Session 3A: Testimonio & Its Discontents

Session 3A

Testimonio & Its Discontents
4.21.2017 | 3:45p-5:00p | Rainbow Center | Student Union, 4th Floor

This session illuminates how literature, theatre, and aesthetics are intimately connected to how one can conceive and understand the political. Here, the familiar hauntings of memory, place, and new/old/other forms of knowledges become sites of transgression, limitation, resistance and possibility.

Moderator: Carlos Gardeazabal Bravo (Literatures, Cultures, and Languages – Spanish; UCONN)

Participant Abstracts:

Cynthia Melendez, MFA (Latina/o & Latin American Studies; UCONN)
Constructing Queer Spaces in Peru

In this work, I look at the construction of queer space and identity in a LGBTQAI organization in Peru. This activist collective is based out of the capital city of Lima and, over time, has become an important representation for LGBTQAI communities across the country. Since Peru is an incredibly diverse nation that lacks both laws to protect LGBTQ communities and education in understanding these issues at the governmental level, activists are playing a fundamental role to create spaces of knowledge and resistance to state violence. Considering this context, my research explores the contradictions and possibilities of space, identity, and politics in three ways. First, I look at the ways activists  think about queer identity, and how this construction relates to their use of arts and testimonies (artivismo) in their activism. Second, I observe how knowledge is being transmitted within LGBTQIA communities and beyond them, particularly as it relates to migration, identity frameworks, and definitions of both people and space. Third, I look at how activists create safe spaces inside a city that does not have any ‘gayborhood’ or any places designated as ‘safe’ or ‘friendly’ towards LGBTQIA people. Through this work, I demonstrate that the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and migration are important aspects to shape LGBTQ Peruvian activism. Further, I critical analyze what is often codified as theories of belonging, identity, and resistance “from the South”.

Angélica Patricia Hoyos Guzmán (Latin American Literature; Simon Bolivar Andean University – Quito, Ecuador

I propose this paper resulted from my doctoral research about the intensities of contemporary Colombian poetry that are generated from the traces of memory and the war’s framework of the country. Thus, from a collection of poems published between 2000 and 2015, I identify a contemporary aesthetic of survival that uses poetic language as a vehicle for affective memory, a restitution of dignity and the processing of the collective mourning of the victims of conflict armed. In this way, I find political characteristics of the aesthetics of survival and the literary and animalized languages, which are presented as something anomalous and monstrous in front of institutional discourses about memory and that uses poetic testimony as a form of denunciation and affectation. I relate this poetic production in the context of traditions and transgressions occurred in the literary work and in relation to other poets in Colombia, Latin America and the world.