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Area and Ethnic Studies > Latin American and Caribbean Studies

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A Beauty That Hurts Cover

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A Beauty That Hurts

Life and Death in Guatemala, Second Revised Edition

By W. George Lovell

Though a 1996 peace accord brought a formal end to a conflict that had lasted for thirty-six years, Guatemala’s violent past continues to scar its troubled present and seems destined to haunt its uncertain future. George Lovell brings to this revised and expanded edition of A Beauty That Hurts decades of fieldwork throughout Guatemala, as well as archival research. He locates the roots of conflict in geographies of inequality that arose during colonial times and were exacerbated by the drive to develop Guatemala’s resources in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The lines of confrontation were entrenched after a decade of socioeconomic reform between 1944 and 1954 saw modernizing initiatives undone by a military coup backed by U.S. interests and the CIA. A United Nations Truth Commission has established that civil war in Guatemala claimed the lives of more that 200,000 people, the vast majority of them indigenous Mayas. Lovell weaves documentation about what happened to Mayas in particular during the war years with accounts of their difficult personal situations. Meanwhile, an intransigent elite and a powerful military continue to benefit from the inequalities that triggered armed insurrection in the first place. Weak and corrupt civilian governments fail to impose the rule of law, thus ensuring that Guatemala remains an embattled country where postwar violence and drug-related crime undermine any semblance of orderly, peaceful life.

Becoming Julia de Burgos Cover

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Becoming Julia de Burgos

The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon

Vanessa Perez Rosario

In the first book-length study written in English, Vanessa Perez-Rosario examines poet and political activist Julia de Burgos's development as a writer, her experience of migration, and her legacy in New York City. Perez-Rosario situates de Burgos as part of a transitional generation that helps to bridge the historical divide between Puerto Rican nationalist writers of the 1930s and the Nuyorican writers of the 1970s. Focusing on the poet's contributions to New York Latino/a literary and visual culture, she moves beyond the tragedy-centered narratives of de Burgos's life to examine her place within a nuanced historical understanding of Puerto Rico's peoples and culture. Perez-Rosario unravels the cultural and political dynamics at work when contemporary Latina/o writers and artists in New York revise, reinvent, and riff off of Julia de Burgos as they imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities.

Becoming Mapuche Cover

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Becoming Mapuche

Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile

Magnus Course

Magnus Course blends convincing historical analysis with sophisticated contemporary theory in this superb ethnography of the Mapuche people of southern Chile. Based on many years of ethnographic fieldwork, Becoming Mapuche takes readers to the indigenous reserves where many Mapuche have been forced to live since the beginning of the twentieth century. In addition to accounts of the intimacies of everyday kinship and friendship, Course also offers the first complete ethnographic analyses of the major social events of contemporary rural Mapuche life--eluwün funerals, the ritual sport of palin, and the great ngillatun fertility ritual. The volume includes a glossary of terms in Mapudungun.

Becoming the Tupamaros Cover

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Becoming the Tupamaros

Solidarity and Transnational Revolutionaries in Uruguay and the United States

Lindsey Churchill

In Becoming the Tupamaros, Lindsey Churchill explores an alternative narrative of US-Latin American relations by challenging long-held assumptions about the nature of revolutionary movements like the Uruguayan Tupamaros group. A violent and innovative organization, the Tupamaros demonstrated that Latin American guerrilla groups during the Cold War did more than take sides in a battle of Soviet and US ideologies. Rather, they digested information and techniques without discrimination, creating a homegrown and unique form of revolution.


Churchill examines the relationship between state repression and revolutionary resistance, the transnational connections between the Uruguayan Tupamaro revolutionaries and leftist groups in the US, and issues of gender and sexuality within these movements. Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver, for example, became symbols of resistance in both the United States and Uruguay. and while much of the Uruguayan left and many other revolutionary groups in Latin America focused on motherhood as inspiring women's politics, the Tupamaros disdained traditional constructions of femininity for female combatants. Ultimately, Becoming the Tupamaros revises our understanding of what makes a Movement truly revolutionary.

Before Fidel Cover

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Before Fidel

The Cuba I Remember

By Francisco José Moreno

Before Fidel Castro seized power, Cuba was an ebullient and chaotic society in a permanent state of turmoil, combining a raucous tropical nature with the evils of arbitrary and corrupt government. Yet this fascinating period in Cuban history has been largely forgotten or misrepresented, even though it set the stage for Castro’s dramatic takeover in 1959. To reclaim the Cuba that he knew—and add color and detail to the historical record—distinguished political scientist Francisco José Moreno here offers his recollections of the Cuba in which he came of age personally and politically. Moreno takes us into the little-known world of privileged, upper-middle-class, white Cubans of the 1930s through the 1950s. His vivid depictions of life in the family and on the streets capture the distinctive rhythms of Cuban society and the dynamics between parents and children, men and women, and people of different races and classes. The heart of the book describes Moreno’s political awakening, which culminated during his student years at the University of Havana. Moreno gives a detailed, insider’s account of the anti-Batista movement, including the Ortodoxos and the Triple A. He recaptures the idealism and naiveté of the movement, as well as its ultimate ineffectiveness as it fell before the juggernaut of the Castro Revolution. His own disillusionment and wrenching decision to leave Cuba rather than accept a commission in Castro’s army poignantly closes the book.

Before the Revolution Cover

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Before the Revolution

Women's Rights and Right-Wing Politics in Nicaragua, 1821–1979

By Victoria González- Rivera

Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse Cover

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Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse

Popular Music and the Staging of Brazil

Daniel B. Sharp

Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse is a close-to-the-ground account of musicians and dancers from Arcoverde, Pernambuco—a small city in the northeastern Brazilian backlands. The book’s focus on samba de coco families, marked as bearers of tradition, and the band Cordel do Fogo Encantado, marketed as pop iconoclasts, offers a revealing portrait of performers engaged in new forms of cultural preservation during a post-dictatorship period of democratization and neoliberal reform. Daniel B. Sharp explores how festivals, museums, television, and tourism steep musicians’ performances in national-cultural nostalgia, which both provides musicians and dancers with opportunities for cultural entrepreneurship and hinders their efforts to be recognized as part of the Brazilian here-and-now. The book charts how Afro-Brazilian samba de coco became an unlikely emblem in an interior where European and indigenous mixture predominates. It also chronicles how Cordel do Fogo Encantado—drawing upon the sounds of samba de coco, ecstatic Afro-Brazilian religious music, and heavy metal—sought to make folklore dangerous by embodying an apocalyptic register often associated with northeastern Brazil.

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Beyond Displacement

Campesinos, Refugees, and Collective Action in the Salvadoran Civil War

Molly Todd

During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders. Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.

Beyond Imported Magic Cover

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Beyond Imported Magic

Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America

Eden Medina

The essays in this volume study the creation, adaptation, and use of science and technology in Latin America. They challenge the view that scientific ideas and technology travel unchanged from the global North to the global South -- the view of technology as "imported magic." They describe not only alternate pathways for innovation, invention, and discovery but also how ideas and technologies circulate in Latin American contexts and transnationally. The contributors' explorations of these issues, and their examination of specific Latin American experiences with science and technology, offer a broader, more nuanced understanding of how science, technology, politics, and power interact in the past and present.The essays in this book use methods from history and the social sciences to investigate forms of local creation and use of technologies; the circulation of ideas, people, and artifacts in local and global networks; and hybrid technologies and forms of knowledge production. They address such topics as the work of female forensic geneticists in Colombia; the pioneering Argentinean use of fingerprinting technology in the late nineteenth century; the design, use, and meaning of the XO Laptops created and distributed by the One Laptop per Child Program; and the development of nuclear energy in Argentina, Mexico, and Chile.ContributorsPedro Ignacio Alonso, Morgan G. Ames, Javiera Barandiarán, João Biehl, Anita Say Chan, Amy Cox Hall, Henrique Cukierman, Ana Delgado, Rafael Dias, Adriana Díaz del Castillo H., Mariano Fressoli, Jonathan Hagood, Christina Holmes, Matthieu Hubert, Noela Invernizzi, Michael Lemon, Ivan da Costa Marques, Gisela Mateos, Eden Medina, María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Hugo Palmarola, Tania Pérez-Bustos, Julia Rodriguez, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Edna Suárez Díaz, Hernán Thomas, Manuel Tironi, Dominique Vinck

Beyond the Eagle's Shadow Cover

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Beyond the Eagle's Shadow

New Histories of Latin America's Cold War

Virginia Garrard-Burnett

The dominant tradition in writing about U.S.–Latin American relations during the Cold War views the United States as all-powerful. That perspective, represented in the metaphor “talons of the eagle,” continues to influence much scholarly work down to the present day. The goal of this collection of essays is not to write the United States out of the picture but to explore the ways Latin American governments, groups, companies, organizations, and individuals promoted their own interests and perspectives.

The book also challenges the tendency among scholars to see the Cold War as a simple clash of “left” and “right.” In various ways, several essays disassemble those categories and explore the complexities of the Cold War as it was experienced beneath the level of great-power relations.

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