Distant intimacies : queer literature and the visual in the U.S. and Argentina




Francica, Cynthia Alicia

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This dissertation focuses on literary and visual works produced by queer/feminist Argentine press and art gallery ‘Belleza y Felicidad’ (1999-2007) and its encounter with ‘Belladonna*’ (1999-present), a U.S. reading series and publishing project. It seeks to describe the ways in which the precarious modes of production, circulation, and reception of the literary and visual artworks of ‘Belleza y Felicidad’ both enable and are enabled by local and hemispheric social networks grounded on embodied, affective approaches to aesthetic practices. I argue that those queer/feminist creative networks become embedded in works by authors such as Fernanda Laguna, Pablo Pérez, César Aira, and Roberto Jacoby. Bringing academic attention to the fragile materiality of the works produced by these authors, my research involves an effort to map, collect and register the ephemeral literary and visual archive of this crucial moment of Latin American queer cultural production.

This dissertation crafts the notion of ‘distant intimacies’ to account for the formal, affective, and sensorial qualities of these works as well as for the local and hemispheric modes of queer relationality on which they are grounded. It shows that, through their investment in ‘distant intimacies,’ the literary and visual objects it studies consistently investigate experimental modes of community formation. That investigation of intimate bonds, in turn, grounds ‘Belleza y Felicidad’ chapbooks and visual artworks’ deployment of what I term ‘dystopian utopias’—queer imaginings, visuals, precarious materialities, and affectively charged performances which function to rethink radical politics at the moment of the Argentine neoliberal social crisis of the late 1990s and early 2000s. This dissertation claims that these works’ dys/utopian projections give account of the multiple ways in which recent and long histories of local and global economic, social, and political violence become enmeshed with queer affects and desires in the Argentine context.



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