Paul Merchant, Lecturer in Latin American Film and Visual Culture at University of Bristol (UK), presented Latin American Culture and the Limits of the Human (University Press of Florida, 2020) in the Greenhouse environmental humanities book talk series on Monday, 13 April 2020, 16:00 (4PM) Central European time. Merchant co-edited the volume with Lucy Bollington, who is Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Film at University College London.
This volume explores works from Latin American literary and visual culture that question what it means to be human and examine the ways humans and nonhumans shape one another. In doing so, it provides new perspectives on how the region challenges and adds to global conversations about humanism and the posthuman.
Contributors identify posthumanist themes across a range of different materials, including an anecdote about a plague of rabbits in Historia de las Indias by Spanish historian Bartolomé de las Casas, photography depicting desert landscapes at the site of Brazil’s War of Canudos, and digital and installation art portraying victims of state-sponsored and drug violence in Colombia and Mexico. The essays illuminate how these cultural texts broach the limits between life and death, human and animal, technology and the body, and people and the environment. They also show that these works use the category of the human to address issues related to race, gender, inequality, necropolitics, human rights, and the role of the environment.