The Cultural Politics of the ‘War on Drugs’ in Latin America: Prohibition and Beyond?

22/11/2017, 14:00 - 15:30


A research seminar with Dr Joey Whitfield (Cardiff School of Modern Languages) as part of the Conflict, Disaster and Development research theme at the School.

Even as Latin American Countries move slowly towards an end to the destructive and misguided logics of prohibition that has fuelled the violent Drug Wars, the cultural side of the drug industry is booming. Popular TV shows such as La reina del sur, Narcos and countless others constitute a genealogy of cultural production which conforms to what Dr Joey Whitfield terms as an aesthetic of prohibition. This reaches its nadir in narco-produced films such as Sanguinarios del M1. In this talk, Dr Whitfield will outline the characteristics of this aesthetic and consider its harmful effects before considering what its alternative – an aesthetic of decriminalisation – might look like.

Joey Whitfield is currently in the last year of a Leverhulme funded project on cultural representations of the ‘War on Drugs’ in Latin America. His research is organised broadly around themes of crime, justice, and the state in contemporary Latin American literature and film. Before coming to Cardiff he worked for three years at the University of Leeds, first as a teaching fellow and then as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. His first book, Prison Writing of Latin America is a comparative study of Latin American prison writing from Cuba, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Brazil. He is interested in translation, particularly of non-traditional literatures such as prisoner writing, testimonial texts and creative writing by anarchists. He has also published on the Cuban involvement in the Angolan War and in the field of theoretical criminology.

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Lecture Theatre 2, Tower Building
Park Place
CF10 3AT

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Conflict, Development and Disaster Seminar Series