Virtual Event: Claudio Lomnitz
My Family in the Vertigo of Translation
in conversation with JESÚS R. VELASCO
February 10, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes CLAUDIO LOMNITZ—Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and author of The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón—for a discussion of his latest book, Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation. He will be joined in conversation by JESÚS R. VELASCO, professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Nuestra América on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Nuestra América
In Nuestra América, eminent anthropologist and historian Claudio Lomnitz traces his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America. At the same time, the book is a pretext to explain and analyze the worldview, culture, and spirit of countries such as Peru, Colombia, and Chile, from the perspective of educated Jewish emigrants imbued with the hope and determination typical of those who escaped Europe in the 1920s.
Lomnitz’s grandparents, who were both trained to defy ghetto life with the pioneering spirit of the early Zionist movement, became intensely involved in the Peruvian leftist intellectual milieu and its practice of connecting Peru’s indigenous past to an emancipatory internationalism that included Jewish culture and thought. After being thrown into prison supposedly for their socialist leanings, Lomnitz’s grandparents were exiled to Colombia, where they were subject to its scandals, its class system, its political life. Through this lens, Lomnitz explores the almost negligible attention and esteem that South America holds in US public opinion. The story then continues to Chile during World War II, Israel in the 1950s, and finally to Claudio’s youth, living with his parents in Berkeley, California, and Mexico City.
Praise for Nuestra América
“An autobiography in which we Latin Americans all recognize ourselves.” —Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature
“Nuestra América means ‘Our America,’ and that collective pronoun encompasses not just Claudio Lomnitz’s family but multitudes who have wound up on South America’s shores. It is about history, language, ideas and how they shape, in the sweep of time, our eccentric individual lives. We’re all familiar with the memoir that brings a dissolving old family snapshot to life; Lomnitz combines that snapshot with a panoramic picture of Spanish America and Europe from the nineteenth century to present time. Among other things, Nuestra América will give you a distilled portrait of Peru that, for this reader, made that enigmatic country more vivid and comprehensible than ever. The real treat of this extraordinary book is Lomnitz’s acute lucidity and intelligence. Read it—you will be richly rewarded.” —Michael Greenberg, author of Hurry Down Sunshine
“Claudio Lomnitz’s riveting family memoir is an account of trauma and displacement, but also one of resilience, passion, and even joy. From Romania to Peru to Colombia to Israel to California to Mexico and beyond, his forebears, vividly portrayed, lived lives of profound political and intellectual engagement and were intimate with important historical actors. Nuestra América joins Philippe Sands’ East West Street and Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, bringing to light untold narratives of the Jewish diaspora.” —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl
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