In his paper, "Towards a Map of the Current Critical Debate about Latin American Cultural Studies," Julio Ortega surveys the shifting disciplinary, critical, and methodological paradigms used to study Latin American culture in both the United States and Latin America. Describing the post-theoretical period as a moment when grand analytical models are abandoned in favor of microanalyses, Ortega sees great potential in this new paradigm shift. In his paper, Ortega pays particular attention to the ways that the field of cultural studies has emerged and transformed in Latin American academic inquiry and he considers the disavowal of master critical models to open up spaces for dialogue and critical exchange. Nevertheless, the practice of cultural studies in Latin America and the U.S. has not always indicated emancipatory politics or liberating critical readings. In order for cultural study to be heterogeneous, fluid and dialogic, scholarly work must take care to negotiate the prevailing discourses of power. Ultimately, Ortega points to the emerging field of Trans-Atlantic Studies as an exemplary case of new critical practice and he describes the field as a dynamic and open-ended area of study that does not require a traditional canon or disciplinary configuration.

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