Elizabeth Chant (UCL) - 2017-18 Students

‘Horizon on Horizon’: The Evolution of Patagonian Spaces and Places

In my doctoral thesis, I shall investigate how ideas about Patagonia have developed over time in anglophone, hispanophone, and indigenous literature and film. This will require a thorough analysis of how the landscape in particular has long been portrayed by Europeans as inhospitable, and how this might contrast with ideas found in both indigenous texts and the complex works of Argentine writers and filmmakers of European descent. Spatial theory will be my primary means for achieving this, as among others, the concepts of ‘non-places’ and ‘heterotopia’ proposed by Marc Augé and Michel Foucault respectively, provide useful insights for unpacking the conflicting locations found in these works.

Furthermore, I wish to build on the spatial analyses of Patagonia undertaken primarily by the academics Gabriela Nouzeilles and Claire Lindsay, who have linked Patagonia to heterotopic space, as well as Cristián Aliaga, Fernanda Peñaloza and Ernesto Livon-Grosman’s work on the myth-reality relationship in this setting. I plan to organise the thesis by region, as the northern reaches of Patagonia and the island of Tierra del Fuego, for example, implicate different spatial politics and are extremely diverse geographically. This approach has not yet been taken in scholarship on Patagonian culture, and I therefore believe that it will elucidate the complex nature of this region that is often approached as a homogenous location within Latin American Studies. It will enable for the exposure of Patagonian spaces and places as multifaceted locations that marry geographical traits with intangible geopolitical and affective ones.

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