This project seeks to develop the notion of biopoetics as an analytical and critical concept enabling us to grasp a series of novel and heterodox engagements in contemporary Brazilian and Latin American literature and visual arts with personhood and with life and the living, in a way that frequently calls into question the species barrier between the human and the non­ human. Building on converging research interests between younger as well as established scholars affiliated with the Chair for Latin American and Lusa-Brazilian Studies (University of Zurich) and the CNPq-funded ‘Bioescritas’ research group (lnstituto de Letras, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) , this project aims to define a shared conceptual agenda in view of a future research collaboration (including a major joint grant application at the level of SNF/ERC and Capes/CNPq , respectively) through a series of joint activities including workshops and short courses . In particular, it aims to create a fluid and mutually inspiring transfer of ideas stemming from the context of Brazilian literary, art and film criticism, on the one hand, and from Latin American cultural studies as practiced by the applicant and his team at the University of Zurich, on the other. Biopoetics, in this sense, aims to bring into dialogue , and confront with one another , two important strands of contemporary debates in critical theory and aesthetics : on the one hand, the question of ‘autofiction ‘ -including , in the fields of film , theater , the visual arts and media studies, the idea of performative or vicarious selves, indeed of a ‘show do eu’ (Sibilia 2008)- and, on the other hand, the critique of the biopolitical capture of the living and its implications for aesthetic practice (among which is the radical critique of notions of the aesthetic as a distinctive form of sensibility singling out the human species). Biopoetics seeks to read together -or to read against one another- the contemporary difficulties of upholding an autonomous subject (autofiction) and of distinguishing human from non-human life (biopolitics), in a critical engagement with literary, artistic and cinematic productions of the present from Brazil and Latin America.
Prof. Jens Andermann
Prof. Chiara Ana Cristina de Rezende