Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History

Essays from the North

Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 4 b&w photos, 1 map Published: December 2001

History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies, Politics > Political Science

Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History is a collection that embraces a new social and cultural history of Latin America that is not divorced from politics and other arenas of power. True to the intellectual vision of Brazilian historian Emilia Viotti da Costa, one of Latin America’s most distinguished scholars, the contributors actively revisit the political—as both a theme of historical analysis and a stance for historical practice—to investigate the ways in which power, agency, and Latin American identity have been transformed over the past few decades.
Taking careful stock of the state of historical writing on Latin America, the volume delineates current historiographical frontiers and suggests a series of new approaches that focus on several pivotal themes: the construction of historical narratives and memory; the articulation of class, race, gender, sexuality, and generation; and the historian’s involvement in the making of history. Although the book represents a view of the Latin American political that comes primarily from the North, the influence of Viotti da Costa powerfully marks the contributors’ engagement with Latin America’s past. Featuring a keynote essay by Viotti da Costa herself, the volume’s lively North-South encounter embodies incipient trends of hemispheric intellectual convergence.

Jeffrey L. Gould, Greg Grandin, Daniel James, Gilbert M. Joseph, Thomas Miller Klubock, Mary Ann Mahony, Florencia E. Mallon, Diana Paton, Steve J. Stern, Heidi Tinsman, Emilia Viotti da Costa, Barbara Weinstein


"[A] welcome contribution." — Leonardo Avritzer, Latin American Politics and Society

"The text brings our attention back to the essence of historical analysis and the power of the historian's trade as a tool for shaping the future." — Mark D. Szuchman, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"A fruitful combination of advocacy, critique, and demonstration distinguishes this collection from recent iterations of scholarly debate which have privileged ideological disputes over careful scrutiny of the 'new historiography' itself. While the ultimate success of recent tendencies will surely remain in dispute, one source of their inspiration-the teaching and example of Viotti da Costa-remains forever documented in this fine collection." — Elizabeth Quay Hutchison, American Historical Review

"Each of these essays is well-written, well researched and engages with specific historiographical problems." — Dario Euraque, Journal of Latin American Studies

“Cutting edge in its approaches, vibrant in its debates, and relevant in its concerns to both current historiography and current politics, this book should be required reading for all serious students and scholars of Latin America.” — Peter Winn, author of Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean

“The magnificence of this volume lies in Viotti da Costa’s plea for political engagement and intellectual integrity, as well as in the superb scholarship that rises to her challenge. This book will inspire a new generation of scholars and teachers of Latin American history to reengage their work and lives in the new politics and political issues bubbling up around the edges of the neoliberal order of global capitalism.” — Brooke Larson, author of Cochabamba, 1550–1900: Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia


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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 and Editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. Most recently he has coedited Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.–Latin American Relations and Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico Since 1940, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top

I. The Politics of Writing Latin American History

Reclaiming “the Political” at the Turn of the Millennium / Gilbert M. Joseph

New Publics, New Politics, New Histories: From Economic Reductionism to Cultural Reductionism--in Search of Dialectics / Emilia Viotti da Costa

Between Tragedy and Promise: The Politics of Writing Latin American History in the Late Twentieth Century / Steve J. Stern

II. The Contestation of Historical Narratives and Memory

The Decline of the Progressive Planter and the Rise of Subaltern Agency: Shifting Narratives of Slave Emancipation in Brazil / Barbara Weinstein

A Past to Do Justice to the Present: Collective Memory, Historical Representation, and Rule in Bahia’s Cacao Area / Mary Ann Mahony

Revolutionary Nationalism and Local Memories in El Salvador / Jeffrey L. Gould

III. Articulating the Political: The Intersection of Class, Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Generation

The Flight from the Fields Reconsidered: Gender Ideologies and Women’s Labor After Slavery in Jamaica / Diana Paton

A More Onerous Citizenship: Illness, Race, and Nation in Republican Guatemala / Greg Grandin

Nationalism, Race, and the Politics of Imperialism: Workers and North American Capital in the Chilean Copper Industry / Thomas Miller Klubock

Good Wives, Bad Girls, and Unfaithful Men: Sexual Negotiation and Labor Struggle in Chile’s Agrarian Reform, 1964–73 / Heidi Tinsman

IV. Historians and the Making of History

Bearing Witness in Hard Times: Ethnography and Testimonio in a Postrevolutionary Age / Florencia E. Mallon

Afterword: A Final Reflection on the Political / Daniel James



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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2789-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2779-0
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