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Archaeology of the Rivas Region, Nicaragua

Central America before the Spanish Conquest has often been considered by North American archaeologists as a “backwater” of peripheral importance located between the advanced ancient civilizations of South America and Mesoamerica (Mexican–Maya country). Recent archaeological research has revealed that this area played a much more significant role in New World cultural history than was previously thought. Healy’s study examines the archaeological record of one subarea of Southern Central America, the Rivas region of Pacific Nicaragua. The work gives a detailed analysis of excavations and of artifacts recovered at seven significant prehistoric sites. A critical pioneering effort, the monograph documents cultural changes occurring over a 2,000–year time period—changes in technology, material culture, settlement, subsistence, and socio–political organization.

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Architecture as Revolution

Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico

By Luis E. Carranza

The period following the Mexican Revolution was characterized by unprecedented artistic experimentation. Seeking to express the revolution's heterogeneous social and political aims, which were in a continuous state of redefinition, architects, artists, writers, and intellectuals created distinctive, sometimes idiosyncratic theories and works. Luis E. Carranza examines the interdependence of modern architecture in Mexico and the pressing sociopolitical and ideological issues of this period, as well as the interchanges between post-revolutionary architects and the literary, philosophical, and artistic avant-gardes. Organizing his book around chronological case studies that show how architectural theory and production reflected various understandings of the revolution's significance, Carranza focuses on architecture and its relationship to the philosophical and pedagogic requirements of the muralist movement, the development of the avant-garde in Mexico and its notions of the Mexican city, the use of pre-Hispanic architectural forms to address indigenous peoples, the development of a socially oriented architectural functionalism, and the monumentalization of the revolution itself. In addition, the book also covers important architects and artists who have been marginally discussed within architectural and art historiography. Richly illustrated, Architecture as Revolution is one of the first books in English to present a social and cultural history of early twentieth-century Mexican architecture.

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Argentina

Stories for a Nation

Amy K. Kaminsky

By the end of the twentieth century, Argentina’s complex identity-tango and chimichurri, Eva Perón and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the Falklands and the Dirty War, Jorge Luis Borges and Maradona, economic chaos and a memory of vast wealth-has become entrenched in the consciousness of the Western world.

 

In this wide-ranging and at times poetic new work, Amy K. Kaminsky explores Argentina’s unique national identity and the place it holds in the minds of those who live beyond its physical borders. To analyze the country’s meaning in the global imagination, Kaminsky probes Argentina’s presence in a broad range of literary texts from the United States, Poland, England, Western Europe, and Argentina itself, as well as internationally produced films, advertisements, and newspaper features.

 

Kaminsky’s examination reveals how Europe consumes an image of Argentina that acts as a pivot between the exotic and the familiar. Going beyond the idea of suffocating Eurocentrism as a theory of national identity, Kaminsky presents an original and vivid reading of national myths and realities that encapsulates the interplay among the many meanings of “Argentina” and its place in the world’s imagination.

 

Amy Kaminsky is professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies and global studies at the University of Minnesota and author of After Exile (Minnesota, 1999).

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Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies

Vol. 1 (1997) through current issue

Since 1997, the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies has been publishing insightful essays on the relationships between economics and politics as they come to bear on the cultures of Spain, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Chicano and Latino United States. Past special issues have included titles such as Market Matters: Literary Culture and the Publishing Industry in Spain and Latin America; The Hispanic Atlantic; Equatorial Guinea and Spanish Letters; Barcelona and the Projection of Catalonia; On the Border.
http://azjhcs.coh.arizona.edu/index.html

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Art Against Dictatorship

Making and Exporting Arpilleras Under Pinochet

By Jacqueline Adams

This pioneering study of Chilean arpillera folk art and its makers, sellers, and buyers explores the creation of a solidarity art system and shows how art can be a powerful force for opposing dictatorship and empowering oppressed people.

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The Art of Professing in Bourbon Mexico

Crowned-Nun Portraits and Reform in the Convent

By James M. Córdova

Offering a pioneering interpretation of the “crowned nun” portrait, this book explores how visual culture contributed to local identity formation at a time when the colonial Church instituted major reforms that radically changed the face of New Spain’s convents and religious character.

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Artful Assassins

Murder as Art in Modern Mexico

Fernando Fabio Sánchez

Violence as a way of life, and murder as a political tool. This philosophy is nothing new to Mexico, most recently demonstrated in the wave of assassination and indiscriminate killing brought on by the drug war gripping the country. In Artful Assassins, author and scholar Fernando Fabio Sánchez unveils the long record of violence inspiring artistic expression in Mexico, focusing on its use and portrayal in film and literature. Sánchez is uniquely positioned to explore this topic, through his work as a novelist and poet in Mexico before entering academia in the United States. Sanchez argues that the seemingly hopeless cycle of violence experienced by Mexico in the 20th century, as reflected in its "crime genre," reveals a broader intrinsic cultural and political failure that suggests grave implications for the current state of crisis. Tracing the development of a national Mexican identity from the 1910 Mexican Revolution onward, Sánchez focuses on the indelible presence of violence and crime underlying the major works that contributed to a larger communal narrative. Artful Assassins ultimately offers a panoramic overview of the evolution of Mexican arts and letters, as well as nationalism, by claiming murder and assassination as literary and cinematic motifs. The collapse of post-revolutionary political unity was presaged all along in Mexican culture, Sanchez argues. It need only to have been sought in the art of the nation.

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The Artistry of Afro-Cuban Batá Drumming

Aesthetics, Transmission, Bonding, and Creativity

Kenneth Schweitzer

An iconic symbol and sound of the Lucum'/Santer'a religion, Afro-Cuban batá are talking drums that express the epic mythological narratives of the West African Yoruba deities known as orisha. By imitating aspects of speech and song, and by metaphorically referencing salient attributes of the deities, batá drummers facilitate the communal praising of orisha in a music ritual known as a toque de santo.


In The Artistry of Afro-Cuban Batá Drumming, Kenneth Schweitzer blends musical transcription, musical analysis, interviews, ethnographic descriptions, and observations from his own experience as a ritual drummer to highlight the complex variables at work during a live Lucum' performance.


Integral in enabling trance possessions by the orisha, by far the most dramatic expressions of Lucum' faith, batá drummers are also entrusted with controlling the overall ebb and flow of the four- to six-hour toque de santo. During these events, batá drummers combine their knowledge of ritual with an extensive repertoire of rhythms and songs. Musicians focus on the many thematic acts that unfold both concurrently and in quick succession. In addition to creating an emotionally charged environment, playing salute rhythms for the orisha, and supporting the playful song competitions that erupt between singers, batá drummers are equally dedicated to nurturing their own drumming community by creating a variety of opportunities for the musicians to grow artistically and creatively.

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The Assassination of Gaitán

Public Life and Urban Violence in Colombia

Herbert Braun

Drawn in part from personal interviews with participants and witnesses, Herbert Braun’s analysis of the riot’s roots, its patterns and consequences, provides a dramatic account of this historic turning point and an illuminating look at the making of modern Colombia.

Braun’s narrative begins in the year 1930 in Bogotá, Colombia, when a generation of Liberals and Conservatives came to power convinced they could kept he peace by being distant, dispassionate, and rational. One of these politicians, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, was different. Seeking to bring about a society of merit, mass participation, and individualism, he exposed the private interests of the reigning politicians and engendered a passionate relationship with his followers. His assassination called forth urban crowds that sought to destroy every visible evidence of public authority of a society they felt no longer had the moral right to exist.

This is a book about behavior in public: how the actors—the political elite, Gaitán, and the crowds—explained and conducted themselves in public, what they said and felt, and what they sought to preserve or destroy, is the evidence on which Braun draws to explain the conflicts contained in Colombian history. The author demonstrates that the political culture that was emerging through these tensions offered the hope of a peaceful transition to a more open, participatory, and democratic society.

“Most Colombians regard Jorge Eliécer Gaitán as a pivotal figure in their nation’s history, whose assassination on April 9, 1948 irrevocably changed the course of events in the twentieth century. . . . As biography, social history, and political analysis, Braun’s book is a tour de force.”—Jane M. Rausch, Hispanic American Historical Review

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