Beatriz Sarlo Delivers a Series of Seminars at UMD

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Beatriz Sarlo, one of Argentina’s most prominent public intellectuals and one of Latin America’s most important cultural critics, delivered a seminar series during the first week of April, 2017 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Sarlo’s visit was made possible by “Hoy: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Present,” The Graduate School, The Field Committee for the Advancement of Research: Latin America in Transit, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

To begin the series Beatris Sarlo presented, “Viajar con Beatriz Sarlo: libros, lecturas y experiencia [Travelling with Beatriz Sarlo: Books, Readings ]” on Tuesday, April 4. The seminar focused on concepts from her travel chronicles collected in her book, Viajes de la Amazonía a las Malvinas, that were put in dialogue with writings by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Michel Foucault, David Harvey, Edward Kaufman, among others. In addition, Sarlo reflected on how travels are narrated and shared today with the development and influence of the new technologies. The discussion of travel narratives and readings engaged the audience, which included students and professors from the University of Maryland and other universities from the area.

The second event of the series, “Barthes and Borges” was held on Thursday, April 6 in the Special Events Room in McKeldin Library. In her lecture, Beatriz Sarlo addressed the lack of writings and comments by Roland Barthes on Jorge Luis Borges. The latter became a widely known author around the world due, in part, to the interest on his work shown by French intellectuals. Barthes remained rather indifferent, which called the attention of Beatriz Sarlo and led her to examine both authors’ world views, where their incompatibility might be located. The lecture was followed by a session of questions and answers and a reception.

Beatriz Sarlo’s visit came to an end with “Radiografía del presente: una charla con Beatriz Sarlo [Radiograph of the Present: A Conversation with Beatriz Sarlo],” a discussion on Argentina and Latin America. An initial reflection on the idea that Argentina is destined to greatness, as it is conceived in the country’s collective imaginary, led to the discussion of a variety of topics relating to its social and political present, which was broaden to include other countries in the region.

The graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese made the most of Sarlo’s visit. Daniela Bulansky and Sofía Maurette conducted an interview that will be published in Animal de Fondo, the literary and cultural journal of the graduate students of the aforementioned department.

Beatriz Sarlo is the former Chair of Contemporary Literature at the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires and has taught in many universities in the United States and Europe. She founded the journal Punto de Vista with a group of progressive intellectuals during the last military regime in Argentina. Her published books include El imperio de los sentimientos (1985),  Escenas de la vida posmoderna: Intelectuales, arte y videocultura (1994), and La máquina cultural: Maestras, traductores y vanguardistas (1998). Beatriz Sarlo is also a contributor to La Nación and Clarín, two of Argentina’s leading newspapers.