South as a Method: From the “Southern Question” to the “Southern Thoughts”

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



“South as Method: From the ‘Southern Question’ to the ‘Southern Thoughts’” examines the emergence of narrative and rhetoric patterns within the context of the unclear and unstable meaning of race and nation-building discourses in Italy, Spain, Peru, and Argentina. My methodology combines a close reading of late nineteenth-century novels and short stories published in these countries with an analysis of the ways that the global editorial market and local sociological essays influenced the creation of local ‘social types’ in these texts. Bridging intersectional literary analysis with post- and decolonial theories, this study analyzes writers’ definitions of their novels rather than what critics or theorists have called ‘naturalist’ or ‘realist’ novels. It is an invitation to look inside the writers’ peculiar ways of producing novels in this style while prioritizing national concerns. The literary corpus analyzed spans from essays—Luigi Capuana’s L’isola del sole, Antonio Gramsci’s Quaderni del carcere, Cesare Lombroso’s L’uomo delinquente, José Carlos Mariátegui’s Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana, Ezequiel Martinez Estrada’s Radiografia de la pampa, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s Civilización y barbarie—to novels and short stories—Emilia Pardo Bazán’s La tribuna, Mercedes Cabello’s Blanca Sol, Eugenio Cambaceres’s En la sangre, Clorinda Matto’s Herencia, Luigi Pirandello’s “L’altro figlio,” Benito Pérez Galdós’s Lo prohibido and Tormento, Giovanni Verga’s “Rosso Malpelo” and “L’amante di Gramigna.” In my analysis of these nineteenth-century texts, the concept of ‘social type’ is highlighted as a key framework and a descriptive tool that responds to the growing need for orientation within the unsteady national borders. In this sense, I analyze the osmotic relationship between social science and literature, which culminates in the responses articulated by Marxist theorists such as Antonio Gramsci, Ezequiel Martinez Estrada, and José Carlos Mariátegui, in the 1930s, through their original articulation of the south as a method rather than an object of study.





Carnemolla, Cristina (2023). South as a Method: From the “Southern Question” to the “Southern Thoughts”. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.