The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this article, critic Darío Achury examines the culture of the Americas—which he believes to encompass the continent in its entirety—comparing it to European culture in the throes of crisis after the war. Achury believes that the situation in Europe provides the Americas with an opportunity to develop a culture of its own. In the absence of European culture, he asserts, an authentic American culture must become self-aware and heed its specific reality. Rather than a “return to the past,” Achury advocates filling the present with meaning in order to make history rather than bolster a myth. For this to happen, he argues, it is necessary to use authentic local instruments to give shape to culture by means of order, beauty, and determination. It is not a question of starting from scratch and condemning what Western culture has to offer, but rather of pursuing an “essential” culture that informs and guides life while also endowing existence with “eternal values” as local culture is transformed and recreated on the basis of Western culture. The author closes by pointing out the need to construct a judicial, political, economic, social, and artistic order that furthers authentic local spiritual values.
This text by writer and critic Dario Achury Valenzuela (1906–1999) is paradigmatic in the history of Colombian culture and art insofar as it epitomizes the thinking of intellectuals and artists in pursuit of an authentic local culture. It echoes the concern with “the national” voiced resoundingly during the thirties and forties in Colombia. Among the individuals, publications, and groups that addressed these concerns are the Bachué group—Luis Alberto Acuña Tapias (1904–1984), Rómulo Rozo (1899–1964), Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–1970), and Carlos Correa (1912–1985)—the Revista de las Indias, and Colombian writers and intellectuals such as Jorge Zalamea (1905–1969) and Germán Arciniegas (1900–1999) who, through their works, contents and writings, explore “what is national”.