• The Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary

    Author(s):
    Pages: 240
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4332-5
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4367-7
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction: "Jewishness," Alterity, and the Ethics of Representation 1

    1. Diagnosing "Jewishness" 29

    2. The Scene of the Transaction 74

    3. Textual Conversations 119

    4. The Limits of Representation 154

    Notes 179

    Bibliography 195

    Index 207
  • The Wandering Signifer [makes a] singular contribution to the literature on difference in diverse Latin American cultural scenes. Zivin's study adds another dimension to solving the conundrum of how to represent ethically ‘unnarratable others,’ those voices and figures who attest to the vibrant, yet polemical and ambiguous heterogeneity of the Latin American experience.

    The Wandering Signifier fills a void in the fields of Latin American and Jewish studies with an original, intelligent, and well-researched study of the problems of representing constructions of Jewish identity from a cultural, ideological, racial, and political perspective. . . . Thanks to her sophisticated analysis of the difficult problem of representation of alterity in Latin American literature and her novel perspective on the uses of the concepts of ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewishness’ in this body of literature, The Wandering Signifier makes an important contribution to Jewish and Latin American Studies scholarship and to the field of cultural studies in general.”

    The Wandering Signifier makes an important and much-needed contribution to Latin American literary studies. The book develops a series of thematic explorations that have previously been understudied in this field, while also making a convincing argument as to the importance of Jewishness for Latin American literary and social history. Moreover, Graff Zivin’s readings are enlivened by her sophisticated grasp of difficult theoretical debates (Levinas and Derrida in particular). . . . [I]n The Wandering Signifier Graff Zivin has established a new and vital bridge between two fields that have avoided sustained consideration of their points in common for too long now.”

    “As a comprehensive analysis of the rhetoric of Jewishness, with emphasis on literary theory, The Wandering Signifier should be of interest to students of Latin American, Cultural and Jewish Studies.”

    “In this original and profound study, Graff Zivin raises deep philosophical and methodological concerns. . . . It is here, in the third section that concludes the book, where the importance of Graff Zivin’s work lies, raising the discussion of Jewishness to a completely new level.”

    “Issues of difference have become central to debates about Latin American culture, making this book a valuable contribution to a corpus of literature about identity in the Americas.”

    Reviews

  • The Wandering Signifer [makes a] singular contribution to the literature on difference in diverse Latin American cultural scenes. Zivin's study adds another dimension to solving the conundrum of how to represent ethically ‘unnarratable others,’ those voices and figures who attest to the vibrant, yet polemical and ambiguous heterogeneity of the Latin American experience.

    The Wandering Signifier fills a void in the fields of Latin American and Jewish studies with an original, intelligent, and well-researched study of the problems of representing constructions of Jewish identity from a cultural, ideological, racial, and political perspective. . . . Thanks to her sophisticated analysis of the difficult problem of representation of alterity in Latin American literature and her novel perspective on the uses of the concepts of ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewishness’ in this body of literature, The Wandering Signifier makes an important contribution to Jewish and Latin American Studies scholarship and to the field of cultural studies in general.”

    The Wandering Signifier makes an important and much-needed contribution to Latin American literary studies. The book develops a series of thematic explorations that have previously been understudied in this field, while also making a convincing argument as to the importance of Jewishness for Latin American literary and social history. Moreover, Graff Zivin’s readings are enlivened by her sophisticated grasp of difficult theoretical debates (Levinas and Derrida in particular). . . . [I]n The Wandering Signifier Graff Zivin has established a new and vital bridge between two fields that have avoided sustained consideration of their points in common for too long now.”

    “As a comprehensive analysis of the rhetoric of Jewishness, with emphasis on literary theory, The Wandering Signifier should be of interest to students of Latin American, Cultural and Jewish Studies.”

    “In this original and profound study, Graff Zivin raises deep philosophical and methodological concerns. . . . It is here, in the third section that concludes the book, where the importance of Graff Zivin’s work lies, raising the discussion of Jewishness to a completely new level.”

    “Issues of difference have become central to debates about Latin American culture, making this book a valuable contribution to a corpus of literature about identity in the Americas.”

  • The Wandering Signifier is a superb cross-national literary study that touches on questions of diaspora, ethnic relations, and memory. It is accessible to a broad public interested in fields including Latin American studies, cultural studies, and Jewish studies. Erin Graff Zivin moves subtly between the work of Zygmunt Bauman, Jorge Luis Borges, Margo Glantz, and Ricardo Piglia (among many others) to examine the sociopolitical implications of the many symbolic constructions of Jewishness in Latin American literature. The imaginative scholarship, narrative excellence, and wide-ranging insights make this work required reading for students in multiple fields.” — Jeffrey Lesser, author of, A Discontented Diaspora

    “Erin Graff Zivin’s book proposes a sophisticated reflection on notions of national belonging, scenes of cultural crisis, and the ethical import of constructing the ‘Jew-as-Other’ in critical moments of Latin American history. Indeed, this is the first study to address the powerful symbolic presence of Jews in Latin America and the first to consider the ways in which the literary representations of Jewishness enter into productive discussions of citizenship, identity, and ultimately salutary alterity. I am willing to predict that The Wandering Signifier will very soon be considered an indispensable book.” — Sylvia Molloy, Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, New York University

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    While Jews figure in the work of many modern Latin American writers, the questions of how and to what end they are represented have received remarkably little critical attention. Helping to correct this imbalance, Erin Graff Zivin traces the symbolic presence of Jews and Jewishness in late-nineteenth- through late-twentieth-century literary works from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Ultimately, Graff Zivin’s investigation of representations of Jewishness reveals a broader, more complex anxiety surrounding difference in modern Latin American culture.

    In her readings of Spanish American and Brazilian fiction, Graff Zivin highlights inventions of Jewishness in which the concept is constructed as a rhetorical device. She argues that Jewishness functions as a wandering signifier that while not wholly empty, can be infused with meaning based on the demands of the textual project in question. Just as Jews in Latin America possess distinct histories relative to their European and North American counterparts, they also occupy different symbolic spaces in the cultural landscape. Graff Zivin suggests that in Latin American fiction, anxiety, desire, paranoia, attraction, and repulsion toward Jewishness are always either in tension with or representative of larger attitudes toward otherness, whether racial, sexual, religious, national, economic, or metaphysical. She concludes The Wandering Signifier with an inquiry into whether it is possible to ethically represent the other within the literary text, or whether the act of representation necessarily involves the objectification of the other.

    About The Author(s)

    Erin Graff Zivin is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the editor of The Ethics of Latin American Criticism: Reading Otherwise.

Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu