Latinx Modernism and the Spirit of Latinoamericanismo


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Latinx modernism” denotes both an archive and an argument. The archive comprises the thousands of literary texts published in Spanish-language periodicals, which were the most important literary institutions for US Latinx communities in the early twentieth century. The argument: that these texts provide us a new genealogy of Latinidad and a new understanding of American modernity. In contrast to accounts that say the panethnic designation “Latino” emerged in the 1980s, this project shows how the shared Latinity of Latinx communities was already present on the literature pages of newspapers and magazines in the early twentieth century. This is the dawn of Latinoamericanismo, a discourse of hemispheric solidarity that critiques US imperialism and celebrates Latin American spiritual refinement. Latinoamericanismo is thus both oppositional and elitist. Latinx modernism, however, does not merely reproduce Latinoamericanismo, but transforms it, grappling with its elitism while amplifying its critique from within the belly of US empire.