Heridas Abiertas: Biopolítica y Representación en América Latina

Document Type

Book Review

Subject Area(s)

Languages, Literatures and Cultures


We recently commemorated the first anniversary of the forced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ School. This small, but well-known, example of the Mexican state’s action against its people in recent years, is a microcosm of the estimated 26, 000 people disappeared in Mexico since the War on Drugs was re-ignited in 2000. It reminds us that such actions have occurred in Latin America since contact. This edited collection, though written before Ayotzinapa, is now more urgent than ever. Its contributions encourage us to reflect on similar countries and the way the effects of biopower are represented in various forms of culture.

Heridas abiertas is part of the South by Midwest conference series, whose earlier topics have dealt with affect, intellectuals, culture, and change. Mabel Moraña’s introduction places Agamben, Esposito, Foucault, Hardt, and Negri’s theories of biopolitics in dialogue with Latin American history and culture. Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado’s preface complements Moraña’s thorough survey, problematizes the definition of biopolitics and questions the lack of conversation around these topics in Latin American literature and culture. The first essay in the collection, by Horacio Legrás, then explores the limits of the term, dialogues with various theoretical interventions on the topic and concludes that biopolitics can only be understood as a function of history (38).


Janzen, Rebecca. "Heridas abiertas: biopolítica y representación en América Latina ed. by Mabel Moraña and Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado (review)." Romance Notes, vol. 56 no. 1, 2016, pp. 169-171. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/rmc.2016.0019