Is Transculturality the New Multiculturalism? How the Originally Latin American Concept of Transculturation Explains the Phenomenon of (Trans)cultural Multiplicity
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
Doctoral Student, Department of American Literary and Cultural Studies