Jean Franco's work as a pathbreaking theorist, cultural critic, and scholar has helped to define Latin American studies over the last three decades. In the process, Franco has played a crucial role in developing cultural studies in both the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds. Critical Passions is the first volume to gather a wide-ranging selection of Franco's influential essays.
A key participant in the major debates in Latin American studies-beginning with the "boom" period of the 1960s and continuing through debates on ideology and discourse, Marxism, mass culture, and postmodernism-Franco is recognized for her feminist critique of Latin American writing. While her principal books are all readily available, Franco's several dozen articles are dispersed in a variety of periodicals in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Although many of these essays are considered pioneering and classic, they have never before been collected in a single work. In this volume, Mary Louise Pratt and Kathleen Newman have organized the essays into four interrelated sections: feminism and the critique of authoritarianism, mass and popular culture, Latin American literature from the "boom" onward, and the cultural history of Mexico. As a group, these writings demonstrate Franco's ability to reflect on and judge with equal seriousness all spheres of expression, whether subway graffiti, a fashion manual, or an avant-garde haiku. A bona fide fan of popular and mass media, Franco never allows her critiques to dissolve into the puritanical or reductive; instead, she finds ways to present and debate complex theoretical questions in direct and accessible language.
This volume will draw an extensive readership in Latin American, cultural, and women's studies.