In the preface to Marranismo e Inscripción, Moreiras warns readers of the book’s “carga afectiva,” a valence palpable throughout his rigorously critical, and yet also resolutely personal, chapters. It is “autografía,” which he describes as writing that “busca verdad y produce destitución” ( Moreiras 200). Autography inscribes both oneself and one’s unknowing, always oriented toward that which exceeds it, a surplus that itself produces.
I am inclined also to call this writing – this autography – literature, not as a fetish but as the desire to know that which remains necessarily unidentified ( Moreiras 27). As memoir, history, theory and fiction, Marranismo e Inscripción resists the reduction to a singular genre, or even discipline. In this sense, it performs its very call for radically interdisciplinary scholarship. What interests me most about this book, at least as a first impression, however, is its implications for teaching literature, and particularly Latin American literature. As a committed teacher and mentor, Moreiras makes various references to this aspect of his accomplished career. He is a professor who never had a passion for teaching survey courses, especially those which promote facile understandings of culture, politics, and geography. Additionally, he is a mentor who refuses to claim disciples — instead, he mentions interlocutors and friends with whom he resists hegemony of all types.
Describing himself as neither identitarian, nor a specialist in any one “discipline,” Moreiras likely would scoff at the idea of any systematic or curricular pedagogy (Moreiras 213). Even so, the question of how to create a community (an inoperative or unworked, desobrada, community) of counter-university scholars, both within and beyond the classroom, permeates his work and begs further consideration.
“Es un placer enseñar lo que uno sabe o cree saber a los más jóvenes,” he affirms, “pero es mucho más divertido aprender con otros, tomar riesgos, empujar lo permisible y exponerse” (Moreiras 16). This scholarship, he claims, no longer needs to place itself under labels such as Latinamericanism, which are only metaphors in need of deconstruction as demetaphorization: that is, a thorough consideration of what such metaphors exclude, betray, and foreclose. For Moreiras, the point is to take the field to its own limits. He does this naturally, driven by a question that he cannot yet name but nevertheless yields tentative answers, concepts that resist their own intellectual capture. I wonder if, and how, such uncompromising curiosity – which he also calls “goce” – can be taught: “…habrá quizás otras maneras de serlo en las que el goce que uno quiso buscar pueda todavía darse. Hoy ese goce, en la universidad, solo es ya posible contrauniversitariamente (Moreiras 16-17).
Within the context of Latin American literature, a deconstructive pedagogy requires liberating thought from the signifiers “Latin American,” “literature,” and “Latin American literature,” among others. This happens by researching and teaching from “otros horizontes y otros parámetros ya no regionalistas ni excepcionalistas” (Moreiras 132). Moreiras understands such horizons as beyond any prescribed geopolitical commitments, as well as beyond disciplinary norms and prescriptions, pointing to a theoretical and infrapolitical elsewhere. This “elsewhere” might be imagined through motifs of exteriority (exile, abandonment), but also—crucially and dangerously—as folds within such boundaries and norms: clandestine, secret, marrano. Marranismo e inscripción, dares us to take this risk together.
*Position Paper read at book workshop “Los Malos Pasos” (on Alberto Moreiras’ Marranismo e Inscripción), held at the University of Pennsylvania, January 6, 2017.