ROUTES TO RUIN

Benita Sampedro Vizcaya

 

Abstract

 

The title of this essay capitalizes on the inherent “tensions between the commonly cited homophones” (Wilson, Sandru and Welsh) routes and roots, rutas y raíces, in an attempt to exponentially multiply the semantic potential of the ruin. Of course, the use of this trope is not completely new, but it is fundamentally relevant and pertinent here, for it posits the intimate relation between space and time, between history and place, and it is conducive to a historiography that alters the conventional linear models of colonial and modern conceptions of progress. Ruins, rust, and remnants, for their part, are a privileged space for questioning the past (colonial or not) as well as the present, and a propitious locus for interrogating disciplinary purposes and practices. I will argue that ghost-like villages and vacuumed-like empty islands can be as eloquent about the past as archives—as we commonly understand them—statistics, and libraries.

 

Keywords

 

Routes, roots, ruin, space, history, progress, memory.

 

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