Extranjerías, or how to exit cultural autism

Publication date:
Mieke Bal

My idea for this seminar and its publication is simple: it is possible to leave behind the political and academic limitations imposed by tradition through focusing on something Iwill call, using an untranslatable Spanish word, extranjerías. What are extranjerías, and what is the point of invoking them in this context?

In their proposal for an exhibition held in the spectacular new MUAC (Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo) in Mexico City, from January to July 2012, under the title "Extranjerías," curators Néstor García Canclíni and Andréa Giunta came up with this word. They sum up their topic as "el tránsito de lo propio a lo diferente" – again, somewhat untranslatable, but approximately rendered as the transition from "one’s own" to the different. What does that mean, and how can it help us in our academic research?