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“How Do We Think of Social Diversity”

Luis Tapia, CIDES, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University; Bruno Bosteels, Columbia University

April 13, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · East Pyne 010

Program in Latin American Studies

Today’s call for diversity in the United States quite often reduces itself to body counts. René Zavaleta Mercado (1937-1984) confronted the question of respecting diversity in the analysis of social reality in the twentieth century. Luis Tapia’s Towards a History of the National-Popular in Bolivia, now translated into English for the first time, confronts this question not only in terms of mere inclusion and exclusion but in terms of a “motley” social situation, devising methodology to represent its demand. It is time that we in the United States take this text out of its silo and use it to think diversity beyond the inevitably hierarchized “intersection” model.

Luis Tapia, an imaginative activist, is the best expert on Zavaleta we have. In his book, The Production of Local Knowledge: History and Politics in the Work of René Zavaleta Mercado, also translated into English for the first time, he lays out an epistemological program to make Zavaleta’s injunctions real. How do we have to change ourselves so that the idea of a “motley” society does not turn into voting blocs, destroying democracy?

Books will be made available for purchase by Labyrinth Books at the event.

Luis Tapia is a philosopher, teacher, and researcher. He is the director of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral Program in Developmental Sciences, CIDES, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés and National Autonomous University of Mexico. His publications include Marxismo transcritico (2017), El momento constitutive del estado moderno en Bolivia (2015), Epistemología experimental (2014), and Universidad y pluriverso (2014).

Gayatri Chakravarty Spivak is University Professor, and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.  Her many works include A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present (1999), Death of a Discipline (2003), An Aesthetic Education in the Age of Globalization (2012), Nationalism and the Imagination (2015), and has recently co-edited Living Translation (2022). She has received a Lifetime Scholarly Achievement from the Modern Language Association of America (2018), the Padma Bhushan, awarded by the Republic of India (2013), the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy (2012), and, most recently, the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Columbia University Asian Faculty Association (2023).

Bruno Bosteels is professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture, and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Badiou o el recomienzo del materialism dialéctico (2007), Alain Badiou: une trajectoire polémique (2009), The Actuality of Communism (2011), and, most recently, La comuna Mexicana (2021).


Eduardo Cadava, Professor of English, Princeton University

This event is free and open to the public.

Program in Latin American Studies, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), Program in Translation, and Labyrinth Books
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