DOI: 10.1177/09213740231223842 ISSN: 0921-3740

All things PanchitX: Peanuts, biopolitics, and the global south

Ana Ugarte
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies

Exploring the genealogies, lexical ancestors, and uses of the term “Panchito,” this scrutiny delves into the vast cultural representations, popular attitudes, and othering discourse of this disparaging epithet for Latin Americans in Spain. The piece takes stock of the naming of othered Panchos in Spain, the United States, and Latin America––tapping into an Xness of the Global South where the lives of peanuts and peanuts as people intersect through the conceptual reduction and dismissal of humans and botanical life. Panchito originates as a racializing metaphor that compares Latin American persons with roasted peanuts, also called “panchitos” in Spain. Drawing from a posthumanist and materialist take on biopolitics, the essay unearths links among persons, peanut plants, animals, and sounds shaping PanchitX ontologies. The botanical properties of this grain legume, the history of peanuts’ connections to slavery, as well as peanuts’ strong presence as a Latin American “thing” in Global South imaginaries are all pursued here to provide occasions for new paradigms, insights, and questions on global LatinX cultures.

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