The Darkening Nation

Race, Neoliberalism and Crisis in Argentina

Author(s) Ignacio Aguiló

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Iberian and Latin American Studies

  • April 2018 · 256 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786832214
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786832221
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786832238

About The Book

At the turn of the twenty-first century, Argentina was in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades, the result of years of drastic neoliberal reforms. This book looks at the way ideas about race and nationhood were conveyed during this period of financial meltdown and national emergency, examining in particular how the neoliberal crisis led to the critical self-questioning of the dominant imaginary of Argentina as homogeneously white – allegedly the result of European immigration and the extinction of most indigenous and black people in the nation-building age. The Darkening Nation focuses on how the self-examination of racial and national identity triggered by this crisis was expressed in culture, through the analysis of literary texts, films, artworks and music styles. By considering a wide range of artistic and cultural products, and different forms of racial identity and difference (white, indigenous, Afro-descendant, immigrant and negro as it is understood in local contexts), this study constitutes a timely addition from a literary and cultural studies perspective to recent academic enquiry into race and nation in Argentina.


‘Ignacio Aguiló’s study is a major contribution to an emerging scholarship on race in Argentina. Built on solid research, The Darkening Nation presents a compelling account of the ways in which Argentine culture dealt with racial anxieties and struggled to redefine nationhood in the aftermath of the 2001 crisis.’
-Professor Ezequiel Adamovsky, University of Buenos Aires/University of San Martín

‘At a time when, in Argentina and elsewhere, a racialised discourse of friend and enemy, believed to have long been superseded, once again dominates the political sphere, Ignacio Aguiló’s sweeping survey of film, literature and visual art since the millennium provides an indispensable point of critical reference.’
-Professor Jens Andermann, New York University

‘The first two short chapters offer succinct and clear background knowledge about the crisis and historical development of Argentina’s national identity…He demonstrates, nonetheless that the cultural production of the crisis played a crucial role in questioning dominant national and racial ideologies.’
- Chisu Teresa Ko, Ethnic and Racial Studies


Structure and texts
Chapter 1: Neoliberalism and its crisis
Chapter 2: The historical construction of whiteness in Argentina
Chapter 3: Facing darkness in the literature of the crisis
Literary production and the crisis
‘Asterix el encargado’
La Villa
Chapter 4: ‘A Bolivian walks into a bar…’: Race in New Argentinian Cinema
The renovation of Argentinian cinema
Chapter 5: Amerindians, fashion models and picketeers
La conquista del desierto
Grupo de Arte Callejero (GAC)
Chapter 6: Cumbia villera and the new racialised marginality
Cumbia music in Argentina
The boom of cumbia villera
Racialising the villero youth
Works cited

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Ignacio Aguiló

Ignacio Aguiló is Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester.

Read more