Global Humanities Distinguished Lecture with Mariano Siskind (Harvard University)
Losing Latin America and the World: Towards a Cosmopolitanism of Loss
Mariano Siskind is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Comparative Literature, and Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.
This lecture is a reflection on contemporary Latin American narratives of global displacement that can no longer be understood through the concept of cosmopolitanism and its intellectual and aesthetic imaginaries. The kind of dislocation and destitution I am interested in results from the varied experiences of those who are forced out of their homes, marginalized, traumatically dispossessed and thrown out into the world (Heidegger), or rather into the ruins of a global spatial formation that can no longer be called world (for centuries, the notion of world pointed to the non-anthropocentric signifying horizon of a promise of universal emancipation that no longer exists, that has no meaning in this non-world where belonging is impossible). If cosmopolitanism can be understood as the fantasy of an expansive universal subjectivity and the euphoric affirmation of a desire for the world, the experience of contemporary global displacement points to the loss of cosmopolitan forms of subjectivation that I intend to examine in the writings of Roberto Bolaño.