Posted by: | March 8, 2009 | Comments Off on Transculturation

In Cuba Counterpoint by Fernando Ortiz I found it interesting to read the difference between acculturation and transculturation. Acculturation in Ortiz’s point of view, does not describe the history and culture of Cuba as well as transculturation. Just to be clear between the two I went to look on to and here is what I found : Acculturation is the process of adopting cultural traits from another cultural group, whereas transculturation is the cultural change induced by foreign cultures.

What Ortiz argues is that the real history of Cuba is best described using the term transculturation. The land and the people have not simply adopted each others traits, but have readjusted to each others cultures in a what Ortiz calls a “new syncretism of cultures.” (On a personal note, I didn’t know that the natives in Cuba, like in Haiti, were wiped out by the European colonist. I find that interesting because it makes me wonder what sort of influences they would have on Cuba’s contemporary popular culture.) Emphasized in this text is that what is contemporary Cuban culture is in a continuous process since the interactions between the paleolithic and neolithic natives to the Spanish colonist and subsequent African slaves and immigration.

Antonia Cornejo Polar takes a critical examination on the various types of literature by specifically classifying heterogenous and homogenous literature according to the processes of their production and consumption. The aim of this paper I believe was to provide a critical examination between these two distinctions, but I don’t really understand the purpose. Literature in Latin America encompasses a wide range of genres or “categories”, but what I think Polar wanted to emphasize is that often these texts are heterogenous, meaning that they are a created through a complexities and conflicting circumstances from its production to its “consumption”. I admit that although this article contained lots of interesting substance,I believe I may have misunderstood parts of it as I frequently consulted the dictionary close by. But one thing caught my curiousity was when Polar explained the way in which middle class mestizos, through their publication of indigenista literature, conformed to a heterogenous dimension in such that they took on the interests of the indigenous when in fact most indigenista literature excluded these very people. This would be interesting to elaborate more in class through discussion.

In Transculuration, I believe what Millington was trying to argue was for more of a reflection upon the usage of the term transculturation. Millington discussed and analyzed Ortiz’s text as he drew upon it various criticisms associated with it. I found this article interesting as it went more into depth whereas I found Ortiz’s definition of transculturation a bit simplified. All in all the term transculturation seems very debatable but I liked what Millington said in his conclusion: ” Such critical analysis may not in itself change the world but it can further understanding of what is happening in it”.


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