The International Association of Inter-American Studies is pround to announce the winner of the 2014-2016 IAS Essay Award: Antonio Barrenechea, “Hemispheric Studies Beyond Suspicion: Comparative Literature and the Summa Americana.” In Magical Realisms, Interamericanisms, Baroques: Essays in Honor of Lois Parkinson of Zamora. Eds. Monika Kaup and John Ochoa. (critical volume-in-progress). For an advance copy of the essay, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In connection with Lois Parkinson Zamora’s Writing the Apocalypse: Historical Vision in Contemporary U.S. and Latin American Fiction, this essay explores the transformation of academic inter-Americanism from a “Literature of the Americas” wave of development founded within Comparative Literature (1982-2000) into a more U.S. critique-centered, and by extension more skeptical, Hemispheric Studies wave as defined by English and American Studies (1998-present). The author argues that the gradual subtraction of literatures and languages from the second incarnation is largely responsible for the less comparative aspect of today’s hemispherism, the raison d’être of the first wave. While forwarding a critique of the existing field, the author offers a corrective through what he calls the “Summa Americana,” a variant of the encyclopedic novel that stages a hemispheric gathering of differences across cultures and epochs.