Close Encounters of Empire

Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations

Close Encounters of Empire

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 592 Illustrations: 25 b&w photographs, 2 maps Published: September 1998

History > U.S. History, Latin American Studies, Politics > Political Science

New concerns with the intersections of culture and power, historical agency, and the complexity of social and political life are producing new questions about the United States’ involvement with Latin America. Turning away from political-economic models that see only domination and resistance, exploiters and victims, the contributors to this pathbreaking collection suggest alternate ways of understanding the role that U.S. actors and agencies have played in the region during the postcolonial period.

Exploring a variety of nineteenth- and twentieth-century encounters in Latin America, these theoretically engaged essays by distinguished U.S. and Latin American historians and anthropologists illuminate a wide range of subjects. From the Rockefeller Foundation’s public health initiatives in Central America to the visual regimes of film, art, and advertisements; these essays grapple with new ways of conceptualizing public and private spheres of empire. As such, Close Encounters of Empire initiates a dialogue between postcolonial studies and the long-standing scholarship on colonialism and imperialism in the Americas as it rethinks the cultural dimensions of nationalism and development.


"Close Encounters is an unusual achievement, especially for a collection of essays. Not only does it offer an innovative, imaginative, insightful interrogation of relations between Latin America and the U.S.A., regarded through the lens of the most contemporary of theoretical discourses—it also delivers on a much more difficult objective: to open up a new, critically nuanced perspective on colonialism and postcoloniality, sui generis. A well-balanced mix of the epistemic and the empirical, of conceptual argument and case study, it demands attention from anyone interested in the Americas, anyone concerned with colonialism, anyone preoccupied with postcolonial politics, economy, and culture—anywhere." — John Comaroff, University of Chicago


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gilbert M. Joseph is Farnam Professor of History and Director of Latin American and Iberian Studies at Yale University.

Catherine C. LeGrand is Associate Professor of History at McGill University.

Ricardo D. Salvatore is Professor of History at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Fernando Coronil ix

Preface xiii

I: Theoretical Concerns

Close Encounters: Toward a New Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations / Gilbert M. Joseph 3

The Decentered Center and the Expansionist Periphery: The Paradoxes of Foreign-Local Encounter / Steve J. Stern 47

The Enterprise of Knowledge: Representational Machines of Informal Empire / Ricardo d. Salvatore 69

II: Empirical Studies

Landscape and the Imperial Subject: U.S. Images of the Andes, 1859-1930 / Deborah Poole 107

Love in the Tropics: Marriage, Divorce, and the Construction of Benevolent Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 1898-1910 / Eileen J. Findlay 139

Mercenaries in the Theater of War: Publicity, Technology, and the Illusion of Power during the Brazilian Naval Revolt of 1893 / Steven C. Topik 173

The Sandino Rebellion Revisited: Civil War, Imperialism, Popular Nationalism, and State Formation Muddied Up Together in the Segovias of Nicaragua, 1926-1934 / Michael J. Schroeder 208

The Cult of the Airplane among U.S. Military men and Dominicans during the U.S. Occupation and the Trujillo Regime / Eric Paul Roorda 269

Central American Encounters with Rockefeller Public Health, 1914-1921 / Steven Palmer 311

Living in Macondo: Economy and Culture in a United Fruit Company Banana Enclave in Colombia / Catherine C. LeGrand 333

From Welfare Capitalism to the Free Market in Chile: Gender, Culture, and Politics in the Copper Mines / Thomas Miller Klubock 369

Everyday Forms of Transnational Collaboration: U.S. Film Propaganda in Cold War Mexico / Seth Fein 400

Gringo Chickens with Worms: Food and Nationalism in the Dominican Republic / Lauren Derby 451

III: Final Reflections

Turning to Culture / Emily S. Rosenberg 497

Social Fields and Cultural Encounters / William Roseberry 515

From Reading to Seeing: Doing and Undoing Imperialism in the Visual Arts / Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas 525

Contributors 557

Index 563
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2099-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2085-2
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