Dr. Pablo Brescia is Professor of Latin American literature at the University of South Florida, where he teaches courses on 20th and 21st century Latin American literature, culture and film. His areas of research are Latin American short fiction history and theory, Hispanic cinema and literature, philosophy and literature and technology and literature. He is the author of Borges. Cinco especulaciones (2015), Modelos y prácticas en el cuento hispanoamericano: Arreola, Borges, Cortázar (2011), and the editor of five other academic books. He has published more than sixty articles, essays, book and film reviews, interviews and translations in books and journals from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Puerto Rico, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.
Invited talk #1
"Latin American Technobodies"
In The Future of Human Nature (2003), Jurgen Habermas states that the increasing instrumentalization of human nature breaks the traditional division between the organic and the artificial. For Habermas, this means that human nature’s self-understanding is fundamentally changed to the point that “we may no longer see ourselves as ethically free and morally equal beings guided by norms and reasons”. I will address the ethical issues that arise from the friction between technology and humanity as proposed by Habermas by examining how several Latin American writers and filmmakers from the 20th (Argentine Adolfo Bioy Casares, Mexicans Juan José Arreola and Pepe Rojo) and the 21st centuries (Peruvian American filmmaker Alex Rivera) have addressed the presence of “technobodies” in science fiction literature and film. What happens, as N. Katherine Hayles has asked, when “there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot teleology and human goals” in terms of ethical dilemmas and conflicts? I will explain and analyse the centrifugal and centripetal forces that pull Latin American writers and artists who are both attracted to scientific innovations yet wary of their indiscriminate application.
Invited talk #2
"Fictional Technobodies in Contemporary Literature"
The Technological Condition (2003) is divided in 6 sections and contains 55 essays, none dedicated to the relationships between art, science and technology. For this symposium on the posthuman, I’d like to address this absence by examining the ethical consequences of fictional technobodies in contemporary literature. I will analyze the short story “Conversations with Yoni Rei” (1998), by Mexican writer Pepe Rojo, and the novel The Bodies of Summer (2012), by Argentine writer Martín Felipe Castagnet. These texts focus on what I termed the “anxiety of progress” by enacting the techophilia-technophobia dichotomy in a way configures new identities and agencies as related to the body in a Latin American cultural context.