Cosmopolitanism and Latino Americanism: Re-reading Alfonso Reyes Today.

Pedro Ángel Palou
Tufts University

Volume 8, 2015

Upon complaining about seeing everything the same way [George Bernard] Shaw was told the following by ophthalmologists: “Take comfort, my friend. You see everything in a singular way, because you have normal eyes”. “What do you mean?” “It´s easy; normal eyes are as difficult to find as normal things”.

(Alfonso Reyes, “La sonrisa”)

How can we read Alfonso Reyes against the grain? Through the lens of a renovated Latinoamericanismo, how do we consider the contributions of the humanist intellectual from Monterrey? How can we interrogate Reyes’s oeuvre from our perspective to make it say other things, perhaps things that remain buried between the lines, and which have only become legible because of Latin America’s post-hegemonic and de-colonial perspective? Reyes’s recognized contribution, cosmopolitanism, was also a cosmopolitics, and it addressed what the Italian philosopher Giacomo Marramao calls the passage West. Even though in the last twenty years a broad array of interventions in Latin American studies, from cultural studies to subalternism, have advocated the idea of transcending Latin Amercanism, as Ignacio Sánchez Prado has put it, on account of its roots in the ´lettered city´ and as a means of engaging those sectors of society excluded from lettered practices (and as Román de la Campa has correctly pointed out, Latin Americanism is based on an “ephisthetic play, that is a theoretical performance simultaneously imbued by aesthetics and epistemology” [126] as he says of Ángel Rama), I believe that Alfonso Reyes’s intellectual practice offers an opportunity to re-think Latin Americanism not beyond, but because of, its “episthetic play” (its epistemological use of aesthetics as a way of asking basic philosophical and geopolitical questions). In this context Alfonso Reyes’s Hispanism is a political endeavor worth re-reading.

More than Eurocentrism, in the case of Reyes are we not really talking about Marramao’s pluriversalism , which he discusses in The Passage West? Marramao wonders about the possibilities of a multiple universalism in our finite world, in our spatially compressed and temporally accelerated present, with “…the disconcerting effects of a bi-logic in which the standardizing structure of the techno-economy and the global market finds itself confronted by an increasing diaspora of values, identities and forms-of-life” (221). When Marramao analyzes González Iñarritu and Guillermo Arriaga’s Babel (2006), their second film together, Marramao recognizes that the film acts as an X-ray of the present. He paradoxically calls this X-ray descriptive topicality (222), through which the enigmatic interdependence of the globalized world appears. In this interdependence, differentiation multiplies hand in hand with unification. Independent and idiosyncratic tendencies that move away from the center are tied to the homogenization of life styles and patterns of consumption produced by what we can call the techno-economy. Marramao also affirms that the film falls short—an observation that we share—in that it leaves out the real problem: it is not about a global Japanese hunter whose wife has committed suicide and who had a complicated, almost incestuous, relationship with his deaf-mute daughter. In this film, the wife leaves a rifle with a shepherd in Morocco who then fires this weapon and injures a North American tourist (Cate Blanchett) who is traveling with her husband (Brad Pitt). This accident has tremendous repercussions that affect the Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) who takes care of the couple’s children in California and who is visited by her nephew (Gael García). The nephew takes the nanny to the poor border town that she had left behind in search of the American dream. The film thus topicalizes the chaotic interdependence of this so-called second modernity, but does not problematize the transition from the modernity of the nation-state to that of the globe. This transition to Modernity is a transition that, just as Marramao affirms, cannot be reduced to alternatives such as liberalism vs communitarianism, or liberal individualism vs community holism; nor can it be resolved in a synthesis or compromise between redistributive universalism and an identity-driven conception of differentiation. The task, and here Marramao quotes Seyla Benhabib’s The Claims of Culture, is to question the impasse produced by a political philosophy that tends to objectify cultural identities and struggles for recognition by treating them as given facts rather than as problems, in addition to resolving the false dichotomy between universalism and relativism. The task can only be resolved by challenging the equivalence of culture and identity, and by liberating the universal from the logic of homogenous unification and applying it to multiplicity and differentiation: “This is equivalent, in short, to breaking the mirror, to rupturing the specular relation that we tend to set between ‘ourselves’ and the ‘others’. Such a rupture […] must rather involve an ability to discover an autonomous and original universalizing perspective amongst the others themselves” (223). For the most important thing in this cultural Babel that the film does not successfully capture is not how these disperse entities conceive of and imagine the universal as they see one another meeting and unmeeting one another, but, rather, how each one conceives of and imagines the universal.

Elswhere in The Passage West Marramao raises “[t]he question of the relationship between interest and values, strategic logic and logic of identity”, which, in his view, “should not be set out in terms of presence/absence, but on the basis of the need to identify, bit by bit, the dominant factor that confers on the relationship its peculiar form” (43). Marramao argues that “in contrast to the industrialist (and colonialist phase of nation-Modernity, interests are no longer the structuring element of the dynamic of social order and social conflict” because pluralism has resulted in a dynamic in which interests and class—the very categories that inform an important spectrum of left-oriented thinking—are “inextricably caught within the dynamics of conflicts of identity” (43). In fact, when Marramao defends the validity of the concept of “difference” in order to “open a passageway to a theory and practice of politics beyond the horizon of the state” (43), he agrees with different iterations of feminist critique in the need to assert difference as a way to think what could be considered a “post-metaphysical ontology”. In other words, The Passage West restores identity as a category of geopolitics, precisely because it thinks what he calls “situated existence” in a way that overrides both the problems of identity politics (which exaggerate the location of the subject in the world to the point at which the individual becomes reified) and the univocal understanding of modernity embedded in Marxist models (I think, for instance, in Fredric Jameson’s A Singular Modernity), which understand location vis-á-vis capitalism as the only proper definition of the subject. In contrast, Marramao’s thinking recognizes that the State is mono-logical, but not trivial, which is why he also rejects “postmodern labels” such as “decentering” or “nomadism”. Instead, following the aforementioned feminist critique, as represented by figures such as Luce Irigaray, Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler, Marramao proposes a way of resisting both “the political” as understood in theories of hegemony (such as Laclau and Mouffe’s) and neo-communitarian individualism embodied in the “politics of identity”. But the fundamental point of this resistance is not to do away with either articulation of politics, but to think how the relations and conflicts between both of these paradignms of politics—and others—allow us to appropriate them beyond what he calls the “distributive paradigm that underlies the liberal-democratic theory of justice” (44).

Marramao’s challenge implies moving past the belief in our false homogeneity to dismantling exclusive identities, a dismantling that tends—at least for now—to be ruthless. In that sense, it is worth mentioning Vivek Chibber’s pertinent critique of Postcolonial Studies, and particularly of Subaltern Studies, in his book Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2013). Chibber rightly denounces this academic mode of reviving the same Orientalisms that it means to extinguish by insisting erroneously that Oriental agents operate with an entirely different political psychology from that of Occidental agents, characterizing science, rationality, objectivity, and other attributes as Eurocentric and not as universally shared by both cultures. Moreover, by celebrating the local, the particular, be it a fragment or History2.0, postcolonialism sometimes justifies an exoticization of that which is not Occidental. Postcolonial theory, Chibber shows, essentializes that which is not Occidental. After a detailed analysis he proves that (1) the universalization of capital is real and that colonies or post-colonies do not experience a different modernity from that of Germany or France; (2) the universalizing impulse of capital did not homogenize relations of power or social space. Capitalism permits and systematically generates heterogeneity, and thus produces diverse and exclusive political formations; (3) furthermore, capital’s modernizing impulse conflicts with certain universal factors of human psychology by producing diverse forms of resistance from coercion to political exclusion. Postcolonial agency is not exceptional, because (4) the universal categories of the Enlightenment capture the consequences of the universalization of capital and the dynamics of political agency. For Chibber, then, the only way to provincialize Europe without Eurocentrism requires understanding that both parts of the globe are subject to the same basic forces and are basically part of the same history (291). This clearly coincides with the political project of Alfonso Reyes, who, in my view, is a fundamental precursor to Marramao’s theorization, and an author who may offer some clues as to how to face the challenge of thinking the pluriversal.

I believe that the correct attitude towards Reyes’ project must consist in close reading; an endeavor to unpack his discursive operations and understand them as a radicalization of the very obsession with the Classical period of his generation. Three such operations of his discourse seem particularly clear to me. First, Alfonso Reyes must cosmopolitanize the city at the beginning of the century, metropolitanize the province, a gesture that he shares with Henríquez Ureña and his companions in the Sociedad de Conferencias, a group of young classicists who burst into the century of social revolutions, referring to the Dominican Henríquez Ureña as Socrates on account of his role as a mentor. In his essay “Horas áticas de la ciudad,” Reyes declares, “I firmly believe that ‘every village is Athens,’ at least at times” (OC I: 161, my translation). Every city, at least intermittently, has the right to be the universe (unlike Unamuno’s phrase, “The world is a larger Bilbao”) and, above all, is capable of appropriating the Greco-Roman tradition. This operation, which we might also call the occidentalization of America, is fundamental in Reyes´s political and literary project. Mexico, according to Reyes, is necessarily connected to the humanist culture of the West. The operation, of course, takes place via language. It is linguistic in its essence, which presents a problem for “Don Alfonso”, as his Brazilian friends referred to him in the years he wrote the majority of his articles and lectures regarding Americanism, which have been so well studied by Robert Patrick Newcomb in his Nossa and Nuestra América. Spanish is the way to reach José Enrique Rodó’s dream of a magna patria, and is based on the idea that language gives substance to an ideal or national genius. Since Portuguese is another romance language linked to Latin, the conflict corrects itself in the intellectual and linguistic appropriation of the Hellenic tradition, something similar to what Jorge Luis Borges attempts in an essay from the same decade. In “El escritor argentino y la tradición,” Borges assures us that it is from this side of the Atlantic that tradition may be transformed, since there exists a state of eccentricity, both inside and outside at the same time as obliquely and indirectly (“strabismic”, Ricardo Piglia called it years later). Borges thought that only the Jews and the Irish could achieve such a thing in Europe, due to their own extraterritorial condition. For Reyes, who had rightly asked “What would Plato have to say about the Mexican who went in search of a sort of moral good only applicable in Mexico?” (OC XI; 170, my translation), the operation of Hellenizing any American capital (from La Habana or Rio to Mexico City, from Santiago to Buenos Aires) grants its intellectuals a maturity that makes an intercultural, interlinguistic, and intercontinental dialogue possible.

Reyes’s second operation requires audacity. He is firmly anchored in his classicism and in his search for equilibrium and the golden mean, yet he also needs to politicize the moment in which Latin America arrives at the so-called banquet of civilization. Ignacio Sánchez Prado has demonstrated that Reyes’ undeniable Hispanism is also a rhetorical operation that aims to provincialize Spain. He confirms that this necessary transformation of the immediate past is not belated. Curiously, it does not take place when Reyes is in Brazil in the 1930s, but instead in his early chronicles about Madrid of 1915 during his exile after the murder of his father, at which point he becomes a kind of bitter orphaned Orestes. However, from his position as ambassador in Rio, thanks to infinite tertulias, discussions and meetings, as well as to Monterrey, his literary courier, Reyes problematizes the situation in America and the crisis in Europe in order to, if we follow Sánchez Prado, provincialize all of Europe in the interwar period and during World War II. Through the lens of his homonoia, or moderation, Reyes questions the European crisis and its prophets (who tend to be, he says, dangerous guides). Reyes questions the democracy that gives itself over to a providential savior and sacrifices its hard fought liberties. In a lucid speech from 1939, “Esta hora del mundo,” just two months after the occupation of Warsaw, he critiques the liberal democracy that must face Mussolini’s Fascism in Italy and Hitler’s Nazism in Germany. He recommends that liberal democratic governments be vary cautious, as they can become ideologically polarized and converted into agents of the same totalitarianism that they seek to defeat: “Liberal democracy turns out to be bland on principle. An attack is not defeated with the laissez-faire […] husk of democracy, already thinned by such contradictions (national exaltation and capitalist exacerbation). [Liberal democracy] falls away like a mask and uncovers a face that moves and shows its fangs. This face, modeled in part on those forces that I call contradictions, and in part by imitating the adversary […] is the totalitarian State that finds its philosophy in racism […] and the so-called democratic powers, unless assisted by historical contingency, may be eliminated in the changing whirlwind” (OC 11:242, my translation). It does not consist of opposing the democratic ideal of the common good that was so dear to Reyes, but rather of questioning abandonment to blind impulses, in his own words. Latin America, which has arrived late to western liberal democracy, is obliged to rejuvenate the occidental spirit currently in crisis in Europe due to the excesses of nationalisms and Communism. Reyes is a conservative, though not à tout court, because of that ideal of the ethic and the aesthetic of moderation. Latin America must assimilate the past, he has repeated time and again in his essays, in order to assure the present.

Let´s move into politics, then, since it is the third operation of that Americanism that consists of politicizing the historical moment and of constructing a new supranational vantage point—of the stock of Rodó or Martí—from which to see the world: “Today in the face of the disasters of the Old World, America regains the value of hope,” he wrote. A hope that offers an escape from Europe´s insanity, Latin America thus becomes not only a possible re-inventor of the universal tradition, but also a reserve of humanity, a maintainer of civilizations, in the words of Reyes (OC 11:61, my translation).

It is the same as what Roberto Esposito proposed in a very recent article as the essence of politics, in reference to the European philosophical tradition that has, in his words, never stopped asking that question. Is it conflict, as Carl Schmitt called the constitutive energy and the destructive force that threatened to overthrow the constituted order (“…the temporal hiatus that, by means of tension, links possibility and reality, past and present, origin and contemporaneousness”), or is it what Dolf Sternberg, questioning Schmitt in his book Three Roots of Politics, refers to not as conflict but as peace? In line with Hannah Arendt´s analysis of vita activa and Nicole Loraux’s The Divided City, there has to be an overlap of order and conflict as defined in Greece, centered on the work of neutralizing conflict with the order that results from it. The practice of amnesty studied by Loraux is decisive since it implies forgetting (as occurred in 403 BCE, after the democrats expelled the Thirty Tyrants, and Athenian citizens were asked to forget about the civil war). Oblivion defines the essential character of the political, which is constituted not by war (as Schmitt asserts), nor by peace (as Sternberg claims), but “rather by an order that is founded on the removal of conflict. Politikos is the name of one who knows how to agree to oblivion” (Esposito, 150; emphasis mine). Esposito goes further: “As modern history has taught us, national identity is always built on the removal of a collective trauma, the processing of a mourning that mends and heals its unbearable wound (…) this dispositive complicates the dual dialectic between inside and outside, external war and internal peace. To create enduring peace, the fight against the foreigner will not suffice, subsequently negated within the same political unity that Loraux defines as ´the bond of division” (150). Memory and deliberate amnesia, the pledge to not recall the misfortunes, create a locus for political unity: peace and war, order and conflict are no longer facing each other but are within each other –conflict in order, order in conflict. As Esposito thinks: the metapolitical essence of politics is the capacity to unite what is divided, to make of unity the form of duality.

Due to the era in which Alfonso Reyes lived, which, as many have lamented, was not one of harvest, fruit, or synthesis, the Latin American intellectual –he thought- must lower himself from the ivory tower and participate in the construction of a more egalitarian civitas for all its citizens. But Reyes is not naïve, he knows where to begin as he declares: “Our support goes for the Leftists: whatever may be their errors or excesses in the bed of Procrustes of the pure truth, they fight still to save the patrimony of human dignity, so underdeveloped today, so threatened today” (OC 11:253, my translation).

Thanks to those three successive operations, cosmopolitanizing Latin America, provincializing Europe, and politicizing the singular American moment of the 1930s as an intellectual and spiritual opportunity, Reyes believed that Latin Americans could achieve what neither Martí’s Nuestra América nor Rodó’s Magna Patria could: the utopia of a Última Thule that breaks with the old model of concentric misfortunes of all isolationist affiliations (regional, national, ethnic, provincial). It means embracing that possibility of all America, as a geo-cultural category, in one way or another, and proposing it as the savior of western humanity. It does not mean the negation, of course, of its marked Eurocentrism—which we have called Reyes’s humanist universalism—but rather the demonstration of its rhetorical operations as philological politics, as Robert T. Conn calls them, in order to find their utility in today’s new, politically necessary, Americanism.

“In the crucible of history,” affirms Reyes, “an incalculable inheritance is prepared for America… What will come of it will be neither Oriental nor Occidental, but rather ample and totally human. It will depend on us, as well as on our successors, who, for lack of a better expression, may be called, in history, American” (OC, XI: 80, my translation). The man from Monterrey knew that it had to do with a non-place, an unknown and utopic Última Thule, a utopia that would give meaning to the literary and political enterprise of his generation. In this non-place there could be, he thought, a more equal justice, a more established liberty, and a more complete and better-distributed happiness. Sánchez Prado reads it this way in Intermitencias americanistas, probing the ideology and practices of the political, historical, intellectual, and cultural community of Latin America.

From the American reality of this post-hegemonic era, we no longer have to ask ourselves if a boy from Metapa such as Rubén Darío can access rational universality, as Darío himself wondered in the “Palabras liminares” of his Prosas profanas (1896). In Reyes’ work there is also a fourth fundamental operation, which in the last decade has taken place prodigiously and collectively, and which consists in destroying our auto-ethnographies, as colonized subjects such as Franz Fanon, who first psychoanalyzed us, would have wished. It is a fascinating exercise as it implies dismantling the beliefs and myths that the colonial subject has been compelled to store up as a sort of self-deprecation: “Having judged, condemned, and abandoned his cultural forms, his language, his nutritional habits, his sexual behavior, his way of sitting, of resting, of laughing, of enjoying himself, the oppressed subject—not only condemned by the land but also by his own condition as colonial subject— keeps himself afloat above imposed culture with the desperation of a drowning man” (Fanon 36, my translation). Fanon wrote with the conviction of the historical need to pass the West. Today we can, perhaps, achieve incremental erasures of those masks on the condition of being truly able to construct and see ourselves. This is the same operation that Slavoj Zizek proposes in his recent book, Absolute Recoil, especially in the section titled “The Hegelian Wound”. Here Zizek’s answer comes from Parsifal: “The wound can be healed only by the spear that smote it” (136), and he is crystal clear about what he thinks as the Hegelian ambiguity of colonialism: “The colonial powers did indeed brutally intrude into traditional societies all around the world, derailing their customs and destroying their social fabric—not to mention the economic exploitation . . . [but] attempting to heal the wound of colonialism directly (by returning to pre-colonial reality) would have been a nightmare” (136).

There is a short text from Alfonso Reyes, “La sonrisa” (“The Smile”) from a miscellaneous book of 1917, El suicida (OC, III: 218-305), that goes in the same direction.[1]

If human beings were never to protest, there would be no history, that is, history in the common sense of the word. The beginnings of history were marked with a disparity between the means and human intentions, just as the beginnings of consciousness were determined by a discrepancy between the spectacle of the world and its human observers. When consciousness is present, human beings break out into smiles, and they are nurtured by what is around them. Do they smile a second time? They protest, for their surroundings are not sufficient for them. Do they emigrate, plant seeds, conquer, or create roads in a circle like trenches dug by tribes to defend themselves from attack by the wild beasts? Well, that is the moment when civilization begins and, with it, history. As long as the master is not questioned, nothing happens; and when the slave smiles, history enters into combat.


This exceptional and anticolonial reading of Hegel´s Phenomenology is of utmost importance. We should note that the consciousness of the slave does not emerge at the end of the dialectic but at its outset, “a smile that marks the consciousness of the slave as the foundational act not only of civilization, but of history itself […] the necessary gesture at the beginning of every utopian intervention”, as Sánchez Prado thinks.[2]

In her recent Hegel, Haiti and Universal History Susan Buck Morrs suggests (coinciding with Reyes’s anticolonial idea) that the dialectic of the master and slave was Hegel´s way of systematizing in his philosophy the unthinkable event of the Haitian revolution in which the very same black slaves who would lack historicity in other parts of his philosophy became agents of radical social transformation. In 1917, while provincializing his own metropole, Madrid, Reyes was at the beginning of a critical trajectory geared towards the active intellectual decolonization of the Americas that his work in the 1930s would accomplish. At the start of “The Smile”, this provocative little essay we are dealing with, Alfonso Reyes also writes: “In any case, the smile is the sign of intelligence that frees itself from ignoble stimuli, because while cultivated men smile, bootish men simply laugh. Caliban misunderstands Ariel´s deep happiness. Caliban is a ´sad animal´, Flesh is miserable´” (108). Reyes moves way beyond the notion of civilization and barbarism in Rodó or Darío. Joy and sadness, key words here, come from a reading of Spinoza´s Ethics, its Proposition LV in the Third Section where he argues: “When the mind imagines its own impotence, it is saddened by it (98) (Mens suam impotentiam imaginatur, so ipso contristatur). In Spinoza the keyword is also mind, and that is why Reyes reconstitutes the master-slave dialectic: Caliban´s mind is sad because it is colonized and thus, the smile is the result of a process of emancipation of the mind, of consciousness. As Sánchez Prado has demonstrated: “By virtue of this procedure, the Hegelian slave became Caliban and his bondage is at the same time Spinozan sadness and Etiénne de la Böetie´s voluntary serfdom” (97). As Reyes writes in this part of the essay: “Every free act and every new contribution to life tends to become incorporated into or subject to the dictates of nature […] To conserve an internalized impulse to freedom is to conserve the desire to return to non-existence; as such, it has been said that the desire for freedom is a type of illness. In a similar way, the smile—an invention—becomes etched into the chessboard of life. Lamarck would say it becomes a habit” (109-110).

The work of Reyes since its inception was that of an activist of the intellect, if I may coin the term. This is the same idea that Hannah Arendt would theorize later in her The Human Condition (1958) as vita activa. Irony as supreme intelligence and the smile as its active form, the perfectly human activity that “does not nourish and the game that does not multiply” (87).

Reyes’s anti-colonialism, again, is clear: “By seeking freedom, human beings are continually in a process of emancipation […] And they continually lean toward non-existence for the sole purpose of creating new forms of existence. They constantly disappear, if only to recreate their lives in new ways” (114).

In the final lines of this playful but fundamental essay, Reyes tells his readers that other excursions will await if we follow those who have disappeared down mysterious paths, and that he will create an oriental tapestry whose design will be composed of the tales and fables of those adventurers who had the will to disappear.

The same history may be interpreted through the two universalisms I have already mentioned: that of the universal logic of capital and the universal interest of agents in their well being, which moves them to reject capital’s expansionist impulse. That recognition should not generate blindness to difference. In fact, Chibber in his aforementioned book shows how Marxism produced the best analyses of Oriental specificity in the 20th century, if we can call it that. To displace Postcolonial Studies—or to refuse to be colonized by them—is just as urgent as dismantling the process of the ideological creation of mestizaje and its national subjects. Rereading Reyes’ Última Thule from this perspective is as necessary as rereading Lezama Lima’s essential text La expresión americana. We have discovered and, in many places, decolonized America and yet, we still do not know what to do with her. For this reason, we can perhaps conclude with one of Marramao’s crucial questions: “Is it really possible to elaborate the edifying idea of a multicultural citizenship without passing through the great aporia of difference? […] is it possible to reframe the question of being-in-common […] without getting to the bottom of those paradoxes of universalism that appear to be inextricably linked with that Western event we call ‘politics’?” (77). Reading through Reyes, the answer would be a resounding no. Reyes does not, of course, utilize the contemporary languages of difference as posed by feminist critique, but his universalism was never an erasure of the “great aporia”. It was, rather, as Sánchez Prado suggests in Intermitencias americanistas, a radical gesture. He was acting as if we were always already universal. The difference is not erased in this gesture, which is why Reyes’ theorizations of the cosmopolitan and of the regional must be simultaneous. Pluriversal citizenship is always already what Reyes has called “cultural citizenship”, belonging to the world, and specifically belonging to difference. This is why I believe that both “la inteligencia americana” and the “passage West” are ways to tackle the same challenge: a politics that recognizes the insufficiency of univocal universalism and its specificities, a politics of pluriversalism that recognizes differences. Elsewhere, following another Mexican intellectual, Jorge Cuesta, I have admitted that the hermeneutic category of deception is a precondition for knowledge. With Reyes, I will conclude by saying that this category is also of utmost emancipatory and political use. For history to be productive, he writes, or better yet, “For the process to remain open, for the world to move, somebody must remain forever displeased” (es fuerza que alguien quede sin cesar disgustado). Protest is the activation of the displeased and “saves nature from sure exhaustion” as Reyes, with his Inteligencia Americana, promptly thought.


01. It has been studied by Joshua Lund and Sánchez Prado for other purposes, but it also has been a relegated text in Reyes’s scholarship.

02. And he goes even further to suggest that the text: “…was written in the wake of the Mexican Revolution, from a self-imposed exile in Spain and France, as one of the first attempts to theorize the emergence of a large array of social sectors into a form of historical agency and subjectivity previously denied by the national elites (…) La sonrisa is an almost unique effort to understand the Mexican Revolution as a philosophical event of ontological emancipation, thus departing from the work of most of his contemporaries, like José Vasconcelos who understood it in racial terms, as the triumph of the mestizo” (94).

Works Referenced

  • Buck-Morrs, Susan. Hegel, Haiti and Universal History. Pittsburgh, U. of Pittsburgh P, 2009. Print.
  • Chibber, Vivek. Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. London, Verso, 2013. Print.
  • Conn, Robert. The Politics of Philology: Alfonso Reyes and the Invention of the Latin American Literary Tradition. London, Associated UP, 2002. Print.
  • De la Campa, Román. Latin Americanism. Minneapolis, U. of Minnesota P., 1999. Print.
  • Esposito, Roberto: “The Metapolitical Structure of the West”. Qui Parle. (22) (2) (Spring/Summer 2014): 147-161. Print.
  • Fanon, Franz. Los condenados de la tierra. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1963. Print.
  • Hegel, G.W.F. Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans. Ann Bostock. New York. Columbia UP, 2009. Print.
  • Lund, Joshua. “The Smile of the Slave: Synthesis and Protest in Alfonso Reyes”. A Contracorriente. (2) (3) 2005: 35-74. Print.
  • Marramao, Giacomo. The Passage West: Philosophy After the Age of Nation State. Translated by Matteo Mondarini. Afterword by Antonio Negri. London, Verso, 2012. Print.
  • Reyes, Alfonso. Obras Completas I. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1956. Print.
  • ———. Obras Completas III, El plano oblicuo. El cazador. El suicidaAquellos días. Retratos reales e imaginarios. México. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1956. Print.
  • ———. Obras Completas XI. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1960. Print.
  • ———. Anthology. Ed. José Luis Martínez. Translated by Dick Gerdes. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2009. Print.
  • Sánchez Prado, Ignacio. “The Age of Utopia in Alfonso Reyes: Deep Time and The Critique of Colonial ModernityRomance Notes. (53.1) (2013): 93-104. Print.
  • Spinoza, Benedict de. Ethics. Trans. Edwin Curley. New York, Penguin, 1996. Print.
  • Zizek, Slavoj. Absolute Recoil. Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism. New York, Verso, 2014. Print.