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History > Latin American and Caribbean History

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Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas Cover

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Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas

Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II

By Emilio Zamora; Foreword by Juan Gómez Quiñones

In Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, Emilio Zamora traces the experiences of Mexican workers on the American home front during World War II as they moved from rural to urban areas and sought better-paying jobs in rapidly expanding industries. Contending that discrimination undermined job opportunities, Zamora investigates the intervention by Mexico in the treatment of workers, the U.S. State Department's response, and Texas' emergence as a key site for negotiating the application of the Good Neighbor Policy. He examines the role of women workers, the evolving political struggle, the rise of the liberal-urban coalition, and the conservative tradition in Texas. Zamora also looks closely at civil and labor rights–related efforts, implemented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Fair Employment Practice Committee.

Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution Cover

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Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution

Sherry Johnson

Drawing historical climatology, environmental history, and Cuban and American colonial history, Sherry Johnson innovatively integrates the history of the Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic world during the Age of Revolution (1750-1800) with the period's extreme weather patterns and finds that weather-induced environmental crises played an inextricable and largely unacknowledged role in charting the course of this period as a critical juncture in Atlantic world history. Johnson reviews recent scientific discoveries in paleoclimatology and, combining them with archival materials, identifies an historic weather pattern--in particular, a fifty-year warming trend--that lead to a cycle of severe drought alternating with an increased number of hurricanes, what we know now as the El Nino/La Nina weather cycle. By superimposing this history of natural disasters over the conventional timeline of socio-political and economic events in Caribbean colonial history--involving such major themes as mercantalism, imperial business, rebellion, and repression--Johnson argues for an alternate chronology based on environmental and weather events in which the signal events of the Age of Revolution are seen as consequences of ecological crisis. In particular, Johnson finds that the the general adoption of free trade by the European powers in the Americas, esp. in the key imperial outposts in the Caribbean and the North Atlantic basin, was catalyzed by a recognition of the harsh realities of food scarcity and the complementary needs of local colonists reeling from a series of unrelenting natural disasters. The environmental crisis, and Spain's slow response in assisting its colonists, also raised levels of resentment on the island against the motherland, adding to slowly building revolutionary sentiments.

The Closed Hand Cover

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The Closed Hand

Images of the Japanese in Modern Peruvian Literature

by Rebecca Riger Tsurumi

In her book, The Closed Hand: Images of the Japanese in Modern Peruvian Literature, Rebecca Riger Tsurumi captures the remarkable story behind the changing human landscape in Peru at the end of the nineteenth century when Japanese immigrants established what would become the second largest Japanese community in South America. She analyzes how non-Japanese Peruvian narrators unlock the unspoken attitudes and beliefs about the Japanese held by mainstream Peruvian society, as reflected in works written between l966 and 2006. Tsurumi explores how these Peruvian literary giants, including Mario Vargas Llosa, Miguel Gutiérrez, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Carmen Ollé, Pilar Dughi, and Mario Bellatin, invented Japanese characters whose cultural differences fascinated and confounded their creators. She compares the outsider views of these Peruvian narrators with the insider perceptions of two Japanese Peruvian poets, José Watanabe and Doris Moromisato, who tap personal experiences and memories to create images that define their identities. The book begins with a brief sociohistorical overview of Japan and Peru, describing the conditions in both nations that resulted in Japanese immigration to Peru and concluding in contemporary times. Tsurumi traces the evolution of the terms “Orient” and “Japanese/Oriental” and the depiction of Asians in Modernista poetry and in later works by Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges. She analyzes the images of the Japanese portrayed in individual works of modern Peruvian narrative, comparing them with those created in Japanese Peruvian poetry. The book concludes with an appendix containing excerpts from Tsurumi’s interviews and correspondence in Spanish with writers and poets in Lima and Mexico City.

Cobble Circles and Standing Stones Cover

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Cobble Circles and Standing Stones

Archaeology at the Rivas Site, Costa Rica

In this first-person tale of archaeological adventure in the tropical forest, Jeffrey Quilter tells the story of his excavation of Rivas, a great ceremonial center at the foot of the Talamanca Mountain range, which flourished between A.D. 900 and 1300, and its fabled gold-filled cemetery, the Panteón de La Reina. Beginning with the 1992 field season and ending with the last excavations in 1998, Quilter discusses Rivas’ builders and users, theories on chiefdom societies, and the daily interactions and surprises of modern archaeological fieldwork.

Writing in the first person with a balance between informal language and academic theory, Quilter concludes that Rivas was a ceremonial center for mortuary rituals to bury chiefly elite on the Panteón. Through use of his narrative technique, he provides the reader with accounts of discoveries as they occurred in fieldwork and the development of interpretations to explain the ancient refuse and cobble architecture his team uncovered. As his story progresses amid the enchantment of the Costa Rican landscape, research plans are adjusted and sometimes completely overturned as new discoveries, often serendipitous ones, are made. Such changing circumstances lead to new insights into the rise and fall of the people who built the cobble circles and raised the standing stones at Rivas, a thousand years ago.

The only book in English that focuses on a single archaeological site in Costa Rica, which continues to develop as a destination for archaeological tourism, Cobble Stones and Standing Circles will appeal to laypeople and professionals alike.

Cold War in a Hot Zone: The United States Confronts Labor and Independence Struggles in the British West Indies Cover

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Cold War in a Hot Zone: The United States Confronts Labor and Independence Struggles in the British West Indies

Beginning just before the start of World War II and ending during the Cold War, Gerald Horne's masterful examination of British Guiana and the British West Indies details the collapse of British colonial structures and the corresponding rise of U.S. regional influence. Horne reveals the realities of race and color in the Caribbean under colonial rule, while the colonizers-Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States-battled each other for hegemony on the world stage.

Horne seamlessly weaves a variety of untapped archival sources-including personal correspondence and newspaper stories from three continents-with a wide range of scholarly publications, journals and memoirs to illustrate an important, yet underexamined, regional history in a global context. 

Highlighting the centrality of the "labor question" in relation to colonial rule, Cold War in a Hot Zone is a compelling exposé of the racial dimensions of U.S. foreign policy and anti-communist initiatives during WWII and the Cold War that followed.

Colonial Blackness Cover

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Colonial Blackness

A History of Afro-Mexico

Herman L. Bennett

Asking readers to imagine a history of Mexico narrated through the experiences of Africans and their descendants, this book offers a radical reconfiguration of Latin American history. Using ecclesiastical and inquisitorial records, Herman L. Bennett frames the history of Mexico around the private lives and liberty that Catholicism engendered among enslaved Africans and free blacks, who became majority populations soon after the Spanish conquest. The resulting history of 17th-century Mexico brings forth tantalizing personal and family dramas, body politics, and stories of lost virtue and sullen honor. By focusing on these phenomena among peoples of African descent, rather than the conventional history of Mexico with the narrative of slavery to freedom figured in, Colonial Blackness presents the colonial drama in all its untidy detail.

The Colonial Spanish-American City Cover

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The Colonial Spanish-American City

Urban Life in the Age of Atlantic Capitalism

By Jay Kinsbruner

The colonial Spanish-American city, like its counterpart across the Atlantic, was an outgrowth of commercial enterprise. A center of entrepreneurial activity and wealth, it drew people seeking a better life, with more educational, occupational, commercial, bureaucratic, and marital possibilities than were available in the rural regions of the Spanish colonies. Indeed, the Spanish-American city represented hope and opportunity, although not for everyone. In this authoritative work, Jay Kinsbruner draws on many sources to offer the first history and interpretation in English of the colonial Spanish-American city. After an overview of pre-Columbian cities, he devotes chapters to many important aspects of the colonial city, including its governance and administrative structure, physical form, economy, and social and family life. Kinsbruner’s overarching thesis is that the Spanish-American city evolved as a circumstance of trans-Atlantic capitalism. Underpinning this thesis is his view that there were no plebeians in the colonial city. He calls for a class interpretation, with an emphasis on the lower-middle class. His study also explores the active roles of women, many of them heads of households, in the colonial Spanish-American city.

Coloniality, Religion, and the Law in the Early Iberian World Cover

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Coloniality, Religion, and the Law in the Early Iberian World

Santa Arias

From postcolonial, interdisciplinary, and transnational perspectives, this collection of original essays looks at the experience of Spain's empire in the Atlantic and the Pacific and its cultural production.


Hispanic Issues Series

Nicholas Spadaccini, Editor-in-Chief



Hispanic Issues Online

hispanicissues.umn.edu/online_main.html

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America Cover

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Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America

Kwame Dixon

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America offers a new, dynamic discussion of the experience of blackness and cultural difference, black political mobilization, and state responses to Afro-Latin activism throughout Latin America. Its thematic organization and holistic approach set it apart as the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of these populations and the issues they face currently available.

Conceiving Freedom Cover

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Conceiving Freedom

Women of Color, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro

Camillia Cowling

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