- Forum:Placing Latin America in World History
When we "introduced" ourselves as the new editors of the HAHR in the February 2003 issue, we announced our intention to run occasional forums on thought-provoking themes. The first of these, "Placing Latin America in World History," appears in this issue of the journal. It seems an appropriate moment to consider the uneasy place of Latin American history in world history curriculums and textbooks, given the recent proliferation of world history courses in North American universities. In organizing this forum, we are acting on two assumptions. One is that Latin America, for a variety of reasons, has generally gotten short shrift in the world history syllabus and textbook. The other is that a more thorough incorporation of Latin American history into world history would challenge the conventional contours of the world history course.
We also wanted to have these issues addressed from a variety of perspectives and deliberately invited essays from colleagues with diverse engagements with the field of world history. Reflecting the largely pedagogical character of world history, we asked Jeremy Adelman to comment on his experience of coauthoring a world history text intended for classroom use and specifically designed to shift the field away from what Erick Langer aptly calls the "Rise of the West plus." Similarly, we invited Susan Besse—who has been regularly teaching world history courses at the City College of New York for a number of years—to comment on strategies for incorporating Latin America in the course material. Her research on gender also informed her reflections on the ways we might decenter the world history curriculum. Lauren Benton, who has the somewhat unusual distinction of engaging in world history as her principal field of research, provides us with a perspective that, in a sense, turns the question inside out—that is, how world history scholars envision Latin America's place in their field. And Micol Seigel, whose research on the circulation of Brazilian images in the United States reflects the theoretical and pedagogical concerns of a new generation of self-consciously transnational historians, explores the difficulties of escaping Eurocentric narratives within a world history framework. Finally, Erick Langer introduces the forum with some cogent thoughts on the state of Latin American history within the world history curriculum [End Page 391] and the differential investment of U.S.-based and Latin America -based historians in these questions.
We are also very pleased to publish in this same issue Alejandra Osorio's article on "The King in Lima: Simulacra, Ritual, and Rule in Seventeenth-Century Peru" and Sandra Gayol's article on "'Honor Moderno': The Significance of Honor in Fin-de-Siècle Argentina," followed by the usual complement of book reviews.