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The Erotics of Cosmopolitanism: 'Latin American Passion' in European Popular Culture

Sikho Siyotula, Cosmopolis Doodle

Stefanie Boulila (Georg-August University Göttingen)

The Erotics of Cosmopolitanism: 'Latin American Passion' in European Popular Culture 

In hegemonic conceptualisations, cosmopolitanism is the epitome of ‘living with difference’ (Ahmed 2000; Binnie et al. 2006). For Sara Ahmed (2000) cosmopolitanism connects to multiculturalism not only in terms of how it allows the nation or the city to incorporate racialised difference but also in terms of its ambiguity. In this talk I aim at theorising cosmopolitanism in Europe as an ambiguous discourse that, similarly to multiculturalism, allows conversations about race without actually naming it (Lentin and Titley 2011). I do so by examining the separation between ‘good’ difference that can be commodified and incorporated and ‘difference’ that is deemed dangerous for the multicultural nation or the cosmopolitan city. Throughout the history of European colonialism, the simultaneous incorporation and rejection of Others has a longstanding tradition (McClintock 1995; Savigliano 1995; Goldberg 2002). In my talk I explore discourses around ‘Latin American passion’ in European popular culture and illustrated how the racialised quality of the Latina/o body operates as a desirable and yet highly ambiguous commodity. Focusing on the figuration of the hyper-sexual Latina and narratives of machismo in popular culture, I argue that Latinidad is mediated as an exoticised commodity object for the European cosmopolitan and post-feminist consumer. As a ‘break’ from the burden of ‘egalitarian’, ‘progressive’ Europeanness, racialised Latinidad invites cosmopolitans to indulge in a more archaic and ‘sexy’ past.    


Thursday, April 20th 2017; 18-20 // Campus Neues Palais, Building 9, Room 2.15 (second floor)

Seminar with Stefanie Boulila (Georg-August University Göttingen)

Intersectionality: A Critical Introduction

Each lecture was accompanied by a seminar conducted by the speaker, which picks up on the themes and talking points of the lecture. 

Friday, April 21st 2017; 10-12 

Short Bio

Stefanie C. Boulila is a postdoctoral researcher in gender studies at the University of Goettingen (D). She wrote her AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Leeds (UK) in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries as well as in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. Her thesis explored the racial dimension of gender and sexuality discourses among salsa dancers in Switzerland and England. Her work has appeared in various edited collections, including Lesbian Geographies: Gender Place and Power (Ashgate) as well as in the Graduate Journal of Social Science. Her latest article on the racial politics of the German refugee debate will appear later this year in the European Journal of Women’s Studies. Stefanie is currently working on her first monograph entitled Race in Post-racial Europe: An Intersectional Analysis.