Prof. Xiomara Cervantes has won the Latin American Studies Association 2021 Premio Sylvia Molloy for Best Article in the Humanities (presented by the Sexualities Studies Section) for her article “Paz’s Pasivo: Thinking Mexicanness from the Bottom.”
The Latin American Studies Association is the largest professional association in the world for the study of Latin America. The Premio Sylvia Molloy is named after the Argentine professor, author, essayist, and pioneer in LGBTQ Latin American studies.
Regarding her article (which forms part of her new book project, Pasivo: Risks of Exposure in Bottom Mexicanness Performance):
“Paz’s Pasivo” reads Octavio Paz’s El laberinto de la soledad (1950) as a foundational text that describes the tensions between modern expressions of Mexicanness and sexual behavior. Taking seriously Paz’s anxiety about sexual positionality, in which he proposes that Mexico can either assume the position of the chingón (top; fucker) or the chingado (bottom; fucked), this article asks: What is at stake in localizing and reading national narrative literature through the figure of the bottom? Paz’s anxieties about sexual practices are marked by death-dealing assumptions about the longevity of the nation. This article thus offers a close-reading of risky allegories made about sex between men in the work of Paz to propose queer frameworks, what the article describes as “pasivo ethics,” that engage with nationalist narratives that underscore that gay sexual practices are constitutive of nationalist discourse. The article can be read (open access) at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13569325.2019.1675146.