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History > Latin American and Caribbean History

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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.

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.

Caribbean Middlebrow Cover

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Caribbean Middlebrow

Leisure Culture and the Middle Class

It is commonly assumed that Caribbean culture is split into elite highbrow culture-which is considered derivative of Europe and not rooted in the Caribbean-and authentic working-class culture, which is often identified with such iconic island activities as salsa, carnival, calypso, and reggae. In Caribbean Middlebrow, Belinda Edmondson recovers a middle ground, a genuine popular culture in the English-speaking Caribbean that stretches back into the nineteenth century.

Edmondson shows that popular novels, beauty pageants, and music festivals are examples of Caribbean culture that are mostly created, maintained, and consumed by the Anglophone middle class. Much of middle-class culture, she finds, is further gendered as "female": women are more apt to be considered recreational readers of fiction, for example, and women's behavior outside the home is often taken as a measure of their community's respectability.

Edmondson also highlights the influence of American popular culture, especially African American popular culture, as early as the nineteenth century. This is counter to the notion that the islands were exclusively under the sway of British tastes and trends. She finds the origins of today's "dub" or spoken-word Jamaican poetry in earlier traditions of genteel dialect poetry-as exemplified by the work of the Jamaican folklorist, actress, and poet Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett Coverley-and considers the impact of early Caribbean novels, including Emmanuel Appadocca (1853) and Jane's Career (1913).

Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship Cover

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Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship

Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States features a diverse group of scholars from across academic disciplines studying the transnational paths of Caribbean migration. How has the colonial path of the Caribbean influenced migration with regard to power relations, ethnic identities and transnational processes?

Through a series of case studies, the contributors to this volume examine the experiences of Caribbean immigrants to Spain, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as well as the United States. They show the demographic, socioeconomic, political and cultural impact migrants have, as well as their role in the development of transnational social fields. Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States also examines how contrasting discourses of democracy and racism, xenophobia and globalization shape issues pertaining to citizenship and identity.

Contributors: Elizabeth Aranda, Mary Chamberlain, Michel Giraud, Lisa Maya Knauer, John R. Logan, Monique Milia-Marie-Luce, Laura Oso Casas, Livio Sansone, Nina Glick Schiller,Charles (Wenquan) Zhang and the editors.

Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement Cover

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Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement

Gelien Matthews

In this illuminating study, Gelien Matthews demonstrates how slave rebellions in the British West Indies influenced the tactics of abolitionists in England and how the rhetoric and actions of the abolitionists emboldened slaves. Moving between the world of the British Parliament and the realm of Caribbean plantations, Matthews reveals a transatlantic dialectic of antislavery agitation and slave insurrection that eventually influenced the dismantling of slavery in British-held territories. Focusing on slave revolts that took place in Barbados in 1816, in Demerara in 1823, and in Jamaica in 1831–32, Matthews identifies four key aspects in British abolitionist propaganda regarding Caribbean slavery: the denial that antislavery activism prompted slave revolts, the attempt to understand and recount slave uprisings from the slaves' perspectives, the portrayal of slave rebels as victims of armed suppressors and as agents of the antislavery movement, and the presentation of revolts as a rationale against the continuance of slavery. She makes shrewd use of previously overlooked publications of British abolitionists to prove that their language changed over time in response to slave uprisings. Historians previously have examined the economic, religious, and political bases for slavery's abolishment in the Caribbean, but Matthews here emphasizes the agency of slaves in the march toward freedom. Her compelling work is a valuable analytical tool in the interpretation of abolition in North America, uncovering the important connections between rebellious slaves on one side of the Atlantic and abolitionists on the other side.

Caribbean Spaces Cover

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Caribbean Spaces

Escapes from Twilight Zones

Carole Boyce Davies

Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective.

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Carrying the Word

The Concheros Dance in Mexico City

By Susanna Rostas

In Carrying the Word: The Concheros Dance in Mexico City, the first full length study of the Concheros dancers, Susanna Rostas explores the experience of this unique group, whose use of dance links rural religious practices with urban post-modern innovation in distinctive ways even within Mexican culture, which is rife with ritual dances. The Concheros blend Catholic and indigenous traditions in their performances, but are not governed by a predetermined set of beliefs; rather they are bound together by long standing interpersonal connections framed by the discipline of their tradition. The Concheros manifest their spirituality by means of the dance. Rostas traces how they construct their identity and beliefs, both individual and communal, by its means. The book offers new insights into the experience of dancing as a Conchero while also exploring their history, organization and practices. Carrying the Word provides a new way for audiences to understand the Conchero's dance tradition, and will be of interest to students and scholars of contemporary Mesoamerica. Those studying identity, religion, and tradition will find this social-anthropological work particularly enlightening.

The Case of the Ugly Suitor and Other Histories of Love, Gender, and Nation in Bueno Cover

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The Case of the Ugly Suitor and Other Histories of Love, Gender, and Nation in Bueno

Jeffrey M. Shumway

In 1840 Gumerscindo Arroyo hoped to marry Francisca Canicoba, but her father forbade it. Consequently, Francisca took her father to court for permission to marry, where he objected on the grounds that Arroyo was simply too ugly.
 
In the courtrooms of nineteenth-century Buenos Aires, children battled parents in order to fulfill their romantic desires and marry the mate of their choice. Parents and guardians also struggled for custody of young children, which some did out of love while others were greedy for child labor. In courtrooms and elsewhere, women challenged their traditional status as social and intellectual inferiors. Though all these struggles existed in earlier times, the nineteenth century injected a new dynamic into such conflicts: Argentina’s revolution against Spain and the subsequent attempts by political and intellectual leaders to craft a new nation out of the vestiges of Spanish colonialism.
 
The family, many leaders recognized, was the vital building block of the nation. Hence, matters of the heart and hearth intertwined with matters of the state. Examining family conflicts and the political and legal backdrop of those cases reveals strong continuities in attitudes about gender and family. At the same time, ideological influences of the revolutionary movement combined with the practical needs of nation building to create new freedoms and new identities for women and children over the course of the nineteenth century. The Case of the Ugly Suitor brings these family and national struggles to life, many times in the words of the participants themselves.

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