I n t r o d u c t i o n
Alterity, and
the Ethics of Representation
W
hile issues of racial, sexual, and economic
difference have become central to debates
on Latin American culture, both within the
social sciences and the humanities, little has been writ-
ten about representations of “Jewishness” in the Latin
American literary imaginary.1 Despite the fact that Jews
inhabit every Latin American country—from a small
community in Nicaragua to a significant population
in Argentina—they are not generally considered a sub-
stantial presence in the literature of that region.2 Indeed,
when I was beginning my research, interviews with nu-
merous Latin American literary scholars yielded such
answers as “Are there any Jewish figures in Latin Ameri-
can texts?” or “Do you mean Jewish writers?” or “That’s
not my area of specialization—why don’t you talk to
someone in Jewish Studies?” And yet, Jewish characters
and other representations of “Jewishness” can be found
“Jewishness,”
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