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Talk: Dr. Victoria Saramago, "Electroshock and Hydropower: Writing the Great Acceleration in Brazil's Military Dictatorship"

Event Type
Department of Spanish & Portuguese and The Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
wifi event
Nov 11, 2021   4:00 pm  
Carolyn Fornoff
Originating Calendar
Spanish and Portuguese Calendar

You are invited to join us on November 11 from 4-5 PM CST for a talk by Dr. Victoria Saramago, "Electroshock and Hydropower: Writing the Great Acceleration in Brazil's Military Dictatorship"

Register for the Zoom link to Dr. Saramago's talk here:

This talk is generously sponsored by UIUC's Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies.

Abstract: “Electroshock and Hydropower: Writing the Great Acceleration in Brazil’s Military Dictatorship,” proposes to expand the scope of the Latin American environmental humanities by reading works that address repression under the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s as narratives of the Anthropocene. While critical convergences between the environmental humanities and post-dictatorial literature remain rare in Latin American studies, this talk bridges that gap by showing how the presupposition of a limitless supply of electrical energy so central to the Great Acceleration, understood as a period of the Anthropocene, was embodied in paradigmatic literary genres and problems of the re-democratization period in the 1980s. First, I discuss elegiac environmental poetry about the building of megadams for hydroelectric power generation in the poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade; second, I analyze the myriad of narrative forms about torture, which the military dictatorship primarily carried out through electroshock, with a focus on Frei Betto's Batismo de sangue (1982). “Electroshock and Hydropower” reads these bodies of work as two sides of the same coin in an attempt to push literary approaches to the environment beyond the traditional scope of environmental studies. 

Bio: Victoria Saramago is an assistant professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century Latin American literatures and cultures with a focus on narrative, the environmental humanities, the energy humanities, the Great Acceleration and the Anthropocene, fiction theory, mimesis, and interdisciplinary approaches to literature and the environment. Her most recent book, Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America, was published in 2021 by Northwestern University Press. She is currently co-editing two books: The Handbook of Latin American Environmental Aesthetics (commissioned by De Gruyter) with Jens Andermann and Gabriel Giorgi; and Literature Beyond the Human: Post-Anthropocentric Brazil (under contract with Routledge) with Luca Bacchini and Jamille Pinheiro Dias. She is also the author of O duplo do pai: O filho e a ficção de Cristovão Tezza (É Realizações, 2013), and her articles have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Novel: A Forum on FictionRevista Hispánica Moderna, and Luso-Brazilian Review, among others.

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