Santuarios. Ensayo en los comunes de la violencia supremacista en Estados Unidos



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Sanctuaries. An Essay on Supremacist Violence in the United States is a creative writing dissertation which traces the spectrum from whiteness as a normalized racist system to white supremacy as explicit violence. It follows Ariella Azoulay’s argument that imperial violence is our commons, a shared problem affecting victims and perpetrators, extending to objects and territories. Contrary to the other commons –such as water, earth, air, and information– it should be eradicated, but the only way to undertake that potential history, as Azoulay suggests, is to recognize the unforgivable moments of constituent violence.
Through interviews to survivors, chronicles and literary references, the essay reflects on the mass shooting that occurred in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3rd, 2019. This white supremacy’s violent event finds a counterpoint in the apparently innocuous aspects of whiteness: I develop a personal inquiry about living in the suburbs in Texas and the way segregated urban design can affect the mind, and, ultimately, the relationship with others. Furthermore, three independent stories intersect the essay forming a mosaic regarding oppression and resistance in the Latinx community. Each of these sections explores how to write about violence avoiding its spectacularization. This essay seeks to bridge the Latin American with the US Latino nonfiction writing, referring to scholars such as Bolívar Echeverría, Liliana Weinberg, Chela Sandoval or essayist such as Luigi Amara, Vivian Abenshushan, Diamela Eltit, Sylvia Molloy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Myriam Gurba, among others. The academic introduction dissects the literary essay as a genre that develops an inner voice, as well as a discourse whose virtue is to connect with other forms of writing such as narrative journalism but also with different territories and canons. To delve on narrative journalism as a technique of research and writing, the dissertation questions Truman Capote’s tradition that developed in the fascination with true crime which privileges the point of view of the murderers. Instead, this essay proposes to follow the Argentinian Rodolfo Walsh, narrating from the victims’ perspective and from those spaces where the commons of violence have isolated people. Therefore, this essay pursuits sanctuaries in language, memories, and affections.



literary essay, narrative journalism, Latin American non ficiton, whiteness, white supremacism, racism, racist violence