Gone South: Gringos, Monsters, and the Threatening Otherness Inside Mexican Mountains

20.04.2023 | 18:00–19:30 Uhr | Hörsaal 2 | Michael Fuchs & Anna Marta Marini

Das Zentrum für Interamerikanische Studien (ZIAS) der Universität Innsbruck lädt Sie herzlich zum ersten Vortrag im Rahmen der Inside Mountains-Reihe (SoSe '23) ein:

Am Donnerstag, den 20. April 2023 (18:00–19:30 Uhr, Hörsaal 2), werden Michael Fuchs (Universität Innsbruck) und Anna Marta Marini (Universidad de Alcalá) zum Thema "Gone South: Gringos, Monsters, and the Threatening Otherness Inside Mexican Mountains" sprechen. Nach dem Vortrag können sehr gerne Fragen gestellt werden. Die Vortragenden freuen sich auf eine lebendige Diskussion.

Zum Vortrag:

"In the American imagination, Mexico functions as a quintessential Other—an inverted image of the Land of the Free, a familiar yet threatening mirror in which the United States can see its reflection. Mexico is a locus of danger by definition, one that is either associated with debauchery, crime, corruption, and barbarism or depicted as an exotic, endearing illusion that quickly reveals its perilous nature. The dangers intrinsic to Mexico’s landscape embody the dangers connected to its people and cultures: apparently welcoming and yet deceitful, uncivilized, unfathomable, and ultimately uncanny. At the same time, the historically asymmetric power relations between the two neighboring countries implies the notion of Mexico as a backyard where resources can be exploited and people—who allegedly do not have the tools to manage their own land—can be subordinated. Thus, the Mexican territory becomes the target of (neo)colonialist exploration and exploitation, from resource extraction and colonial plundering to tourism and the import of cheap labor.

In this talk, we will survey a narrative blueprint that has been repeatedly employed in US popular culture: American (neo)colonialist aspirations underpin stories in which American characters cross the southern border and head—knowingly or unknowingly—toward the mountains. On their quests, it is indeed inside these mountains that the American characters encounter the monstruous, threatening, or life-changing embodiment of the Other. Focusing on film and discussing examples including The Flying Serpent (1946), The Black Scorpion (1957), and Altered States (1980), we will show how Americans engaging in activities that range from prospecting for uranium to scientific exploration inside Mexican mountains often clash with entities and contexts that they may not understand but whose domination, subordination, or destruction serves to reassert America’s superiority."


  • Sprache: Englisch
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