Challenging the Lettered City: counter-hegemonic modes of literacy in Latin America

Humblé, P. (Chair), Christiane Stallaert (Participant), Martha Pulido (Participant), Sergio Romanelli (Participant), Cristina Kleinert (Participant), Carmen Núñez Borja (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in or organizing a public lecture/debate


From the 16th Century, as a result of Iberian colonialism, the ‘first globalization’ was characterized by a world system where being literate (‘ser letrado’) became a constituent of colonial power relations. In the colonial context, the notion of literacy took a Eurocentric definition, meaning written literacy in the colonizer’s (Western) language. This narrow Eurocentric concept of literacy guaranteed the survival of a structural ‘coloniality of power’ even after independence and the end of colonialism. By the end of the 20th Century, a new world order emerged characterized by intensified global mobility and interconnectedness. From a historical Latin American point of view and according to world-system analysis, the current age can be defined as a ‘second globalization’, coinciding with the emergence of alternative forms of literacy able to challenge and even undo the structural colonial power relations characteristic of the ‘Lettered city’ put in place during the first globalization. In our symposium we will trace and discuss itineraries from colonial to de-colonial literacies related to Latin America within the context of the new Global City of the 21st Century. A common thread between the presented case-studies – covering most of the Latin American continent- is a trans-disciplinary conceptual and analytical framework informed by Anthropology, Translation and Intercultural Studies.
Period27 Feb 2014
Event typeWorkshop
LocationBrussels, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational