Friday, November 2nd
Join our Graduate Students in a very lively intellectual conversation.
Amy Hill will be presenting on "The Mexican Telenovela" and Heather Mawhiney will be presenting on "The Giants of the Amadis de Guala"
The giants of the Amadís de Gaula: a cultural prohibition and warning
The Spanish author Garcí de Montalvo's popular 15th century chivalric
romance, the Amadís de Gaula, presents the chivalrous hero of the
same name with monsters of different shapes, sizes and natures. In
this paper, I focus on one of those monsters: Endriago, who serves as
a mirror, reflecting in reverse the values of 15th and 16th century
Spain. In this paper, I use the theories of Jeffrey Cohen and Stephen
Asma on Monsterology to examine Endriago as an expression of
cultural anxiety and of creating narratives to contain the subaltern.
Endriago is the opposite of the pious and gallant knight-errant of the
time, grafting onto his body perversions of what is considered
knightly: his hard scales are the knight's shield, his talons and teeth
are the knight's sword, etc. In this sense, when the knight fights and
slays the monster, he is conquering his own monstrous nature, the
nature each of us possess within. Published soon after the Catholic
Ferdinand and Isabella had concluded the Reconquista, resulting in a
shift of religious power over the Iberian peninsula, we can also read
the monster Endriago as a product of a culture that desires to
distance themselves from these defeated religions, by pronouncing
them monstrous and creating in them the Other. The product of an
incestuous union, Endriago, with his grotesque and terrifying form,
attempts to represent one outside the Christian life. While this essay
focuses on a medieval text, the function of the monster in the
narrative will be familiar to modern readers.
The Mexican Telenovela: A Neo-Baroque Text of Liberation and Control
In a genre where devout Catholicism is placed side by side with
teenage abortion, the Mexican telenovela cannot be dismissed as a
simplistic form. While most commonly known for their controlled
broadcast of repetitive messages and images, a closer reading of
these telenovelas reveals their disruptive potential. Thus, instead of
asking how the mass-produced Mexican telenovela questions or
supports the dominant social order, this investigation posits the ways
in which the style, structure, and audience reaction to these
telenovelas both support and challenge this controlled hierarchy.
While relatively broad in nature, this new query provides an entryway
into the social discourse surrounding the reading of a Mexican
telenovela. This work further proposes that a productive reading of
this social discourse can be carried out through a qualitative analysis
of the telenovela's neo-baroque characteristics. Analyzing the Mexican
telenovela as a neo-baroque form highlights this media text's key
qualities; in particular, the repetition, excess and active audience
involvement that characterize it as a hybrid product, carefully existing
on the border between freedom and containment.
In Memory of our group's co-founder Isabel de Sousa Ramos