mestizaje unfolds: as a stage of mystic humankind ~ and a bodily experience that shapes personal identities

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on mestizaje unfolds: as a stage of mystic humankind ~ and a bodily experience that shapes personal identities

The Cosmic Race (by José Vasconcelos) and Rethinking Mestizaje (by Peter Wade)

Starting with ‘The Cosmic Race’ the approach to the history of human civilization back to the Atlantean built a coherent thought of how dominant societies raise and collapse. Throughout the reading I grew fond of Vasconcelos’ idea on how the relationship the difference in economic and ideological power between North and Latin America can be traced back to how the New World nations created a bridge to Anglo-Saxon power, whereas the Latin countries grow apart from each other in several geopolitical boundaries. However, at this stage in history I think it is utopian to believe the theory of an Ibero-American race prevailing in the next momentum of a predominant mestizo race that will transform the world’s geopolitical configuration. I find particularly interesting to raise the issue of national sovereignty and identity as it is still an integral part of how we know ourselves in the world, in counterpart to the idea of living in a genuine effort towards the common interests of humankind.
The values of the cosmic race sound very mystical in the sense that people will live in a more intuitive manner, let love be free of futile morals of society and integrate the mestizo in a new perception of beauty. This last portion of the book excerpt reminded me of the book “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, in which the author unfolds these insights that ought to drive humanity to develop a mystical outlook in order to reach the Universe of harmony in the Tropics described by Vasconcelos. The argument that our connection to the Spanish could have shaped history differently is hard to swallow, since the very power of colonization brought about dominance in the same style as the Anglo-Saxon ideologies. In that sense, the Latinity he proposes to configure the mestizaje also holds a cultural superiority, as the Indigenous people would have to surrender to the civilized Iberian culture. Indeed, the argument that the Latin American peoples will lead this “revolution” can be contrasted to the recent cosmopolitanism aspect that is valuing the mestizaje in a exotic means but became part of the American culture, as well as Anglo-Saxon (the merit of mestizaje is perhaps unique in Latin America with regards to the mixture with the remanscents of red men, the indigenous peoples, which in many cases occured through an imposition during colonial period).
Peter Wade proposes an interesting approach to mestizaje, using the mosaic metaphor, but more than that I like the dynamics he proposes between the bodily experience and spaces/place specific contexts. The personal experience (with an emphasis to the notion our senses building a body experience) is a vivid account of mestizaje, beyond the ideology behind ethnonationalism. Social spaces where people communicate, bond, nourish, and procreate, is a dynamic that allows preserving the unique racial and cultural aspects of  a people, encouraging aspacts of a multi-cultural (even cosmopolitan in some cases) transformations.


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