Is Transculturality the New Multiculturalism? How the Originally Latin American Concept of Transculturation Explains the Phenomenon of (Trans)cultural Multiplicity

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This paper seeks to illustrate how the predominately Latin American discourse on "transculturation" can be transferred to the discussion of contemporary transcultural literature of global cities such as Los Angeles. Global cities function as important nodal points in a global, cross-cultural network of translocal flows. In globalization, cultural borrowing becomes a multidirectional process of transcultural exchange, in which rigid national structures can be transgressed. To Wolfgang Welsch, the term multiculturalism is almost as inappropriate as the container-like model of single cultures because both feature an element of separation (1999). In contrast, transculturality, originally referred to as transculturation by Fernando Ortiz in the 1940s, goes beyond a mutual relationship, taking multiple influences into account. José Maria Arguedas established narrative transculturation, claiming that the Latin American society is dynamic, in continuous flux, and influenced by great foreign impact. Global transcultural literature features identical characteristics, such as the creation of a literary language representing the transcultural society, the incorporation of oral traditions, the contact between different worlds, and the introduction of a new world view (Moraña 1997; Schwarzwald 2005). This paper will demonstrate how and why these elements can be identified in the contemporary global city literature of not only the Latin American community but the entire transcultural society of Los Angeles.


Keywords: Globalization, Global Cities, Transculturality, Transcultural Literature, Latin America, Los Angeles
Stream: Cultural Perspectives
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Melanie Pooch

Doctoral Student, Department of American Literary and Cultural Studies
School of the Humanities, University of Mannheim

Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Melanie Pooch holds a degree in English Language and Literature as well as Business Administration from the University of Mannheim. Her main research interest lies in American literature and culture. She studied abroad on scholarship at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, USA. She completed her diploma thesis on the development from post-colonial hybridity to global transculturality in North American minority literature. She is currently a doctoral student and scholarship recipient of the graduate program "Formations of the Global", investigating processes of cultural globalization from literary perspectives. In the doctoral program, she is concentrating on the global cities of Los Angeles, New York as well as Toronto and their function as (trans)cultural nodal points. Her primary focus is the description of the transcultural urban novel in a globalizing age.

Ref: E11P0037