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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

Lucero is the literary and critical journal edited, produced and published by the graduate students of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley. This journal is currently undergoing a transition to a digital format and will continue to be dedicated to Iberian, Latin American, US Latino and Luso-Brazilian Studies. Since its first issue in 1990, it has promoted a multicultural and multilingual dialogue in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The journal’s prestige has assured its place in the Modern Language Association (MLA) Index of publications. From 1990 to the present, Lucero has invited graduate students and scholars to participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue in which every volume focuses on a specific concern related to our disciplines.

The Short Form: Brief Interventions

Articles

Madrid siglo XIX: Capital cultural del sueño liberal

El incipiente estado-nación español que se desarrolló durante el siglo XIX precisaba de una ciudad que articulara los deseos centralizadores y unificadores del proyecto liberal. Madrid debía ser aquel espejo en el que se reflejara una identidad local capitalina, y simultáneamente otra provincia periférica. Además de reformular el mapa nacional ejerciendo de centro político, la ciudad tenía que reforzar su poder como centro comercial y cultural. La novela realista, el teatro burgués, o la prensa ilustrada fueron vehículos de ideología liberal capitalista durante el siglo XIX. El presente artículo se acerca a diferentes formatos de producción cultural de extensión reducida, como artículos de prensa; publicaciones episódicas, como el folletín; o de breve duración temporal, como la zarzuela. Los ejemplos analizados en mi estudio fueron emitidos desde Madrid y enseñan ciudadanía e ideología liberal valiéndose de medios que alcanzan diferentes capas sociales de manera masiva.

Fernando Vallejo's La virjen de los sicarios: The Inferno of Bare Life

During the late 1980s and 1990s, Colombia was the global capital of cocaine trafficking and home to powerful organized crime groups like Pablo Escobar’s multinational Medellín Cartel, which brought in up to $60 million per day at the height of its operations. The tensions and feuds that erupted between rival cartels and left-wing guerrilla groups and paramilitaries working for traffickers manifested into a state of civil war in Medellín and led to the suspension of virtually the entire social and judicial order. As a result, drug lords began using sicarios (hitmen) as hired killers of authority figures and adversaries that threatened the cartels’ status and transactions. This new breed of assassins was primarily composed of young teenage boys who lived in the economically depressed and crime-ridden comunas surrounding the city below. In the early 1990s, at the height of the conflict among Escobar, the Colombian state, Cali Cartel, and the emerging paramilitaries, the murder rate in Medellín soared. There were 7,081 murders in Medellín in 1991, as compared to 730 in 1980—nearly a tenfold increase. This is the chaotic landscape of lawlessness and social upheaval that Fernando Vallejo examines in his loosely autobiographical novel La virgen de los sicarios (1994).

Sabios, super-crips y escucha profunda: Representaciones de la discapacidad como otredad en la banda experimental argentina Reynols

En julio del 2013, un grupo de científicos de la Universidad de Massachusetts publicó en la prestigiosa revista Nature losresultados de una investigación en la que afirmaban haber descubierto un gen capaz de corregir la trisomía que provoca el síndrome de Down. La noticia fue reproducida en medios de todo el mundo y aplaudida como un avance definitivo hacia la supresión de esta condición. El encomio generalizado que mereció este descubrimiento es un indicador de hasta qué punto el síndrome de Down, y las deficiencias en general, siguen estando definidas en el discurso público fundamentalmente como hechos naturales y biológicos que necesitan ser erradicados y no como construcciones sociales sujetas a relaciones de dominación. Al contrario de otras subjetividades subalternas, el discapacitado continúa siendo en la actualidad una identidad poco problematizada en tanto figura de desviación. En este artículo me propongo una lectura de la discapacidad justamente como hecho principalmente político, producido en las intersecciones de diversos discursos de poder. En particular, me centraré en cómo es construida como otredad en relación con la idea del cuerpo “normal”, útil y dócil—conceptualizado entre otros por Michel Foucault—tomando como estudio de caso la banda de música experimental argentina Reynols.

Axé: Multiple Meanings wit a Sole Essence Found in the Unity of Body, Nature and Spirit

What does the word axé signify? Is there a way to create one definition for the word? The term is capable of multiple meanings. How do we unite all of these unique meanings within a single conceptual framework in order to better grasp each distinct understanding of the term? Can we reach a totalizing understanding of axé?

Book Reviews

Karush, Matthew B. Culture of Class: Radio and Cinema in the Making of a Divided Argentina, 1920-1946

In Culture of Class, Matthew B. Karush, an associate professor of history at George Mason University, posits that American mass culture commodities shaped Argentina’s domestic cultural production in crucial ways in the 1920s and 1930s. Movies, recordings, and radio programs reveal how Argentine capitalists seeking to turn a profit tried to elevate their offerings to appeal to consumers seduced by North American modernity—mainly represented in Hollywood cinema and jazz. Karush states that in Argentina, influence of and comparison with US cultural production was a crucial factor in the construction of national mythmaking via film and radio. Exposing the population to a common national culture produced in Buenos Aires had, as a result, a paradoxical society characterized by ethnic integration, a decline of orthodox left-wing ideologies, but also a society that contained the seeds of the Perón populist explosion and the class-based polarization that followed. The book reassesses 1920s and 1930s mass culture in order to understand this paradox, considering forms of “mass cultural melodrama” that appealed at the same time to class pride and class envy, “encouraging viewers to look down on the rich even as they fantasized about being rich” (132). Karush stresses that the cultural production he examines constructed an image of Argentina that did not accurately reflect reality, and yet contributed to the construction of a “divided Argentina,” as his title suggests.