John Beverley and Jose Oviedo
There is something about the very idea of a Latin American post-
modernism that makes one think of that condition of colonial or neocolonial
dependency in which goods that have become shopworn or out of fashion
in the metropolis are, like the marvels of the gypsies in One Hundred Years
of Solitude, exported to the periphery, where they enjoy a profitable second
life. For surely after all the articles, books, conferences, exhibitions, videos,
and performances, after Lyotard and Habermas, Madonna and Baudrillard,
the concept of postmodernism has itself begun to be devoured by habitu-
alization and to lose the power of aesthetic ostranenie that recommended
it to our attention in the first place. Yet, it is precisely at this point that, in
the last four or five years, it has come to the top of the agenda of Latin
American cultural, political, and theoretical debate.
It is the purpose of this collection to give some sense of what this
engagement has involved, less to present a "regional" variant of postmod-
ernism than to resituate the concept itself, which risks being colonized by
Anglo-European provincialism, in a more genuinely international framework
(by the year 2000, Latin America will have twice the population of the United
States). More particularly, in a context in which the argument for postmod-
ernism has been made mainly from anti- (or post-) Marxist positions, and
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