Gerszten Family Visiting Professor: Ignacio López Calvo (Lecture)

Please join us virtually on Thursday, Feb. 3, at 4 pm (EST) for a lecture by Ignacio López Calvo, "A Latin American proto-model minority: Empowering the Chinese by denigrating Blacks."

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Among the different literary representations of Afro-Asian, interethnic, sociocultural interactions in Latin America and the Caribbean, two recurrent ones are those the eroticized china mulata and of the Black ally who expresses sympathy or even marries the Asian protagonist, falling at times into the “magical negro” category of the abnegated ally whose only role—devoid of full autonomy or agency—in the narrative is to help the Asian protagonist reach his or her life goals. In this presentation, however, I will focus on the animosity and clashes between people of African and Asian descent as represented in Latin American and the Caribbean cultural production. More specifically, I concentrate on instances in which the Chinese community was empowered by denying Black accomplishments, which I consider an antecedent of the model minority myth in Latin American cultural production. In any case, both these alliances and the animosity between Asians and Blacks contribute to challenge the stereotype of the Chinese as an isolated community, as well as the official discourses of mestizaje and mulataje that ultimately favored whiteness over indigenous, Black, or Asian worldviews.

Ignacio López-Calvo is Presidential Chair in the Humanities, Director of the Center for the Humanities, and Professor of Literature at the University of California, Merced. He is the author of more than one-hundred articles and book chapters, as well as nine single-authored books and seventeen essay collections. He is the co-executive director of the academic journal Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, the Palgrave-Macmillan Book Series “Historical and Cultural Interconnections between Latin America and Asia,” and the Anthem Press book series “Anthem Studies in Latin American Literature and Culture Series.” His latest books are The Mexican Transpacific: Nikkei Writing, Visual Arts, Performance (forthcoming); Saudades of Japan and Brazil: Contested Modernities in Lusophone Nikkei Cultural Production (2019); Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Tusán Literature and Knowledge in Peru (2014); The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru (2013); and Latino Los Angeles in Film and Fiction: The Cultural Production of Social Anxiety (2011).

Professor López Calvo's lecture and seminar are sponsored by the Gerszten family. To see a list of previous Gerszten Family Visiting Professors, please click here.

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Thursday, February 3, 2022 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM