David Luis-Brown
(Claremont Graduate University, CA, USA)

Dos Hemisferios: Racial Capitalism and the Problem of Latinidad in Hispano-American Newspapers in Paris and New York City, 1852-1856″

July 1, 2024, 15:10pm, N.206 (Campus Germersheim)


The phrase dos hemisferios (“two hemispheres”) captured the breathtaking ambition of two leading Spanish-language newspapers in Paris, El Eco de Ambos Mundos (1852-55) and its successor, El Eco Hispano-Americano (1854-72), to use the technology of the newspaper to bridge the vast distances separating Spanish-speakers in the Atlantic world through intellectual exchange and assertions of a coherent linguistic and cultural identity. What the papers variously characterized as “Spaniards,” the “raza latina” (the “Latin race”) or the Hispano-American people, today we term Latinidad—discourses on the culture and identity of Latin Americans and Latina/o/x people. Examining two-year runs of the Eco papers alongside the Cuban exile paper El Mulato (1854) in New York City, I show how these newspapers constructed implicit and explicit discourses of Latinidad linking the dos hemisferios, at times reinforcing racial capitalism and Spanish colonialism and at times criticizing their forms of exploitation and oppression, thereby expanding the bounds of Latinness. Very briefly, theories and histories of racial capitalism argue that racial differentiation is central to the processes of violent accumulation of capital and exploitation that are central to capitalism (Jenkins and Leroy, Melamed, C. Robinson, Singh).


David Luis-Brown is an associate professor in the Cultural Studies and English Departments at Claremont Graduate University. His research specializations include hemispheric Americas studies, Latino/a/x studies, black diaspora studies, and American literature and culture in general. He is the author of Waves of Decolonization: Discourses of Race and Hemispheric Citizenship in Cuba, Mexico and the United States (Duke University Press, 2008). Luis-Brown is working on two books: a critical edition and translation of Andrés Avelino de Orihuela’s Cuban 1854 antislavery novel, El Sol de Jesús del Monte, under submission at a university press; and Blazing at Midnight: Slave Rebellion and Social Identity in Cuban and U.S. Culture. One of the chief aims of Blazing at Midnight is to assess techniques of social categorization in predisciplinary social science, travel narratives, novels, periodicals, and visual culture.


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