Title

Screening Nostalgia in Bilingual Memoir: From Poison to a Cure

Subject Area

Hispanic Caribbean Studies

Abstract

The emerging bilingual U.S. Latino narrative is a vital testimonial that allows to comprehend the formation of U.S. Latino@ identity in the contemporary times. This paper investigates Susana Chavez-Silverman’s bilingual memoir Scenes form la Cuenca y otros Natural Disasters (2010) to discuss the ways that her multi-culturally journey through Hispanic countries, Africa and Los Angeles fortified the formation of her complex Latina identity which was inspired by the notion of nostalgia. I approach the phenomenon of nostalgia as a malady of globalization and as a literary figure towards the memoir and argue that the notion of longing can be considered a crucial aspect of the (trans)cultural process and identity formation. Nostalgia as response to the experience of loss widespread in modernity can be essential for the ontological scrutiny and security of the past. In this regard, nostalgia emerges as a psychological lens that aids progressively to fuse diverse manifestations of the past and partakes in the construction of Latino/a identity. The presentation approaches nostalgia as a driving force, an enactment that inspires the author to reconstruct complex cultural experiences, pan-Latina identity, and language through the employment of diverse urban and borderland experiences, literary as well as linguistic spaces.

Brief Bio Note

Lukasz D. Pawelek, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Humanities at USCB. His research interests involve collective memory, nostalgia, globalization and identity formation in novels and memoirs written by first-generation Hispanic immigrants.

Keywords

Nostalgia, identity formation, collective memory

Location

Room 212

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-23-2017 4:05 PM

Embargo

11-3-2016

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Mar 23rd, 4:05 PM

Screening Nostalgia in Bilingual Memoir: From Poison to a Cure

Room 212

The emerging bilingual U.S. Latino narrative is a vital testimonial that allows to comprehend the formation of U.S. Latino@ identity in the contemporary times. This paper investigates Susana Chavez-Silverman’s bilingual memoir Scenes form la Cuenca y otros Natural Disasters (2010) to discuss the ways that her multi-culturally journey through Hispanic countries, Africa and Los Angeles fortified the formation of her complex Latina identity which was inspired by the notion of nostalgia. I approach the phenomenon of nostalgia as a malady of globalization and as a literary figure towards the memoir and argue that the notion of longing can be considered a crucial aspect of the (trans)cultural process and identity formation. Nostalgia as response to the experience of loss widespread in modernity can be essential for the ontological scrutiny and security of the past. In this regard, nostalgia emerges as a psychological lens that aids progressively to fuse diverse manifestations of the past and partakes in the construction of Latino/a identity. The presentation approaches nostalgia as a driving force, an enactment that inspires the author to reconstruct complex cultural experiences, pan-Latina identity, and language through the employment of diverse urban and borderland experiences, literary as well as linguistic spaces.