Contested Identitities in Costa Rica seminar, May 2nd 2019

Thursday 2nd May 2019, 1.00 – 2.00 pm
Room 201, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

Contested Identities in Costa Rica
Liz Harvey-Kattou (School of Humanities, University of Westminster)

Costa Rica is a country known internationally for its eco-credentials, dazzling coastlines, and reputation as one of the happiest and most peaceful nations on earth. Beneath this façade, however, lies an exclusionary rhetoric of nationalism bound up in the concept of the tico, as many Costa Ricans refer to themselves. This paper, based on the monograph of the same name, will begin by considering the idea of national identity, what this constitutes, and the idealised nature of the tico identity. It will argue that the tico encompasses a Eurocentric, patriarchal, heteronormative stance based on colonial ideals. It will go on to outline two key periods in Costa Rican history where the normative construct of who or what counts as tico has been challenged – the ‘sociological revolution’ of the 1970s and the ‘digital revolution’ of the 2010s. It will discuss the creation of radical literature and film in these two time periods, analysing the ways in which Costa Rican authors and filmmakers have used the soft power of creative production to question social norms and weave Afro-Costa Rican, feminist, youth, and LGBT+ cultures and identities into the fabric of the nation.

Organised by our friends in the Latin American Studies at Westminster group.

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