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Border culture and cultural borders in Rio de la Plata area: exemplary works


Institute for Latin American Studies

Principal Investigator:
Prof. Sandra Nitrini
Research Team:

Dr. Horst Nitschack
Prof. Werner Thielemann
Prof. Sabine Schlikers
Prof. Gilda Neves
Dr. Léa Masina
Prof. Maria Helena Martins (USP und UFRGS)



The Project in 2004 and 2005 was supported by CAPES and DAAD (Probal Program).

The goal of the project is to examine the tense relations network of national, transnational, regional and global culture in 19th and 20th century in the literature and culture of the Río de la Plata area. The emphasis is on the loss of political and cultural sovereignty of world-wide regional cultures (internal and transnational regional cultures) due to globalization, including, the questioning of traditional political and cultural borders, their replacement by new (cultural) demarcations and the replacement of traditional by new cultural understandings and marginalizations.

The investigation will be both comparative (regarding the traditional national cultures) and inter-disciplinary. It will involve literary and linguistic scholars and linguists from Brazil and Germany. Research will include the methods of culture criticism, and particularly, those concerned with the new, not yet finished inclusion and exclusion processes.

In particular, the project aims to uncover how the gaucho culture has constructed and deconstructed the national borders established in the 19th century in the Rio de la Plata region as well as the national identities which were influenced by these borders. The project questions to what extent the texts, their authors, the literary figures, the action areas, the language and the readers can be interpreted as representative expressions of a broader world, and also, one characterized by permanent crosses and subversions. Texts and authors to be examined will be drawn from the canonical and non-canonical Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentine literatures. To this end, three investigation lines have been established: the first two are defined by the chronological connectivity and the third lies transversally between the first two.

1. Research line: “Development of the national literatures as selective act of cultural inclusion and exclusion (against internal nationalism) as well as outwards (transnational regionalisms, release from international dependence, particularly as a criticism of colonialism).”

2. Research line: “The Gaucho as ´a boarder figure´, its `death' as well as its post-colonial and post-modernism `resurgence'”.

3. Research line: “Language borders: Mixtures and delimitation tongues in the fields of Lexica, syntax and pragmatics”