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Angora Matta
Fatal Acts of North-South Translation
Marta Elena Savigliano


2003 • 264 pp. 36 illus. 7 x 10"
Dance / Music / Gender Studies / Latin American Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6599-0

Bilingual Spanish-English ed.

Operatic, ethnographic thriller tests the boundaries between art and scholarship.

Angora Matta is a bilingual (Spanish/English) and interdisciplinary work that adopts performative writing to reflect on the transnational politics of culture. Part I is an introduction co-authored by a tango-opera librettist and a central character in her libretto, offering two contending versions of how this book came into being. Part II is the libretto for the tango-opera Angora Matta, a critical view of Argentina’s contemporary history conceived as a surreal and tragic thriller. Part III contains feminist scholarly essays written by three other characters who appear in the libretto: Elvira Diaz is a dance ethnographer disenchanted with her profession; Manuela Malva is a biting foreign-film critic invested in de-mystifying exotic renderings of the Argentine tango world; Angora Matta, the assassin for hire, closes the book with philosophico-poetic preoccupations about her profession. An innovative blend of scholarship and art, Angora Matta is both critique of and antidote to the representational practices of ethnography that have fetishized “other” cultures by isolating them from contemporary history and the global flow of international politics.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Anthropology is richer for Savigliano having gotten away with this kaleidoscopic presentation of tanguidad. Like night and day, this "nocturnal" ethnography differs from conventional studies. Readers should take the book, run along, and let themselves be gripped by its intelligence and passion.” —Johannes Fabian, University of Amsterdam

“This powerful work poses important questions about ethnography, ‘truth,’ and objectivity in provocative and especially creative ways. I appreciate most Savigliano’s humor and playfulness, aspects missing from too many intellectual endeavors within the academy. This work is utterly original.”Elizabeth Chin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Occidental College

MARTA ELENA SAVIGLIANO is the author of Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (1995), which received the Congress of Research on Dance Award for Outstanding Book 1993-1996. She is an anthropologist and political theorist, and Professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts & Culture.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:52:28 -0500