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Fabricating the Thanatopolitical Body in Rodrigo Rey Rosa's Carcel de arboles

Bollington, L; (2018) Fabricating the Thanatopolitical Body in Rodrigo Rey Rosa's Carcel de arboles. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies , 27 (1) pp. 115-133. 10.1080/13569325.2017.1414039. Green open access

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Abstract

Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s first novella, Cárcel de árboles (1991), tells the story of a secret politico-medical experiment conducted on prisoners who have been condemned to death by the State. The experiment takes place in a prison camp located in the tropical forest. In this article, I examine the portrayal of power and embodiment in Rey Rosa’s novella, placing the text in dialogue with thanatopolitical theory and outlining the ways it evokes the historical context of violence and economic transition in Guatemala. I commence by discussing the forms of power at work in the novella’s prison camp, before examining the significance of medical science to Rey Rosa’s depiction of embodiment. I then explore the complex aesthetic and ethical questions embedded in the relationship between language, textuality and the body in the novella. Finally, I discuss the post-human dimensions of the text that emerge in the relationship between the human bodies of the prisoners and the non-human terrain. Over the course of this analysis, I contend that Rey Rosa marshals the body to invoke the ways in which the category of the ‘human’ is formed, deconstructed and reconfigured in the face of the destructive power that operates in the modern techno-scientific epoch.

Type: Article
Title: Fabricating the Thanatopolitical Body in Rodrigo Rey Rosa's Carcel de arboles
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13569325.2017.1414039
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13569325.2017.1414039
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, Thanatopolitics, medical power-knowledge, posthumanism, embodiment, Guatemalan literature
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060294
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