Myth, Cultural Memory and Resistance in Latin American Narratives

Astvaldsson, Astvaldur
August 2011
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (1475-3839);2011, Vol. 88 Issue 6, p617
Academic Journal
In Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia, Huyssen (1995) suggests that 'in opposition to conventional thinking - societies develop not so much through remembering the past as they do through forgetting it'. However, while it is true that 'the past is not simply there in memory, but it must be articulated to become memory', that does not have to mean that 'if articulation of the past is forbidden by political or religious pressures, then the past is erased from memory'. While it would be naive to think that things are remembered in a simple, pristine way, all cultural continuity or tradition is marked by change and cultural memory is always subject to a creative process: hence, re-imagining - not forgetting - the past is the basis for how cultures survive or reinvent themselves. Drawing on examples from oral traditions and literature, the article shows how, in dynamic resistance to oppression and the negative influence on their communities by invaders and outsiders, Latin American peoples and writers have actively and creatively redefined/ reinvented their past/cultural memory to point to positive alternatives to Western, capitalist modernity.En Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia (1995), Huyssen sugiere que 'en oposición al pensamiento convencional - las sociedades no se desarrollan tanto a través de recordar el pasado como a través de olvidarlo'. Mientras es cierto que 'el pasado no simplemente está allá, sino tiene que ser articulado para convertirse en memoria', esto no quiere decir que 'si la articulación del pasado es prohibido por presiones políticas o religiosas, entonces el pasado se borra de la memoria'. Mientras que sería ingenuo pensar que lo que sucede se recuerda de una manera simple y clara, toda continuidad cultural o tradición está marcada por cambios y la memoria siempre depende de un proceso creativo: por lo tanto, re-imaginar - no olvidar - el pasado es la base de cómo las culturas sobreviven, o se reinventan. Haciendo uso de ejemplos de las tradiciones orales y de la literatura, este artículo muestra como, en una resistencia dinámica a la opresión y a la influencia negativa sobre sus comunidades de invasores y forasteros, la gente y los escritores latinoamericanos han redefinido/reinventado activa y creativamente su pasado/memoria cultural para indicar alternativas positivas a la modernidad occidental capitalista.


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