Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

La mirada invernocular: clima y cultura en Colombia (1808-1924)
by Martinez-Pinzon, Felipe, Ph.D., New York University, 2012, 385; 3524286
Abstract (Summary)

La mirada invernocular: clima y cultura en Colombia (1808-1924) is a study of the ways in which Colombia imagined its national space during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Studying a wide range of texts –visual and written, canonical and non-canonical– this texts argues that the cultural construction of climate was a key factor in naturalizing social inequality and violence in Colombia. This construction bases itself on the vertical space deployed by tropical Andean geography where climate steadily changes according to altitude and not latitude. This environmental particularity enabled elites to build a founding discourse according to which the temperate highlands were the continuation of Europe in the tropics, while the humid and hot lowlands were deemed inherently savage and uninhabitable. As a spatialization of the history of civilization, this map was also accompanied by a racial account of climatic verticality: climate organized and produced races according to altitude, the blacks and indigenous in the bottom, whites and fair-skin mestizos in the altitudes, and all racial mixtures in the middle. The vertical and climatic voyage down the tropical Andes, thus, was textualized not only as a trip in space but also in time: from white civilization to racialized black and indigenous savagery, dividing the national space, thus, into spaces of culture in the temperate highlands, and places of transit, where allegedly, according to elites, civilization could not flourish due to its climate and peoples. Imagining Colombia in such a way placed white lettered men in the predicament of coupling this fragmented geography with Nation-building discourses and with commercial fantasies of horizontal fluidity for commodity exchange. In resolving this predicament, the texts argues that a certain gaze was produced by elites traveling down and through –transiting– the lowland territories in their way to Europe or back to the Andean altitudes. Drawing from elite Colombians visiting tropical hothouses in Europe, this gaze is called "la mirada invernocular" (greenhouse gaze). In controlling climate –traveling on steamboat or airplane– this gaze separates the eye from the body, seeing from feeling, and by doing so, alienates nature from culture. The dissertation concludes that this gaze de-historicized lowland communities, representing them violently, and, in this way, anticipating real violence and justifying it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pratt, Mary Louise
Commitee: Dopico, Ana, Giorgi, Gabriel, Labanyi, Jo, Von der Walde, Erna
School: New York University
Department: Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Latin American literature, Latin American history, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies
Keywords: 19th century travelers in Latin America, Colombia, Colombian literature, Modernism, Nature and culture in Latin America, Nineteenth century, Representations of the tropics, Spanish American modernism, Spanish American regional novel
Publication Number: 3524286
ISBN: 9781267585820
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