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General Introduction
T
he main purpose of this reader is to provide a comprehensive
view, documented through established texts and authors, of the
specific problems, topics, and methodologies that characterize
Latin American cultural studies vis-a-vis ` British and U.S. cultural stud-
ies. The reader, which includes essays by many of the most prominent in-
tellectuals from both Latin America and abroad who specialize in this
field, aims to provide scholars and students from all the disciplines in
the humanities and the social sciences with a condensed but methodical
and exhaustive compilation, but also to map out, from a critical perspec-
tive, the concrete sociohistorical and geopolitical circumstances as well
as the specific problems and relevant polemics that make up the field in
dialogue and in contest with other theoretical and critical discourses.
Givenitsgoal,thebook’stwoaxialhypothesesarefirst,thatLatinAmeri-
can cultural studies are a disputed field in a global scenario, which can-
not be fully understood or further advanced without considering its
historical grounding in Latin American sociocultural processes, and sec-
ond, that despite common interpretations, Latin American cultural stud-
ies are not just the product of an epistemological break, postmodern or
otherwise, but also the result of specific historical continuities. Thus,
through the introduction of selected readings, the book traces and dis-
plays the genealogical lines and epistemological crossroads that mark
the sociohistorical and geocultural specificity of Latin American cultural
studies by signaling its peculiar aesthetic, institutional, political, and
cultural problematics, its diverse methodologies, and its historical ante-
cedents, precursors, and founders, always in dialogue with a multiplicity
ofexternalinfluences.Inorderto offerdifferentpossiblepathsofreading
amid the synchronic and diachronic tensions, conflicts, and transforma-
tions, as well as the overlapping critical trends and heterogeneous socio-
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