23/11/2018 - Multiple Modernities in Latin America

The Ibero-American Centre (IAC) at Metropolitan University Prague in cooperation with Luso-Brazilian Studies Department and KREAS project at the Charles University in Prague are pleased to invite to the conference "Multiple Modernities in Latin America: Discourse on modernity and antimodernity in the political and identification processes from the 19–21st century".

DATE & VENUE: 23 November 2018, Metropolitan University Prague, Prokopova 100/16

Please register at registration.mup.cz
The registration is free of charge.


The theme of modernity in Latin America abounds in historical paradoxes, as Jorge Larrain reminds us: Latin America was born at the beginning of European modernity without being allowed to become modern by the colonial powers. With the process of independence, many Latin Americans embraced enthusiastically the Enlightenment ideas. It was, however, more in their formal and cultural discourse than in practice. When political and economic modernity began finally to be implemented in the 20th century, cultural doubts started to emerge as to whether Latin America could adequately modernize, or whether it was at all desirable to modernize by following European and North American patterns.

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to analyse the discourses on modernity and anti-modernity in Ibero- American cultural and political space, that is in Hispanic America, as well as Brazil, Spain and Portugal, in their complex cultural and political implications from the 19th century until this day. To this end, we shall examine first how the discourse of modernity has been constructed. What has been a specific Hispanic America’s, Brazilian or Iberian trajectory to modernity? Can we speak of Latin America’s distinctive version of modernity, one shaped by its peripheral position and colonial and postcolonial experience?

The discourse on modernity has also given rise to a discourse of anti-modernity. It was not the failures of modern regimes, Steven B. Smith pointed out, but the very success of Enlightenment ideas – individual rights, democracy, freedom and universal suffrage - that made modernity a continual site of discontent. In Latin America, ideas of modernity enjoyed prominence in periods of expansion, yet in times of crises, they came to be conceived as external and in opposition to the alleged essence of region’s culture and its identity. Some do not hesitate to consider the conflict and oscillation between modernity and identity in Latin America – never entirely resolved - as ultimately the major feature of Latin American cultures.