PUBLIC LECTURE

17 May 2024, 15:00 – 17:00

Greater South Cultures: Resisting Stereotypes and Folklorisation

Organised by the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC) and
Addis Ababa University

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OSC Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the Organisation of Southern Cooperation’s Constitutive Charter. It is “devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the Organisation and to gaining their support for and their proactive involvement with the work” of the OSC. In this spirit, the Public Lecture on the theme of Greater South Cultures: Resisting Stereotypes and Folklorisation will be a thought-provoking exploration of how we can resist challenges to cultural integrity and weave solidarities that build bridges of new commonalities. Ethiopia’s flagship university, Addis Ababa University, is the co-host for this OSC Day 2024 event.

Public Lecture

Abel Prieto Jiménez

President of Casa de Las Américas, Former Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cuba
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Abel Prieto Jiménez (Pinar del Río, Cuba, 1950) is a Cuban politician, writer, and literary critic. He is considered one of the most important figures in Cuban culture. He holds a Hispanic Language and Literature degree from the University of Havana (1973). He was director of the Arte y Literatura and Letras Cubanas publishing houses, the Juan Marinello Center for Cultural Research, and the Literature Directorate of the Ministry of Culture. In 1988, he was elected president of UNEAC; between 1997-2012 and 2016-2018, he was Minister of Culture of Cuba.

Since 2019 he has presided over the Casa de las Américas.

His work has been translated into many languages. He has won numerous awards, including the National Prize for Literature.

He has published the following books of short stories:

  • A Fear Bound in Yellow (1969)
  • The Bitongos and the Guapos (1980)
  • Don’t Fail Me, Gallego (1983)
  • Saturday Night (1989)
  • Birds and Other Stories (2004)


Novels:

  • The Cat’s Flight (1999)
  • Miguel Luna’s Travels (2012)


Essay books:

  • Misha’s Humor: The Collapse of Real Socialism Through Political Jokes (1996)
  • Notes on the Cultural War (2017)


As a critic, he has worked on the work of José Lezama Lima, Roberto Fernández Retamar, and Cintio Vitier.

Reflections

Manssour Bin Mussallam

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC)

Public Lecture Synopsis

Greater South Cultures: Resisting Stereotypes and Folklorisation

For centuries, cultures of the Greater South have been subjected to stereotypes, folklorisation, exotification, and commodification by hegemonic forces that engage with our cultures based on the priorities of a consumer-driven industry.

This process has had a lasting impact on how these disembodied, vilified cultures are perceived and represented in the world. It has resulted in the fragmentation and loss of humanist values and the marginalisation of the people who carry them.

In addition, the homogenisation of language and artistic creation through globalist discourse stifles the diversity of cultures and individuals into a docile and manipulable platform. Artworks from these devitalised cultures, disconnected from the link between the poetic, the political, and the ethical, now only serve to generate a culture of nonsense and fast food, deeply irrigating the currents of individualism, narcissism, and nihilistic thinking.

How can we organise resistance to these cultural challenges fuelled by the neoliberal project, whose goal is to commodify culture and delink it from knowledge, identity, and politics? How can we reterritorialise the fields of cultural knowledge so that they regain their epistemic values and project themselves into the humanist dimension of their raison d’être?

How can we weave new solidarities that build unshakeable bridges of a new commonality, drawing on our ancestral knowledge and the tools of modernity as well?

These themes will be explored by both eminent speakers through the Public Lecture and Reflections, and through a question-and-answer session with the audience.

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