Proliferation of Disease in Iberoamerican Fiction
Proliferation of Disease in Iberoamerican Fiction explores how “disease” becomes an emergent metaphor in describing, policing, and in regimenting sexual, racial, and political difference. In this regard, Proliferation of Disease reveals how dissident, sometimes queer, bodies come to be regarded as viral and vital threats to the state, and how such an internalization of illness comes to be resisted in AIDS narratives. Travel narratives, Enlightenment natural histories, taxidermy, writing workshop literary anthologies, religious iconography (both heretical and dogmatic), and contemporary AIDS novels form the constellation for the study of viral narratives. Proliferation of Disease explores moments of epidemiological crisis when the state enacts states of emergency to counteract disease. Instead of a history of disease, Proliferation of Disease is concerned with the regimens of biopower that construct aberrant bodies as diseased and therefore as subject to state inspection, isolation, medical quarantines, and at times, criminalization.
The dissertation initially examines the colonial
construction of an enervated
In addition to resisting statist medical treatments and quarantines, the dissertation argues how Reinaldo Arenas (El color del verano o Nuevo jardín de las delicias, 1990, Cuba) and Silviano Santiago (Stella Manhattan, 1985, Brazil) use plagued religious iconography, especially located in homoerotic reincarnations of saints, such as Saint Sebastian, to challenge the mechanisms that create, maintain, and police the nation state. The dissertation ends by evoking mystical adumbrations in Sarduy and Goytisolo. This chapter analyzes how these authors construct biomedical policing, approach medical protocols, and lastly, re-write invocations of the hereafter. The end of the dissertation aims to reify the sacred component of all life, but especially life that has been interpreted to be aberrant or diseased. Contemporary history continues to show that before bodies are excluded, quarantined, or exterminated, they are naturalized as diseased, heretical, criminal, and dangerous to the state.