Maria Mercedes Andrade
Representations of Modernity and Private Life in Colombia (1890s-1950s)
Ambivalent Desires: Representations of Modernity and Private Life in Colombia (1890s-1950s) discusses the intersection between modernity and the private sphere. It analyzes canonical and noncanonical works that reflect the existing ambivalence toward the modernizing project being implemented in the country at the time, and it discusses how the texts in question reinterpret, adapt, and even reject the ideology of modernity. The focus of the study is how the understanding of the relationship between modernity and private life relates to the project of constructing a modern nation, and the discontinuities and contradictions that appear in the process. The question of what modernity is, its implications for everyday life, and its desirability or undesirability as a new cultural paradigm were central issues in Colombian texts from the end of the nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth. At stake was the definition of the nation's identity and the project of breaking away from the cultural patterns of the colonial past. Considering that the apparently peaceful process of modernization in Colombia was interrupted in the 1950s by the eruption of political violence across the country, this study situates itself on the eve of a crisis and asks how representation of modernity in texts from this period evidence the social fragmentation that may have led to it.
About the author:
Maria Mercedes Andrade is Associate Professor at Universidad de los Andes.