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Argentina

Stories for a Nation

2008
Author:

Amy K. Kaminsky

Argentina

The many meanings “Argentina” holds both within and beyond its borders

Amy K. Kaminsky explores Argentina’s unique national identity and the place it holds in the minds of those who live beyond its physical borders. To analyze the country’s meaning in the global imagination, Kaminsky probes Argentina’s presence in a broad range of literary texts from the United States, Poland, England, Western Europe, and Argentina itself, as well as internationally produced films, advertisements, and newspaper features.

A fascinating analysis of the ways Argentina has figured in the Western imagination, Argentina is also a necessary meditation on national identity, colonialism, and intercultural relations as both dynamic and mutually transformative.

Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, Wheaton College

By the end of the twentieth century, Argentina’s complex identity—tango and chimichurri, Eva Perón and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the Falklands and the Dirty War, Jorge Luis Borges and Maradona, economic chaos and a memory of vast wealth—has become entrenched in the consciousness of the Western world.

In this wide-ranging and at times poetic new work, Amy K. Kaminsky explores Argentina’s unique national identity and the place it holds in the minds of those who live beyond its physical borders. To analyze the country’s meaning in the global imagination, Kaminsky probes Argentina’s presence in a broad range of literary texts from the United States, Poland, England, Western Europe, and Argentina itself, as well as internationally produced films, advertisements, and newspaper features.

Kaminsky’s examination reveals how Europe consumes an image of Argentina that acts as a pivot between the exotic and the familiar. Going beyond the idea of suffocating Eurocentrism as a theory of national identity, Kaminsky presents an original and vivid reading of national myths and realities that encapsulates the interplay among the many meanings of “Argentina” and its place in the world’s imagination.

Argentina

Amy K. Kaminsky is professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies at the University of Minnesota, where she also holds appointments in the Institute for Global Studies, the graduate faculty in Spanish and Portuguese, and the Jewish Studies Program. She is author of After Exile: Writing the Latin American Diaspora (Minnesota, 1999) and Reading the Body Politic: Feminist Criticism and Latin American Women Writers (Minnesota, 1992) and editor of Water Lilies: An Anthology of Spanish Women Writers from the Fifteenth through the Nineteenth Century (Minnesota, 1995).

Argentina

A fascinating analysis of the ways Argentina has figured in the Western imagination, Argentina is also a necessary meditation on national identity, colonialism, and intercultural relations as both dynamic and mutually transformative.

Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, Wheaton College

From sensual tangos to fabulous wealth and economic disaster, from Jorge Luis Borges to Diego Armando Maradona, from Evita to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, from the violence of the white slave trade and kosher brothels to the jaundiced visions of V. S. Naipaul, Argentina impinges on Western consciousness in a fabulous variety of images created both in the country and about it. This is an intelligent, immensely readable ‘travelogue’ to be enjoyed by readers of all stripes.

Choice

The book is really wonderful and insightful, and it provides a well-designed showcase for Kaminsky’s hypothesis that the global must interact with the local in order to sustain and refresh national identity.

The Americas

This book shows that telling stories can be deeply illuminating in trying to understand the cultural roots of a nation.

Nations and Nationalism

This eclecticism is refreshing and stimulating, and the book provides much valuable and novel material for considering how Argentina has been, and continues to be, interpreted.

Bulletin of Latin American Research