Reimagining the Hemispheric South

Carl Gutiérrez-Jones
UC Santa Barbara

This conference built on contemporary re-theorizations of the Global South by exploring the rapid transformation of many relationships, communities, and alliances within the Western hemisphere. While the concept of the Hemispheric South suggests a move away from the nation-state as a primary unit of critical analysis, it also intends to foreground the manner in which imperial, colonial, and nationalist projects, along with predatory forms of capitalism, have shaped definitions of hemispheric “southernness”: unique poverty (including constructions of indigeneity and the rural), wealth (including natural resources, beauty), and culture (including ideas of authenticity). Overall, the conference examined the multiple realities, knowledge systems, migrations, and intellectual border crossings associated with “southernness” in the Americas, especially as these dynamics contribute to articulations of the Americas as part of the “Global South.” In particular, this event was an opportunity to consider the ways that the Hemispheric South has unfolded as a powerful facet of the social imaginary. Focusing on relationships and negotiations in the Americas which stretch over many hundreds of years, the conference invited scholars and the interested public to consider the complicated struggles that have ensued in various media as a great array of meanings have been attached to notions of the “southern” in this context.