2012 Conference on Carlos Fuentes:
Ancient Mexico, Modernity,
and the Literary Avant-Garde
May 7-8, 2012
Golden Eagle Ballroom
California State University, Los Angeles
UCLA'sDepartment of Spanish and Portuguese,
and Cal State L.A.'sGigi Gaucher-Morales MemorialLectureSeries, and
CALL FOR PAPERS
Carlos Fuentes (b. November 11, 1928) ranks as the most acclaimed
modern novelist in Mexico and one of the central figures in Latin
America’sliterary "Boom,” a generation thatconsists ofJulio Cortázar,
Gabriel García Márquez and, among others, Mario Vargas Llosa. Raised
in a family that represented Mexico’s economic and diplomatic interests
in Latin America and in the United States, Fuentes is an
award-winningnovelist often associated with questions of national
identity, historical origins, Mexico’s capital as a megacity, and the
unresolved conflicts--with Spain, with theUnited States, and with
itself--that define Mexico as a modern nation.
Fromhis earlyshort stories in Los días enmascarados (1954),tonovels and essaysthat includeLa región más transparente (1958), Cambio de piel (1967),Terra Nostra (1975),and Los cinco soles de México, memoria de un milenio
(2000), Fuentes hasportrayed Mesoamerica—generally allegorized as
Mexico-Tenochtitlan,therefore with an emphasis on theNahua--as a
determining force in modern Mexico, and as an integral partin the
world'shistory of ruling transnational powers. The unresolved cultural
and social conflicts between Mexico’s native peoples in relation to the
Spanish conquest and colonial New Spain remain to this day a thematic
constant in Fuentes’s novels and essays,portrayed as the fundamental
background and condition to Mexico’s modernization and political
development as a democracy. Fuentes’s novels thus markthe historical
present as an artistic possibility forreflection and symbolic
resolution to modernity’s most crucial questions,arguably ajuncture
shared by Mexico with other developing countries.
representation ofthe nationaland the global in Fuentes's narrative
has been a determining factor in itstranslations to major world
languages. An impressive bibliography of critical
studieshasrecognized in Fuentes's workawill to poetry and an
energetic narrative experimentation stemming from 20th-century
aesthetic movements, such as Cubism and Surrealism. Consistent with
his views on national origins--often defined by Fuentes asMexico's
question ofbeingand becoming, or as the weight ofthe past andthe
spur of adesired future--Fuentes claims a double origin for the modern
novel: on the one hand,asan avant-garde poetics intent on
redefiningart and its function in a contemporary world; on the other,
astheuninterrupted artistic heritagethat Latin America's
literarymodernity has embraced and appropriatedin Miguel de
Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha.
The organizers of this conference invite papers on Fuentes’s novels, short stories, essays, literary criticism, and plays. The following are a few suggested topics:
1. Carlos Fuentes's short stories: from Los días enmascarados (1954), to Inquieta compañía (2004).
2. Ancient Mexico and its representationsin thework of Carlos Fuentes.
3. The essay: Tiempo mexicano (1970); El espejo enterrado (1992); Los cinco soles de México, memoria de un milenio (2000).
4. Theatre: from Todos los gatos son pardos (1970), to Ceremonias del alba (1990).
5. Carlos Fuentes in World Literature: Translators and Translations.
6. Utopia, epic, and myth in the novels and essays by Carlos Fuentes.
7. The United States, Spain, and Latin America in the narrative and essays of Carlos Fuentes:a web of relations and their critique.
8. Post-PRI Mexico, the Electronic Age, and the modern megacity in La silla del águila (2002), and La voluntad y la fortuna (2008).
9. Carlos Fuentes’s literary criticism and theory in La nueva novela hispanoamericana (1969), and inMiguel de Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura (1976).
10. Modernity, the nation, and the world in Carlos Fuentes’s novels and essays: from La región más transparente (1958), to El espejo enterrado (1992).
legacy of unresolved national contradictions: the 1910 Mexican
Revolution and the 1994 Zapatista Insurrection in Carlos Fuentes’s
novels and essays.
12. Representations of a post-PRI Mexico and narco-violence in Fuentes’s novels and essays.
13. The Gothic literary tradition in the novels of Carlos Fuentes.
14. The Avant-Garde, Latin American literature,and Carlos Fuentes.
15. Carlos Fuentes andEuropean Realism, from Cervantes to Balzac.
16. Carlos Fuentes and Mexico'spost-Boom generation ofnovelists:continuity andchange.
17. Archaeology at the Templo Mayor, 1976-present: revisionsin
Mesoamerican history, and impact onMexican art and literature.
18. Recent Mesoamerican studies in the Puebla-Oaxaca region: codices,
myth narratives, and tribute relations with Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
19. Peoples of the Book: Mesoamerica, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in Carlos Fuentes'sTerra Nostra.
20. Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz: intergenerational ideas of
nationalhistory,a writer'spolitics,and the declineofavant-garde
art in the modern world.
deadline for a one-page abstract of conference papers isJanuary 31,
2012. The submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed, and their
acceptance or rejection will be communicated by e-mail on or before
February 15. Send your abstract as an electronic attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
or mail to the following address:
Dr. Roberto Cantú
Professor of Chicano Studies and English
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive