The theme for the latest issue of ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, published by Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), came to Editor-in-Chief June Carolyn Erlick at a DRCLAS reception last fall via Jorge Silvetti, Nelson Robinson, Jr. Professor of Architecture at the GSD, and Graciela Silvestri, a 2013-2014 Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor at the GSD and professor of architecture at the Universidad Nacional La Plata in Argentina. The resulting Spring 2015 issue, “Territory Guarani,” gathers articles on the environment, arts, language, and history of the dynamic Guarani region in South America and reflects the cross-disciplinary approach Silvetti applies to his research on the area.
“Someone asked me if there was enough to say on the Guarani territory for an entire magazine,” Erlick writes in her Editor’s Letter. “Actually, there’s too much.”
“Territory Guarani” investigates not just the region itself—a swath of land crossing Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay that is currently subject to major multinational infrastructural interventions—but also the broader concept of what the term “territory” signifies. In the magazine’s opening article, Silvetti and Silvestri posit that “territory” is less about a geometric cut of land defined by borders, and more about a “flexible and open fabric” threaded by current events, history, myth, and interpretation. “A territory thus is not a collection of data but a constructed tissue,” they write. “It matters what pressure we would apply to one thread or another; which inquiry we would follow over others to bring out a certain picture, one which would not be the only possible one.”
Last spring, Silvetti and Silvestri organized a DRCLAS-sponsored, multidisciplinary workshop to open an investigation into defining the Guarani region, transnational and complex as it is, as a distinct “territorio.” This spring, Silvetti taught a course on the Guarani territory, the second of three proposed Architecture Design Studios focused on architectural, urban, and landscape issues in the region.