This section aims at discussing discursive, artistic and symbolic productions that have confronted, crossed, redefined and shaped the cultural and political meanings of Modernity in the Americas, from early 20th century to the 1960s. We wish to shed light on men of culture and arts who, from specific positions, but strategic from the point of view of bringing repertoires of ideas, images and cultural products in circulation, have been able to interfere in larger scenes, building modern cultural relations in American societies´ contemporary History.
It is our view that so to evaluate the ways by which the horizons and possibilities of the “modern” have been imagined and explored in the Americas implies acknowledging the profound historical connections established with Europe and with other continents along. Connections whose origins come from Colonization since early Modern era, from the streams of people moving by virtue of slavery or of migratory flows, from the reconstruction of political bounds after national independences, from the extraordinary trade and circulation of cultural repertoires, natural resources and material artifacts. In such environment of conceptions and practices that have long been diffused and appropriated in the overseas, the 20th century represents the strengthening of the Americas as a place that claims not only political autonomy, formally achieved in former times, but both cultural and intellectual. Literary and artistic movements have addressed the “discovery” of local and regional specificities, aiming at capturing and translating them into universal terms. As they spoke of Native or Afro-Americans, rural communities or the excitement of cities turning into modernity, American repertoires flowed to larger rivers do the modern imaginary.