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Area and Ethnic Studies > Latin American and Caribbean Studies

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Buenas Noches, American Culture Cover

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Buenas Noches, American Culture

Latina/o Aesthetics of Night

María DeGuzmán

Often treated like night itself—both visible and invisible, feared and romanticized—Latina/os make up the largest minority group in the US. In her newest work, María DeGuzmán explores representations of night in art and literature from the Caribbean, Colombia, Central and South America, and the US, calling into question night's effect on the formation of identity for Latina/os in and outside of the US. She takes as her subject novels, short stories, poetry, essays, non-fiction, photo-fictions, photography, and film, and examines these texts through the lenses of nationhood, sexuality, human rights, exoticism, among others.

Building Nineteenth-Century Latin America Cover

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Building Nineteenth-Century Latin America

Re-Rooted Cultures, Identities, and Nations

Edited by William G. Acree Jr. and Juan Carlos González Espitia

How did culture and identity take root as the new nations and state institutions were being fashioned across Latin America after the wars of independence? These original essays tease out the power of print and visual cultures, examine the impact of carnival, delve into religion and war, and study the complex histories of gender identities and disease.

Butterflies Will Burn Cover

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Butterflies Will Burn

Prosecuting Sodomites in Early Modern Spain and Mexico

By Federico Garza Carvajal

Drawing on previously unpublished records of some three hundred sodomy trials conducted in Spain and Mexico between 1561 and 1699, Garza Carvajal examines the sodomy discourses that emerged in Andalucía, seat of Spain's colonial apparatus, and in the viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico), its first and largest American colony.

Cañar Cover

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Cañar

A Year in the Highlands of Ecuador

By Judy Blankenship

Once isolated from the modern world in the heights of the Andean mountains, the indigenous communities of Ecuador now send migrants to New York City as readily as they celebrate festivals whose roots reach back to the pre-Columbian past. Fascinated by this blending of old and new and eager to make a record of traditional customs and rituals before they disappear entirely, photographer-journalist Judy Blankenship spent several years in Cañar, Ecuador, photographing the local people in their daily lives and conducting photography workshops to enable them to preserve their own visions of their culture. In this engaging book, Blankenship combines her sensitively observed photographs with an inviting text to tell the story of the most recent year she and her husband Michael spent living and working among the people of Cañar. Very much a personal account of a community undergoing change, Cañar documents such activities as plantings and harvests, religious processions, a traditional wedding, healing ceremonies, a death and funeral, and a home birth with a native midwife. Along the way, Blankenship describes how she and Michael went from being outsiders only warily accepted in the community to becoming neighbors and even godparents to some of the local children. She also explains how outside forces, from Ecuador’s failing economy to globalization, are disrupting the traditional lifeways of the Cañari as economic migration virtually empties highland communities of young people. Blankenship’s words and photographs create a moving, intimate portrait of a people trying to balance the demands of the twenty-first century with the traditions that have formed their identity for centuries.

Caballero noble desbaratado Cover

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Caballero noble desbaratado

Autobiografía e invención en el siglo XVI

by José Luis Gastañaga Ponce de León

First-person narrative does not always fall under the genre of autobiography. In the centuries before the genre was defined, authors often patterned their personal narratives after prestigious discourses, such as hagiography, historiography, and the literary miscellany. Caballero noble desbaratado: Autobiografía e invención en el siglo XVI [Noble Knight Disrupted: Autobiography and Invention in the Sixteenth Century] analyzes several first-person narratives from Spain and the conditions of their writing and reception. It focuses on the sixteenth-century Libro de la vida y costumbres [Book of life and customs] by Alonso Enríquez de Guzmán (1499-1547), the knight of the title. One chapter looks at antecedents to the central work: the late fourteenth-century Memorial by Leonor López de Córdoba, who narrates difficult passages of her life; the Breve suma de la vida y hechos [Brief Summary of the Life and Deeds] by Diego García de Paredes, who speaks of duels and battles as an object lesson in honor and courage for his son; and Cautiverio y trabajos [Captivity and Travails] by Diego Galán, a tale of captivity and flight in Muslim lands that constitutes an early example of fictionalized autobiography. The study also examines the influence of writers like Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, Antonio de Guevara, and Pedro Mexía and the vitality of lyric poetry on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles has devoted a volume to Enríquez de Guzmán, there has never been a book-length study dedicated to this author. This book fills that gap and constitutes a valuable contribution to the study of autobiography in Spanish.

Cahuachi in the Ancient Nasca World Cover

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Cahuachi in the Ancient Nasca World

Helaine Silverman

Ever since its scientific discovery, the great Nasca site of Cahuachi on the south coast of the Central Andes has captured the attention of archaeologists, art historians, and the general public. Until Helaine Silverman's fieldwork, however, ancient Nasca culture was seen as an archaeological construct devoid of societal context. Silverman's long-term, multistage research as published in this volume reconstructs Nasca society and contextualizes the traces of this brilliant civilization (ca. 200 B.C.-A.D. 600).

Silverman shows that Cahuachi was much larger and more complex than portrayed in the current literature but that, surprisingly, it was not a densely populated city. Rather, Cahuachi was a grand ceremonial center whose population, size, density, and composition changed to accommodate a ritual and political calendar. Silverman meticulously presents and interprets an abundance of current data on the physical complexities, burials, and artifacts of this prominent site; in addition, she synthesizes the history of previous fieldwork at Cahuachi and introduces a corrected map and a new chronological chart for the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage system.

On the basis of empirical field data, ethnographic analogy, and settlement pattern analysis, Silverman constructs an Andean model of Nasca culture that is crucial to understanding the development of complex society in the Central Andes. Written in a clear and concise style and generously illustrated, this first synthesis of the published data about the ancient Nasca world will appeal to all archaeologists, art historians, urban anthropologists, and historians of ancient civilizations.

Can Literature Promote Justice? Cover

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Can Literature Promote Justice?

Trauma Narrative and Social Action in Latin American Testimonio

Kimberly A. Nance

As if in direct response to The New Yorker's question of “The Power of the Pen: Does Literature Change Anything?” Kimberly Nance takes up the relationship between ethics and literature. With the 40th anniversary of the testimonio occurring in 2006, there has never been a better time to reconsider its role in achieving social justice. The advent of the testimonio--loosely, a political autobiography of a Latin American activist who hopes, through the telling of her life story, to bring about change--was met with a great deal of excitement by scholars who posited it as a radical new form of literature. Those accolades were almost immediately followed by a series of critical problems. In what sense were testimonios "true"? What right did privileged scholars in the U.S. have to engage accounts of suffering with traditional modes of criticism? Were questions of veracity or aesthetics more important? Were these texts autobiography or political screeds? It seemed critics didn't know quite what to make of the testimonio and so, after a brief bout of engagement, disregarded it. Nance, however, argues that any form as prolific as the testimonio is well worth examining and that these questions, rather than being insurmountable, are exactly the questions with which scholars ought to be wrestling. If, as critics claim, that the testimonio is one of the most pervasive contemporary Latin American cultural genres, then it is high time for a comprehensive study of the genre such as Nance's.

Cannibal Encounters Cover

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Cannibal Encounters

Europeans and Island Caribs, 1492–1763

Philip P. Boucher

Philip Boucher analyzes the images—and the realities—of European relations with the people known as Island Caribs during the first three centuries after Columbus. Based on literary sources, travelers' observations, and missionary accounts, as well as on French and English colonial archives and administrative correspondence, Cannibal Encounters offers a vivid portrait of a troubled chapter in the history of European-Amerindian relations.

Capital Fictions Cover

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Capital Fictions

The Literature of Latin America's Export Age

Ericka Beckman

Between 1870 and 1930, Latin American countries were incorporated into global capitalist networks like never before, mainly as exporters of raw materials and importers of manufactured goods. During this Export Age, entire regions were given over to the cultivation of export commodities such as coffee and bananas, capital and labor were relocated to new production centers, and barriers to foreign investment were removed. Capital Fictions investigates the key role played by literature in imagining and interpreting the rapid transformations unleashed by Latin America’s first major wave of capitalist modernization.

Using an innovative blend of literary and economic analysis and drawing from a rich interdisciplinary archive, Ericka Beckman provides the first extended evaluation of Export Age literary production. She traces the emergence of a distinct set of fictions, fantasies, and illusions that accompanied the rise of export-led, dependent capitalism. These “capital fictions” range from promotional pamphlets for Guatemalan coffee and advertisements for French fashions, to novels about stock market collapse in Argentina and rubber extraction in the Amazon.

Beckman explores how Export Age literature anticipated some of the key contradictions faced by contemporary capitalist societies, including extreme financial volatility, vast social inequality, and ever-more-intense means of exploitation. Questioning the opposition between culture and economics in Latin America and elsewhere, Capital Fictions shows that literature operated as a powerful form of political economy during this period.

Caribbean and Atlantic Diaspora Dance Cover

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Caribbean and Atlantic Diaspora Dance

Igniting Citizenship

Yvonne Daniel

In Caribbean and Atlantic Diaspora Dance: Igniting Citizenship, Yvonne Daniel provides a sweeping cultural and historical examination of Diaspora dance genres. Daniel investigates social dances brought to the islands by Europeans and Africans, including quadrilles and drum/dances as well as popular dances that followed, such as Carnival parading, Pan-Caribbean danzas, rumba, merengue, mambo, reggae, and zouk. She reviews sacred dance and closely documents combat dances, such as Martinican ladja, Trinidadian kalinda, and Cuban juego de maní. In drawing on scores of performers and consultants from the region as well as on her own professional dance experience and acumen, Daniel adeptly places Caribbean dance in the context of cultural and economic globalization, connecting local practices to transnational and global processes and emphasizing the important role of dance in critical regional tourism. Throughout, Daniel reveals impromptu and long-lasting Diaspora communities of participating dancers and musicians.

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