Philosophy and Criticism in Latin America: From Mariátegui to Sloterdijk

by Mabel Moraña


“This book is a timely contribution to current debates on the role of philosophy beyond the North American and European traditions, allowing the Anglophone reader access to the world of ideas of some of the most relevant Latin American thinkers of our age. Through a meticulous discussion of the works and contexts of thinkers such as of José Carlos Mariátegui, Enrique Dussel, Bolívar Echeverría, and Roger Bartra to Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Peter Sloterdijk, Mabel Moraña demonstrates that Latin American thought has not only been inseparable from Western philosophy but also from the determinants of its history and social struggles. By doing so, Mabel Moraña provides an extensive perspective on the connections between historical moments, social structures, and discursive practices. Ambitious and impressive in scope, this groundbreaking contribution destabilizes common assumptions in philosophy and criticism by untangling the intricate web of ideological, intellectual, and cultural positions proper to these disciplines, in and beyond Latin America.” —Adela Pineda Franco, Professor of Latin American Literature and Film, Boston University

"Mabel Moraña warns us about the dangers of a Westernizing epistemology, 'an episteme of Power' that oppresses different forms or worldviews, particularly those based on a close and deep experience of the reality that they try to interpret and change in Latin America. In Moraña’s words, 'criticism [becomes] a philosophical category and […] an essential component of the knowledge of the real.' The unequal process of knowledge and colonization has historically determined that European traditional philosophy places criticism and practice beyond the scope of true reflection and interpretation. For Moraña, practice and criticism constitute equally valuable forms of knowledge, interpretation, and representation which were developed in and for other cultural realities. Mabel Moraña’s book contributes to the theoretical emancipation of Latin America without falling into the common error of a certain decolonial theory that relies on an idealization of indigenous epistemes to deny the great legacy of Western philosophy. In that sense, Moraña takes up and updates the legacy of Latin American theorists of the 1960s and 1970s such as Roberto Fernández Retamar, Antonio Cornejo Polar, Ángel Rama, and others who tried to develop a literary and cultural theory appropriate to the nature of Latin American production, different from the European and Western traditions. This effort is due to the need to raise the struggle for the understanding and liberation of Latin America in the realm of ideas. This book is a major contribution to critical theory in Latin America." —José Antonio Mazzotti, King Felipe VI of Spain Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization and Professor of Latin American Literature, Tufts University, and author of The Creole Invention of Peru: Ethnic Nation and Epic Poetry in Colonial Lima


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