draper uses the phenomenon of the “opening” of prisons and detention centers to begin a dialog on conceptualizations of democracy and freedom in post-dictatorship Latin America. Focusing on the Southern Cone nations of Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, Draper examines key works in architecture, film, and literature to peel away the veiled continuity of dictatorial power structures in ensuing consumer cultures.
The afterlife of prisons became an important tool in the “forgetting” of past politics, while also serving as a reminder to citizens of the liberties they now enjoyed. In Draper’s analysis, these symbols led the populace to believe they had attained freedom, although they had only witnessed the veneer of democracy—in the ability to vote and consume.
In selected literary works by Roberto Bolaño, Eleuterio Fernández Huidoboro, and Diamela Eltit and films by Alejandro Agresti and Marco Bechis, Draper finds further evidence of the emptiness and melancholy of underachieved goals in the afterlife of dictatorships. The social changes that did not occur, the inability to effectively mourn the losses of a now-hidden past, the homogenizing effects of market economies, and a yearning for the promises of true freedom are thematic currents underlying much of these texts.
Draper’s study of the manipulation of culture and consumerism under the guise of democracy will have powerful implications not only for Latin Americanists but also for those studying neoliberal transformations globally.
Cinema of Confinement
Thomas J. Connelly Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PN1995.9.I455C66 2019 | Dewey Decimal 791.43653
In this book, Thomas J. Connelly draws on a number of key psychoanalytic concepts from the works of Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Žižek, Joan Copjec, Michel Chion, and Todd McGowan to identify and describe a genre of cinema characterized by spatial confinement. Examining classic films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, as well as current films such as Room, Green Room, and 10 Cloverfield Lane, Connelly shows that the source of enjoyment of confined spaces lies in the viewer's relationship to excess.
Cinema of Confinement offers rich insights into the appeal of constricted filmic spaces at a time when one can easily traverse spatial boundaries within the virtual reality of cyberspace.
During the early part of the Cold War, Japan emerged as a model ally, and Japanese Americans were seen as a model minority. From Confinement to Containment examines the work of four Japanese and Japanese/American artists and writers during this period: the novelist Hanama Tasaki, the actor Yamaguchi Yoshiko, the painter Henry Sugimoto, and the children’s author Yoshiko Uchida. The backgrounds of the four figures reveal a mixing of nationalities, a borrowing of cultures, and a combination of domestic and overseas interests.
Edward Tang shows how the film, art, and literature made by these artists revealed to the American public the linked processes of U.S. actions at home and abroad. Their work played into—but also challenged—the postwar rehabilitated images of Japan and Japanese Americans as it focused on the history of transpacific relations such as Japanese immigration to the United States, the Asia-Pacific War, U.S. and Japanese imperialism, and the wartime confinement of Japanese Americans. From Confinement to Containment shows the relationships between larger global forces as well as how the artists and writers responded to them in both critical and compromised ways.
Over 277,000 African Americans migrated to Chicago between 1900 and 1940, an influx unsurpassed in any other northern city. From the start, carceral powers literally and figuratively created a prison-like environment to contain these African Americans within the so-called Black Belt on the city's South Side. A geographic study of race and gender, Spatializing Blackness casts light upon the ubiquitous--and ordinary--ways carceral power functions in places where African Americans live. Moving from the kitchenette to the prison cell, and mining forgotten facts from sources as diverse as maps and memoirs, Rashad Shabazz explores the myriad architectures of confinement, policing, surveillance, urban planning, and incarceration. In particular, he investigates how the ongoing carceral effort oriented and imbued black male bodies and gender performance from the Progressive Era to the present. The result is an essential interdisciplinary study that highlights the racialization of space, the role of containment in subordinating African Americans, the politics of mobility under conditions of alleged freedom, and the ways black men cope with--and resist--spacial containment. A timely response to the massive upswing in carceral forms within society, Spatializing Blackness examines how these mechanisms came to exist, why society aimed them against African Americans, and the consequences for black communities and black masculinity both historically and today.