Review: Borders vs. Bridges: Nationalism and Transnationalism in the Americas

Centred on the contentious—and arguably diametrically opposed—concepts of borders and bridges, this two-day conference brought together forty-eight postgraduate and early career researchers from Europe, Asia and the Americas. National identity and transnational relations remained the presiding theme of the event, yet the broad scope of panels attracted scholars from a diverse range of disciplines; interweaving historical, ethnographic, literary and sociological approaches into a holistic Pan-American perspective. Continue reading

Book review: A Short History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean by Alan McPherson

In A Short History of U.S. Interventions, part of Wiley-Blackwell’s Viewpoints/Punto de Vista series, Alan McPherson analyses U.S. interventions in Latin America from the No Transfer resolution of 1811 through the present-day drug wars. McPherson argues that the foremost goal of U.S. policymakers was ‘political stability and political cultural change’ (4). Economic and other motivations certainly played a role, but he asserts that every intervention ‘harboured above all political motives’ (4). Continue reading

Book Review: U.S. Military Bases, Quasi-Bases and Domestic Politics in Latin America by Sebastian E. Bitar

Since 1999 all attempts by the US government to open formal military bases in Latin America have failed. This leads one to assume the US has lost much of its military influence in the region. However, the existence of so-called quasi-bases, or informal bases, discussed in Sebastian Bitar’s book, demonstrates that the US has managed to maintain its military influence. Quasi-bases differ from formal bases in no other way than that they lack a formal lease agreement for use of facilities. Essentially, quasi-bases serve the same purposes as formal bases, but exist in a cloud of secrecy. Continue reading

Book Review: Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea edited by Juan Pablo Scarfi and Andrew R. Tillman

The Western Hemisphere idea has never taken a hold upon scholars of United States-Latin American relations as much as it perhaps ought to have. Formulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1813 and given notable scholarly treatment by historian Arthur Whitaker in the 1950s, the Western Hemisphere idea posits that the peoples of the Western Hemisphere ‘stand in a special relationship to one another’, which in turn ‘sets them apart from the rest of the world.’ Continue reading

Review: American Historical Association Annual Meeting

The AHA Presidential Address by Vicki L. Ruiz (University of California, Irvine) entitled, ‘Class Acts: Latina Feminist Traditions, 1900-1930’, challenged the dominant historiographical genealogy of Latina feminism, which typically focuses on seventeenth-century Mexican women poets and then jumps to the 1970s Chicana movement. Instead, Ruiz explored the work of two key early-twentieth-century Latina labour activists: Puerto Rican Luisa Capetillo and Guatemalan Luisa Moreno (born Rosa López Rodríguez). Continue reading