The Restless Dead
114 pages
English

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114 pages
English

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Description

Based on comparative readings of contemporary books from Latin America, Spain, and the United States, the essays in this book present a radical critique against strategies of literary appropriation that were once thought of as neutral, and even concomitant, components of the writing process. Debunking the position of the author as the center of analysis, Cristina Rivera Garza argues for the communality—a term used by anthropologist Floriberto Díaz to describe modes of life of Indigenous peoples of Oaxaca based on notions of collaborative labor—permeating all writing processes.

Disappropriating is a political operation at the core of projects acknowledging, both at ethical and aesthetic levels, that writers always work with materials that are not their own. Writers borrow from the practitioners of a language, entering in a debt relationship that can only be covered by ushering the text back to the communities from which it grew. In a world rife with violence, where the experiences of many are erased by pillage and extraction, writing among and for the dead is a form of necrowriting that may well become a life-affirming act of decolonization and resistance.
Acknowledgments
Introduction
My Journey through Transkrit: Planetary, Sporadic, Exphonic
Disappropriation: Writing with and for the Dead
Uses of the Archive: From the Historical Novel to Documentary Writing
Undead Authors: The Autobiographical and David Markson (1927–2010)
Brief Missives from Pompeii: The Production of Present
Writing against Violence: Make No Mistake: This Letter Is All Business
On Alert: Writing in Spanish in the United States Today
Let’s Be Stubborn
Notes
 

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 octobre 2020
Nombre de lectures 6
EAN13 9780826501233
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1750€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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The Restless Dead
CRITICAL MEXICAN STUDIES
Series editor: Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado
Critical Mexican Studies is the first English-language, humanities-based, theoretically focused, academic series devoted to the study of Mexico. The series is a space for innovative works in the humanities that focus on theoretical analysis, transdisciplinary interventions, and original conceptual framing.
The Restless Dead
Necrowriting & Disappropriation
Cristina Rivera Garza
Translated by Robin Myers
Vanderbilt University Press
Nashville, Tennessee
Translation copyright 2020 by Robin Myers.
Published 2020 by Vanderbilt University Press.
First printing 2020
Originally published in the Spanish as Los muertos indóciles. Necroescritura y desapropiación , copyright Cristina Rivera Garza, 2013, c/o Indent Literary Agency, www.indentagency.com . All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Rivera Garza, Cristina, 1964– author. | Myers, Robin, 1987– translator.
Title: The restless dead : necrowriting and disappropriation / Cristina Rivera Garza ; translated by Robin Myers.
Other titles: Muertos indóciles. English
Description: Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, [2020] | Series: Critical Mexican studies; book 1 | Includes bibliographical references.
Identifiers: LCCN 2020018702 (print) | LCCN 2020018703 (ebook) | ISBN 9780826501219 (paperback) | ISBN 9780826501226 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780826501233 (epub) | ISBN 9780826501240 (pdf)
Subjects: LCSH: Authorship—Social aspects. | Technology—Social aspects. | Violence.
Classification: LCC PN149 .R58513 2020 (print) | LCC PN149 (ebook) | DDC 808.02—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018702
LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018703
How much can a dead body experience?
Teresa Margolles
What is offered to us is that community is coming about, or rather, that something is happening to us in common. Neither an origin nor an end: something in common. Only speech, a writing—shared, sharing us.
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community
To see the dead as the individuals they once were tends to obscure their nature. Try to consider the living as we might assume the dead to do: collectively. The collective would accrue not only across space but also throughout time. It would include all those who had ever lived. And so we would also be thinking of the dead. The living reduce the dead to those who have lived, yet the dead already include the living in their own great collective.
John Berger, On the Economy of the Dead
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
My Journey through Transkrit: Planetary, Sporadic, Exphonic
Disappropriation: Writing with and for the Dead
Uses of the Archive: From the Historical Novel to Documentary Writing
Undead Authors: The Autobiographical and David Markson (1927–2010)
Brief Missives from Pompeii: The Production of Present
Writing against Violence: Make No Mistake: This Letter Is All Business
On Alert: Writing in Spanish in the United States Today
Let’s Be Stubborn
Notes
Acknowledgments
From 2006 to 2013, I wrote a weekly column of about 5,500 characters for the cultural section of Milenio , a newspaper of national circulation in Mexico. The Oblique Hand quickly became a laboratory of ideas where I explored wide-ranging topics and forms: from book reviews to translations, from travel chronicles to film analyses, from notes on contemporary art to discussions of current politics. Felipe Calderón became president, winning a hotly contested election by the slightest of margins. Immediately thereafter, he escalated the so-called War on Drugs: a long-lasting conflict with roots dating back to the late 1960s, when the Mexican state militarized counter-narcotic activities and thus paved the way for the organization of counterinsurgent groups targeting both guerrilla movements and drug traffickers from the 1970s onwards. The violence that spread across the country was hardly new to the early twenty-first century, but its spectacular cruelty defied any semblance of normalcy. Without a program in mind, I began reflecting on the war that engulfed our days and claimed so many lives. The first edition of The Restless Dead: Necrowriting and Disappropriation , published in Mexico in 2013, comprised a selection of the articles I devoted to exploring the fraught relationship between violence and writing. These were not academic pieces, but dispatches generated in a swiftly crumbling world, one I found increasingly difficult to explain with accepted truths or rusty tools. I wrote freely, in a style amenable to broader audiences regardless of the complexity, or obscurity, of the subject in question. In my mind, The Restless Dead remains a book of writing activism.
In 2008, during one of the gravest financial crises in recent years, I accepted a position as a professor in the MFA program in creative writing at the University of California, San Diego. I continued publishing The Oblique Hand on a weekly basis, but this time I was reporting from the Tijuana-San Diego border, one of the most dynamic geopolitical crossings in the world. I became a migrant in my two countries, perpetually moving back and forth. And back. Although they’re growing in number, creative writing programs remain scarce in Latin America, where most writers harbor deep-seated suspicion toward, if not outright dismissal of, the connection between writing and academia. Immersed in the US creative writing world for the first time, and writing mostly for Spanish-speaking audiences in Mexico, I used my column to explore the pros and cons of historically divergent approaches to teaching and practicing writing. In recent decades, grants funded by the Mexican state have played a greater role in supporting younger writers. Until very recently, though, gender and racial discrimination have been the uncontested norm in writing programs taught outside academic environments, and with very little accountability, in Mexico.
While I was able to develop a writing life in Spanish while teaching in English in Southern California, the marginalization of Spanish—and, more generally, of writers of color in US writing programs—proved overwhelming, and especially troubling on the UC campus in greatest geographical proximity to the US-Mexico border. Spanish majors at US campuses deemed Hispanic-Serving Institutions, such as UC Riverside and Santa Barbara, numbered 250 students. At UC San Diego, however, only about twenty-five students declared Spanish as their major in 2016. Meanwhile, students from the Spanish-speaking world entering the MFA program as bilingual writers soon learned that the institution offered English-only courses and only admitted theses written in English. Through this perverse act of erasure, the university paid lip service to the cultural and aesthetic relevance of Spanish while actively ensuring that both the language and its practitioners remained invisible or inconsequential in classrooms and hallways—and, even more importantly, in the writing valued by the system. As is true in universities countrywide, tenure appointments and salary raises continue to dismiss the relevance of work written in languages other than English, often arguing that committee members lack the credentials and linguistic skills to objectively evaluate the standing of publishing ventures abroad. Both the university and society as a whole lose out when people of color are thus impeded from contributing their input, talent, energy, and skills (linguistic and otherwise). As the poet Claudia Rankine has conveyed so electrifyingly in her book Citizen , 1 structural racism manifests itself both in outright acts of violence and in everyday microaggressions. Both hurt. Both demand a response. I explored my growing commitment to bilingual writing and to writing in Spanish in the US, both in the pieces I wrote for The Oblique Hand through 2013 (the year my column came to an end) and in my institutional engagements. As for the latter, I accepted a position at the University of Houston to start the first PhD track in Creative Writing in Spanish in 2017, the year Donald Trump became president. In many ways, the articles and personal essays I wrote for magazines and newspapers during those years, some of which have found their way into The Restless Dead , constitute an intellectual chronicle of my own journey as a bilingual migrant writer of color in the United States.
As these articles moved from The Oblique Hand and other periodical publications into this book, none of the original texts remained intact. While I tried to maintain the grittiness and immediacy often associated with journalism, I rewrote some in part, others entirely. I recreated arguments in new logical sequences. All of these texts are, in essence, disrupted texts. A sabbatical year at the University of Poitiers in France granted me the time and tranquility to reorganize these materials and shape the book’s central contentions. An artist residency at the Centro de las Artes in San Agustín Etla, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, allowed me to continue working on the project, introducing various changes and reviewing the entire manuscript in early 2013. This collection of essays wouldn’t have incorporated the Mixe concept of communality if I hadn’t spent those precious months living in Oaxaca, and if I hadn’t traveled its mountains and valleys, its rivers and coasts, in the company of Saúl Hernández Vargas and Matías Rivera De Hoyos, my son. Finally, I wouldn’t have dared to let this book exist in

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