Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas and the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. Located in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, near the city of Mendoza, Aconcagua has been luring European mountain climbers since 1883, when a German ge-ologist nearly reached the mountain’s summit. (A Swiss climber finally made the ascent in 1897.) In this fascinating book, Joy Logan explores the many impacts of mountaineering’s “discovery” of Aconcagua including its effect on how local indigenous history is understood. The consequences still resonate today, as the region has become a magnet for “adventure travelers,” with about 7,000 climbers and trekkers from all over the world visiting each year.
Having done fieldwork on Aconcagua for six years, Logan offers keen insights into how the invention of mountaineering in the nineteenth century—and adventure tourism a century later—have both shaped and been shaped by local and global cultural narratives. She examines the roles and functions of mountain guides, especially in regard to notions of gender and nation; re-reads the mountaineering stories forged by explorers, scientists, tourism officials, and the gear industry; and considers the distinctions between foreign and Argentine climbers (some of whom are celebrities in their own right).
In Logan’s revealing analysis, Aconcagua is emblematic of the tensions produced by modernity, nation-building, tourism development, and re-ethnification. The evolution of mountain climbing on Aconcagua registers seismic shifts in attitudes toward adventure, the national, and the global. With an eye for detail and a flair for description, Logan invites her readers onto the mountain and into the lives it supports.
Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas discovers the prehistory of wireless culture. It examines both the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, and the various populist political climates in which the emerging medium of radio became the chosen means to produce the voice of the people.
Based on original archival research in Buenos Aires, Havana, Paris, and the United States, the book develops a literary media theory that understands sound as a transmedial phenomenon and radio as a transnational medium. Analyzing the construction of new social and political relations in the wake of the United States’ 1930s Good Neighbor Policy, Acoustic Properties challenges standard narratives of hemispheric influence through new readings of Richard Wright’s cinematic work in Argentina, Severo Sarduy’s radio plays in France, and novels by John Dos Passos, Manuel Puig, Raymond Chandler, and Carson McCullers. Alongside these writers, the book also explores Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s Radio Rebelde, FDR’s fireside chats, Félix Caignet’s invention of the radionovela in Cuba, Evita Perón’s populist melodramas in Argentina, Orson Welles’s experimental New Deal radio, Cuban and U.S. “radio wars,” and the 1960s African American activist Robert F. Williams’s proto–black power Radio Free Dixie.
From the doldrums of the Great Depression to the tumult of the Cuban Revolution, Acoustic Properties illuminates how novelists in the radio age converted writing into a practice of listening, transforming realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
Acts of Repair explores how ordinary people grapple with decades of political violence and genocide in Argentina—a history that includes the Holocaust, the political repression of the 1976–1983 dictatorship, and the 1994 AMIA bombing. Although the struggle against impunity seems inevitably incomplete, Argentines have created possibilities for repair through cultural memory, yielding spaces for transformation and agency critical to personal and political recovery.
For decades, tuberculosis in Buenos Aires was more than a dangerous bacillus. It was also an anxious state of mind shaped not only by fears of contagion and death but also by broader social and cultural concerns. These worries included changing work routines, rapid urban growth and its consequences for housing and living conditions, efforts to build a healthy “national race,” and shifting notions of normality and pathology. In The Ailing City, the historian Diego Armus explores the metaphors, state policies, and experiences associated with tuberculosis in Buenos Aires between 1870 and 1950. During those years, the disease was conspicuous and frightening, and biomedicine was unable to offer an effective cure. Against the background of the global history of tuberculosis, Armus focuses on the making and consolidation of medicalized urban life in the Argentine capital. He discusses the state’s intrusion into private lives and the ways that those suffering from the disease accommodated and resisted official attempts to care for them and to reform and control their morality, sociability, sexuality, and daily habits. The Ailing City is based on an impressive array of sources, including literature, journalism, labor press, medical journals, tango lyrics, films, advertising, imagery, statistics, official reports, and oral history. It offers a unique perspective on the emergence of modernity in a cosmopolitan city on the periphery of world capitalism.
In 1946 Juan Perón launched a populist challenge to the United States, recruiting an army of labor activists to serve as worker attachés at every Argentine embassy. By 1955, over five hundred would serve, representing the largest presence of blue-collar workers in the foreign service of any country in history. A meatpacking union leader taught striking workers in Chicago about rising salaries under Perón. A railroad motorist joined the revolution in Bolivia. A baker showed Soviet workers the daily caloric intake of their Argentine counterparts. As Ambassadors of the Working Class shows, the attachés' struggle against US diplomats in Latin America turned the region into a Cold War battlefield for the hearts of the working classes. In this context, Ernesto Semán reveals, for example, how the attachés' brand of transnational populism offered Fidel Castro and Che Guevara their last chance at mass politics before their embrace of revolutionary violence. Fiercely opposed by Washington, the attachés’ project foundered, but not before US policymakers used their opposition to Peronism to rehearse arguments against the New Deal's legacies.
From 1868 through 1939, anarchists' migrations from Spain to Argentina and back again created a transnational ideology and influenced the movement's growth in each country.
James A. Baer follows the lives, careers, and travels of Diego Abad de Santillán, Manuel Villar, and other migrating anarchists to highlight the ideological and interpersonal relationships that defined a vital era in anarchist history. Drawing on extensive interviews with Abad de Santillán, José Grunfeld, and Jacobo Maguid, along withunusual access to anarchist records and networks, Baer uncovers the ways anarchist migrants in pursuit of jobs and political goals formed a critical nucleus of militants, binding the two countries in an ideological relationship that profoundly affected the history of both. He also considers the impact of reverse migration and discusses political decisions that had a hitherto unknown influence on the course of the Spanish Civil War.
Personal in perspective and transnational in scope, Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina offers an enlightening history of a movement and an era.
In Another Aesthetics Is Possible Jennifer Ponce de León examines the roles that art can play in the collective labor of creating and defending another social reality. Focusing on artists and art collectives in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, Ponce de León shows how experimental practices in the visual, literary, and performing arts have been influenced by and articulated with leftist movements and popular uprisings that have repudiated neoliberal capitalism and its violence. Whether enacting solidarity with Zapatista communities through an alternate reality game or using surrealist street theater to amplify the more radical strands of Argentina's human rights movement, these artists fuse their praxis with forms of political mobilization from direct-action tactics to economic resistance. Advancing an innovative transnational and transdisciplinary framework of analysis, Ponce de León proposes a materialist understanding of art and politics that brings to the fore the power of aesthetics to both compose and make visible a world beyond capitalism.
Anti-Literature articulates a rethinking of what is meant today by “literature.” Examining key Latin American forms of experimental writing from the 1920s to the present, Adam Joseph Shellhorse reveals literature’s power as a site for radical reflection and reaction to contemporary political and cultural conditions. His analysis engages the work of writers such as Clarice Lispector, Oswald de Andrade, the Brazilian concrete poets, Osman Lins, and David Viñas, to develop a theory of anti-literature that posits the feminine, multimedial, and subaltern as central to the undoing of what is meant by “literature.”
By placing Brazilian and Argentine anti-literature at the crux of a new way of thinking about the field, Shellhorse challenges prevailing discussions about the historical projection and critical force of Latin American literature. Examining a diverse array of texts and media that include the visual arts, concrete poetry, film scripts, pop culture, neo-baroque narrative, and others that defy genre, Shellhorse delineates the subversive potential of anti-literary modes of writing while also engaging current debates in Latin American studies on subalternity, feminine writing, posthegemony, concretism, affect, marranismo, and the politics of aesthetics.
Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in the Hispanic world, the second largest in the Western hemisphere. During successive political and social regimes, Argentina alternately barred Jews from entering the country and recruited them to immigrate, persecuted Jews as heretics or worse and welcomed them as productive settlers, restricted Jews by law and invested them with the fullest rights of citizenship. This volume traces the shifting patterns of Jewish immigration and Argentine immigration policy, both as manifestations of cultural and historical processes and as forces shaping the emergence of a large and energetic Jewish community.
Within Argentina, many Jews followed traditional immigration strategies by consolidating communities and institutions in Buenos Aires and other cities. But many others settled on the land, in agricultural colonies sponsored by Baron Maurice de Hirsch’s Jewish Colonization Association, a group with far-reaching impact that is examined closely in this book. The Israeli kibbutz movement drew strength from the Argentine farming colonies, when beginning in 1949 groups of Argentine Jews immigrated to Israel to found kibbutzes. Eventually, in the face of political and economic upheavals with anti-Semitic undercurrents, almost 40,000 Jews left Argentina for Israel. A country of absorption became a country of exodus, and Zionism became a central focus of Argentine Jewry, interlocking families and fates separated by oceans and continents.
Excessively European, refreshingly European, not as European as it looks, struggling to overcome a delusion that it is European. Argentina—in all its complexity—has often been obscured by variations of the "like Europe and not like the rest of Latin America" cliché. The Argentina Reader deliberately breaks from that viewpoint. This essential introduction to Argentina’s history, culture, and society provides a richer, more comprehensive look at one of the most paradoxical of Latin American nations: a nation that used to be among the richest in the world, with the largest middle class in Latin America, yet one that entered the twenty-first century with its economy in shambles and its citizenry seething with frustration.
This diverse collection brings together songs, articles, comic strips, scholarly essays, poems, and short stories. Most pieces are by Argentines. More than forty of the texts have never before appeared in English. The Argentina Reader contains photographs from Argentina’s National Archives and images of artwork by some of the country’s most talented painters and sculptors. Many selections deal with the history of indigenous Argentines, workers, women, blacks, and other groups often ignored in descriptions of the country. At the same time, the book includes excerpts by or about such major political figures as José de San Martín and Juan Perón. Pieces from literary and social figures virtually unknown in the United States appear alongside those by more well-known writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Ricardo Piglia, and Julio Cortázar.
The ArgentinaReader covers the Spanish colonial regime; the years of nation building following Argentina’s independence from Spain in 1810; and the sweeping progress of economic growth and cultural change that made Argentina, by the turn of the twentieth century, the most modern country in Latin America. The bulk of the collection focuses on the twentieth century: on the popular movements that enabled Peronism and the revolutionary dreams of the 1960s and 1970s; on the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 and the accompanying culture of terror and resistance; and, finally, on the contradictory and disconcerting tendencies unleashed by the principles of neoliberalism and the new global economy. The book also includes a list of suggestions for further reading.
The ArgentinaReader is an invaluable resource for those interested in learning about Argentine history and culture, whether in the classroom or in preparation for travel in Argentina.
By the end of the twentieth century, Argentina’s complex identity-tango and chimichurri, Eva Perón and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the Falklands and the Dirty War, Jorge Luis Borges and Maradona, economic chaos and a memory of vast wealth-has become entrenched in the consciousness of the Western world.
In this wide-ranging and at times poetic new work, Amy K. Kaminsky explores Argentina’s unique national identity and the place it holds in the minds of those who live beyond its physical borders. To analyze the country’s meaning in the global imagination, Kaminsky probes Argentina’s presence in a broad range of literary texts from the United States, Poland, England, Western Europe, and Argentina itself, as well as internationally produced films, advertisements, and newspaper features.
Kaminsky’s examination reveals how Europe consumes an image of Argentina that acts as a pivot between the exotic and the familiar. Going beyond the idea of suffocating Eurocentrism as a theory of national identity, Kaminsky presents an original and vivid reading of national myths and realities that encapsulates the interplay among the many meanings of “Argentina” and its place in the world’s imagination.
Amy Kaminsky is professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies and global studies at the University of Minnesota and author of After Exile (Minnesota, 1999).
Ariel Armony focuses, in this study, on the role played by Argentina in the anti–Communist crusade in Central America. This systematic examination of Argentina’s involvement in the Central American drama of the late 1970s and early 1980s fine–tunes our knowledge of a major episode of the Cold War era.
Basing his study on exhaustive research in the United States, Argentina, and Nicaragua, Armony adroitly demolishes several key assumptions that have shaped the work of scholars in U.S. foreign policy, Argentine military politics, and Central American affairs.
Oscar Chamosa brings forth the compelling story of an important but often overlooked component of the formation of popular nationalism in Latin America: the development of the Argentine folklore movement in the first part of the twentieth century. This movement involved academicians studying the culture of small farmers and herders of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent in the distant valleys of the Argentine northwest, as well as artists and musicians who took on the role of reinterpreting these local cultures for urban audiences of mostly European descent.
Oscar Chamosa combines intellectual history with ethnographic and sociocultural analysis to reconstruct the process by which mestizo culture—in Argentina called criollo culture—came to occupy the center of national folklore in a country that portrayed itself as the only white nation in South America. The author finds that the conservative plantation owners—the “sugar elites”—who exploited the criollo peasants sponsored the folklore movement that romanticized them as the archetypes of nationhood. Ironically, many of the composers and folk singers who participated in the landowner-sponsored movement adhered to revolutionary and reformist ideologies and denounced the exploitation to which those criollo peasants were subjected. Chamosa argues that, rather than debilitating the movement, these opposing and contradictory ideologies permitted its triumph and explain, in part, the enduring romanticizing of rural life and criollo culture, essential components of Argentine nationalism.
The book not only reveals the political motivations of culture in Argentina and Latin America but also has implications for understanding the articulation of local culture with national politics and entertainment markets that characterizes contemporary cultural processes worldwide today.
In The Argentine Silent Majority, Sebastián Carassai focuses on middle-class culture and politics in Argentina from the end of the 1960s. By considering the memories and ideologies of middle-class Argentines who did not get involved in political struggles, he expands thinking about the era to the larger society that activists and direct victims of state terror were part of and claimed to represent. Carassai conducted interviews with 200 people, mostly middle-class non-activists, but also journalists, politicians, scholars, and artists who were politically active during the 1970s. To account for local differences, he interviewed people from three sites: Buenos Aires; Tucumán, a provincial capital rocked by political turbulence; and Correa, a small town which did not experience great upheaval. He showed the middle-class non-activists a documentary featuring images and audio of popular culture and events from the 1970s. In the end Carassai concludes that, during the years of la violencia, members of the middle-class silent majority at times found themselves in agreement with radical sectors as they too opposed military authoritarianism but they never embraced a revolutionary program such as that put forward by the guerrilla groups or the most militant sectors of the labor movement.
Argentine Workers provides an insightful analysis of the complex combination of values and attitudes exhibited by workers in a heavily unionized, industrially developing country, while also ascertaining their political beliefs. By analyzing empirical data, Ranis describes what workers think about their unions, employers, private and foreign enterprise, the economy, the state, privatization, landowners, politics, the military, the “dirty war” and the “disappeared,” the Montonero guerillas, the church, popular culture and leisure pursuits, and their personal lives and ambitions.
Ricardo Piglia Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PQ7798.26.I4R4713 1994 | Dewey Decimal 863
Acclaimed as one of the most important Latin American novels in recent decades, Artificial Respiration is a stunning introduction for English readers to the fiction of Ricardo Piglia. Published in Argentina in 1981, it was written at a time when thousands of Argentine citizens "disappeared" during the government’s attempt to create an authoritarian state. In part a reflection on one of the most repressive and tragic times in Argentine history, this is one of those rare works of fiction in which multiple philosophical, political, and narrative dimensions are all powerfully and equally matched. As a prize winning detective novel, Artificial Respiration reaches through many levels of mystery to explore the forces that have been at play in Argentina throughout its violent history. The narrator, a writer named Renzi, begins to look for an uncle who has vanished, a man he knows only through a web of contradictory family stories and an exchange of letters. Through these letters he learns about his uncle’s research into the life of Enrique Ossario, secretary to the 19th-century Argentine dictator Rosas and spy for the dictator’s enemy. As Renzi’s search leads further into his uncle’s work and to conversations with his literary and chess-playing friends, the reader is led by Piglia to consider the nature of Argentine identity, its literature and history, and its relation, for example, to Europe, exile, and democracy. Finally, and made most vividly appreciable by the retelling of a story in which Kafka meets Hitler, it is the encounter between literature and history that is explored.
The 1960s were heady years in Argentina. Visual artists, curators, and critics sought to fuse art and politics; to broaden the definition of art to encompass happenings and assemblages; and, above all, to achieve international recognition for new, cutting-edge Argentine art. A bestseller in Argentina, Avant-Garde, Internationalism, and Politics is an examination of the 1960s as a brief historical moment when artists, institutions, and critics joined to promote an international identity for Argentina’s visual arts.
The renowned Argentine art historian and critic Andrea Giunta analyzes projects specifically designed to internationalize Argentina’s art and avant-garde during the 1960s: the importation of exhibitions of contemporary international art, the sending of Argentine artists abroad to study, the organization of prize competitions involving prestigious international art critics, and the export of exhibitions of Argentine art to Europe and the United States. She looks at the conditions that made these projects possible—not least the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. program of “exchange” and “cooperation” meant to prevent the spread of communism through Latin America in the wake of the Cuban Revolution—as well as the strategies formulated to promote them. She describes the influence of Romero Brest, prominent art critic, supporter of abstract art, and director of the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Tocuato Di Tella (an experimental art center in Buenos Aires); various group programs such as Nueva Figuración and Arte Destructivo; and individual artists including Antonio Berni, Alberto Greco, León Ferrari, Marta Minujin, and Luis Felipe Noé. Giunta’s rich narrative illuminates the contentious postwar relationships between art and politics, Latin America and the United States, and local identity and global recognition.
Before Bemberg: Argentine Women Filmmakers calls into question the historiography of Argentine women filmmakers that has centered on María Luisa Bemberg to the exclusion of her predecessors. Its introductory discussion of the abundant initial participation by women in film production in the 1910s is followed by an account of their exclusion from creative roles in the studio cinema, which was only altered by the opportunities opened by a boom in short filmmaking in the 1960s. The book then discusses in depth the six sound features directed by women before 1980, which, despite their trailblazing explorations of the perspectives of female characters, daring denunciations of authoritarianism and censorship, and modernizing formal invention, have been forgotten by Argentine film history. Looking at the work and roles of Eva Landeck, Vlasta Lah, María Herminia Avellaneda and María Elena Walsh and Maria Bemberg, the book recognizes these filmmakers’ contributions at a significant moment in which movements to eliminate gender-based oppression and violence in Argentina and elsewhere are surging.
Big Water explores four centuries of the overlapping histories of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (the Triple Frontier), and the colonies that preceded them. Examining an important area that includes some of the first national parks established in Latin America and one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, this transnational approach illustrates how these three nation-states have interacted over time.
From the Jesuit reductions in the seventeenth century to the flows of capital and goods accelerated by contemporary trade agreements, the Triple Frontier region has proven fundamental to the development of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, as well as to the Southern Cone and South America itself. Although historians from each of these three countries have tended to construct narratives that stop at their respective borders, the contributors call for a reinterpretation that goes beyond the material and conceptual boundaries of the Triple Frontier. In offering a transnational approach, Big Water helps transcend nation-centered blind spots and approach new understandings of how space and society have developed throughout Latin America.
These essays complicate traditional frontier histories and balance the excessive weight previously given to empires, nations, and territorial expansion. Overcoming stagnant comparisons between national cases, the research explores regional identity beyond border and geopolitical divides. Thus, Big Water focuses on the uniquely overlapping character of the Triple Frontier and emphasizes a perspective usually left at the periphery of national histories.
Shawn Michael Austin
Bridget María Chesterton
Michael Kenneth Huner
Evaldo Mendes da Silva
Eunice Sueli Nodari
Born and raised in Argentina and still maintaining significant ties to the area, Barbara Sutton examines the complex, and often hidden, bodily worlds of diverse women in that country during a period of profound social upheaval. Based primarily on women's experiential narratives and set against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis and intensified social movement activism post-2001, Bodies in Crisis illuminates how multiple forms of injustice converge in and are contested through women's bodies. Sutton reveals the bodily scars of neoliberal globalization; women's negotiation of cultural norms of femininity and beauty; experiences with clandestine, illegal, and unsafe abortions; exposure to and resistance against interpersonal and structural violence; and the role of bodies as tools and vehicles of political action.
Through the lens of women's body consciousness in a Global South country, and drawing on multifaceted stories and a politically embedded approach, Bodies in Crisis suggests that social policy, economic systems, cultural ideologies, and political resistance are ultimately fleshly matters.
In this work Susan Socolow examines bureaucrats in early modern society by concentrating on those of Buenos Aires under the Bourbon reforms in the late colonial bureaucracy, Socolow studies the individuals who held positions in the colonial civil service—their recruitment, aspirations, job tenure, professional advancement, and economic position.
The late eighteenth century was a critical time for the southernmost regions of Latin America, for in this period they became a separate political entity, the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. Socolow's work, part of a continuing study of the political, economic, and social elites of the emerging city of Buenos Aires, here considers the bureaucracy put into place by the Bourbon reforms. The author examines the professional and personal circumstances of all bureaucrats, from the high-ranking heads of agencies to the more lowly clerks, contrasting their expectations and their actual experiences. She pays particular attention to their recruitment, promotion, salary, and retirement, as well as their marriage and kinship relationships in the local society.
Voting behavior is informed by the experience of advanced democracies, yet the electoral context in developing democracies is significantly different. Civil society is often weak, poverty and inequality high, political parties ephemeral and attachments to them weak, corruption rampant, and clientelism widespread. Voting decisions in developing democracies follow similar logics to those in advanced democracies in that voters base their choices on group affiliation, issue positions, valence considerations, and campaign persuasion. Yet developing democracies differ in the weight citizens assign to these considerations. Where few social identity groups are politically salient and partisan attachments are sparse, voters may place more weight on issue voting. Where issues are largely absent from political discourse, valence considerations and campaign effects play a larger role. Campaigns and Voters in Developing Democracies develops a theoretical framework to specify why voter behavior differs across contexts.
In Children of Facundo Ariel de la Fuente examines postindependence Argentinian instability and political struggle from the perspective of the rural lower classes. As the first comprehensive regional study to explore nineteenth-century society, culture, and politics in the Argentine interior—where more than 50 percent of the population lived at the time—the book departs from the predominant Buenos Aires-centered historiography to analyze this crucial period in the processes of state- and nation-building. La Rioja, a province in the northwest section of the country, was the land of the caudillos immortalized by Domingo F. Sarmiento, particularly in his foundational and controversial book Facundo. De la Fuente focuses on the repeated rebellions in this district during the 1860s, when Federalist caudillos and their followers, the gauchos, rose up against the new Unitarian government. In this social and cultural analysis, de la Fuente argues that the conflict was not a factional struggle between two ideologically identical sectors of the elite, as commonly depicted. Instead, he believes, the struggle should be seen from the perspective of the lower-class gauchos, for whom Unitarianism and Federalism were highly differentiated party identities that represented different experiences during the nineteenth century. To reconstruct this rural political culture de la Fuente relies on sources that heretofore have been little used in the study of nineteenth-century Latin American politics, most notably a rich folklore collection of popular political songs, folktales, testimonies, and superstitions passed down by old gauchos who had been witnesses or protagonists of the rebellions. Criminal trial records, private diaries, and land censuses add to the originality of de la Fuente’s study, while also providing a new perspective on Sarmiento’s works, including the classic Facundo. This book will interest those specializing in Latin American history, literature, politics, and rural issues.
In Circle of Love Over Death, Matilde Mellibovsky documents the testimonies of mothers whose children were stripped from them in Argentina during the turbulent 1970s. She not only describes the personal anguish of families over the torture, death or "disappearance" of their children, but also shows how the women gave emotional support to each other and the way in which, since 1976, they slowly but surely organized and built an international movement.
In Concrete Dreams Nicholas D’Avella examines the changing social and economic lives of buildings in the context of a construction boom following Argentina's political and economic crisis of 2001. D’Avella tells the stories of small-scale investors who turned to real estate as an alternative to a financial system they no longer trusted, of architects who struggled to maintain artistic values and political commitments in the face of the ongoing commodification of their work, and of residents-turned-activists who worked to protect their neighborhoods and city from being overtaken by new development. Such forms of everyday engagement with buildings, he argues, produce divergent forms of value that persist in tension with hegemonic forms of value. In the dreams attached to built environments and the material forms in which those dreams are articulated—from charts and graphs to architectural drawings, urban planning codes, and tango lyrics—D’Avella finds a blueprint for building livable futures in which people can survive alongside and even push back against the hegemony of capitalism.
Contentious Lives examines the ways popular protests are experienced and remembered, individually and collectively, by those who participate in them. Javier Auyero focuses on the roles of two young women, Nana and Laura, in uprisings in Argentina (the two-day protest in the northwestern city of Santiago del Estero in 1993 and the six-day road blockade in the southern oil towns of Cutral-co and Plaza Huincul in 1996) and the roles of the protests in their lives. Laura was the spokesperson of the picketers in Cutral-co and Plaza Huincul; Nana was an activist in the 1993 protests. In addition to exploring the effects of these episodes on their lives, Auyero considers how each woman's experiences shaped what she said and did during the uprisings, and later, the ways she recalled the events. While the protests were responses to the consequences of political corruption and structural adjustment policies, they were also, as Nana’s and Laura’s stories reveal, quests for recognition, respect, and dignity.
Auyero reconstructs Nana’s and Laura’s biographies through oral histories and diaries. Drawing on interviews with many other protesters, newspaper articles, judicial records, government reports, and video footage, he provides sociological and historical context for their stories. The women’s accounts reveal the frustrations of lives overwhelmed by gender domination, the deprivations brought about by hyper-unemployment and the withering of the welfare component of the state, and the achievements and costs of collective action. Balancing attention to large-scale political and economic processes with acknowledgment of the plurality of meanings emanating from personal experiences, Contentious Lives is an insightful, penetrating, and timely contribution to discussions of popular resistance and the combined effects of globalization, neoliberal economic policies, and political corruption in Argentina and elsewhere.
Following Argentina’s revolution in 1810, the dress of young patriots inspired a nation and distanced its politics from the relics of Spanish colonialism. Fashion writing often escaped the notice of authorities, allowing authors to masquerade political ideas under the guise of frivolity and entertainment. In Couture and Consensus, Regina A. Root maps this pivotal and overlooked facet of Argentine cultural history, showing how politics emerged from dress to disrupt authoritarian practices and stimulate creativity in a newly independent nation.
Drawing from genres as diverse as fiction, poetry, songs, and fashion magazines, Root offers a sartorial history that produces an original understanding of how Argentina forged its identity during the regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829–1852), a critical historical time. Couture and Consensus closely analyzes military uniforms, women’s dress, and the novels of the era to reveal fashion’s role in advancing an agenda and disseminating political goals, notions Root connects to the contemporary moment.
An insightful presentation of the discourse of fashion, Couture and Consensus also paints a riveting portrait of Argentine society in the nineteenth century—its politics, people, and creative forces.
There has been a significant surge in recent Argentine cinema, with an explosion in the number of films made in the country since the mid-1990s. Many of these productions have been highly acclaimed by critics in Argentina and elsewhere. What makes this boom all the more extraordinary is its coinciding with a period of severe economic crisis and civil unrest in the nation. Offering the first in-depth English-language study of Argentine fiction films of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first, Joanna Page explains how these productions have registered Argentina’s experience of capitalism, neoliberalism, and economic crisis. In different ways, the films selected for discussion testify to the social consequences of growing unemployment, rising crime, marginalization, and the expansion of the informal economy.
Page focuses particularly on films associated with New Argentine Cinema, but she also discusses highly experimental films and genre movies that borrow from the conventions of crime thrillers, Westerns, and film noir. She analyzes films that have received wide international recognition alongside others that have rarely been shown outside Argentina. What unites all the films she examines is their attention to shifts in subjectivity provoked by political or economic conditions and events. Page emphasizes the paradoxes arising from the circulation of Argentine films within the same global economy they so often critique, and she argues that while Argentine cinema has been intent on narrating the collapse of the nation-state, it has also contributed to the nation’s reconstruction. She brings the films into dialogue with a broader range of issues in contemporary film criticism, including the role of national and transnational film studies, theories of subjectivity and spectatorship, and the relationship between private and public spheres.
In Crossing Borders, Claiming a Nation, Sandra McGee Deutsch brings to light the powerful presence and influence of Jewish women in Argentina. The country has the largest Jewish community in Latin America and the third largest in the Western Hemisphere as a result of large-scale migration of Jewish people from European and Mediterranean countries from the 1880s through the Second World War. During this period, Argentina experienced multiple waves of political and cultural change, including liberalism, nacionalismo, and Peronism. Although Argentine liberalism stressed universal secular education, immigration, and individual mobility and freedom, women were denied basic citizenship rights, and sometimes Jews were cast as outsiders, especially during the era of right-wing nacionalismo. Deutsch’s research fills a gap by revealing the ways that Argentine Jewish women negotiated their own plural identities and in the process participated in and contributed to Argentina’s liberal project to create a more just society.
Drawing on extensive archival research and original oral histories, Deutsch tells the stories of individual women, relating their sentiments and experiences as both insiders and outsiders to state formation, transnationalism, and cultural, political, ethnic, and gender borders in Argentine history. As agricultural pioneers and film stars, human rights activists and teachers, mothers and doctors, Argentine Jewish women led wide-ranging and multifaceted lives. Their community involvement—including building libraries and secular schools, and opposing global fascism in the 1930s and 1940s—directly contributed to the cultural and political lifeblood of a changing Argentina. Despite their marginalization as members of an ethnic minority and as women, Argentine Jewish women formed communal bonds, carved out their own place in society, and ultimately shaped Argentina’s changing pluralistic culture through their creativity and work.
In an innovative cultural history of Argentine movies and radio in the decades before Peronism, Matthew B. Karush demonstrates that competition with jazz and Hollywood cinema shaped Argentina's domestic cultural production in crucial ways, as Argentine producers tried to elevate their offerings to appeal to consumers seduced by North American modernity. At the same time, the transnational marketplace encouraged these producers to compete by marketing "authentic" Argentine culture. Domestic filmmakers, radio and recording entrepreneurs, lyricists, musicians, actors, and screenwriters borrowed heavily from a rich tradition of popular melodrama. Although the resulting mass culture trafficked in conformism and consumerist titillation, it also disseminated versions of national identity that celebrated the virtue and dignity of the poor, while denigrating the wealthy as greedy and mean-spirited. This anti-elitism has been overlooked by historians, who have depicted radio and cinema as instruments of social cohesion and middle-class formation. Analyzing tango and folk songs, film comedies and dramas, radio soap operas, and other genres, Karush argues that the Argentine culture industries generated polarizing images and narratives that provided much of the discursive raw material from which Juan and Eva Perón built their mass movement.
On the morning of February 6, 1999, Buenos Aires police officers shot and killed seventeen-year-old Víctor Manuel Vital, better known as Frente, while he was unarmed, hiding under a table, and trying to surrender. Widely known and respected throughout Buenos Aires's shantytowns for his success as a thief, commitment to a code of honor, and generosity to his community, Frente became a Robin Hood--style legend who, in death, was believed to have the power to make bullets swerve and save gang members from shrapnel. In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of Frente's life and death in the context of the everyday experiences of love and survival, murder and addiction, and crime and courage of those living in the slums. Drawing on interviews with Frente's friends, family, and ex-girlfriends, as well as with local thieves and drug dealers, and having immersed himself in Frente's neighborhood for eighteen months, Alarcón captures the world of the urban poor in all of its complexity and humanity.
Some theorists claim that democracy cannot work without trust. According to this argument, democracy fails unless citizens trust that their governing institutions are serving their best interests. Similarly, some assert that democracy works best when people trust one another and have confidence that politicians will look after citizen interests. Questioning such claims, Democracy and the Culture of Skepticism, by Matthew Cleary and Susan Stokes, suggests that skepticism, not trust, is the hallmark of political culture in well-functioning democracies. Drawing on extensive research in two developing democracies, Argentina and Mexico, Democracy and the Culture of Skepticism shows that in regions of each country with healthy democracies, people do not trust one another more than those living in regions where democracy functions less well, nor do they display more personal trust in governments or politicians. Instead, the defining features of the healthiest democracies are skepticism of government and a belief that politicians act in their constituents' best interest only when it is personally advantageous for them to do so. In contrast to scholars who lament what they see as a breakdown in civic life, Cleary and Stokes find that people residing in healthy democracies do not participate more in civic organizations than others, but in fact, tend to retreat from civic life in favor of private pursuits. The authors conclude that governments are most efficient and responsive when they know that institutions such as the press or an independent judiciary will hold them accountable for their actions. The question of how much citizens should trust politicians and governments has consumed political theorists since America's founding. In Democracy and the Culture of Skepticism, Matthew Cleary and Susan Stokes test the relationship between trust and the quality of governance, showing that it is not trust, but vigilance and skepticism that provide the foundation for well-functioning democracies. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
In this pioneering study of democratization in Argentina, Leslie Anderson challenges Robert Putnam’s thesis that democracy requires high levels of social capital. She demonstrates in Democratization by Institutions that formal institutions (e.g., the executive, the legislature, the courts) can serve not only as operational parts within democracy but as the driving force toward democracy.
As Anderson astutely observes, the American founders debated the merits of the institutions they were creating. Examining how, and how well, Argentina’s American-style institutional structure functions, she considers the advantages and risks of the separation of powers, checks and balances, legislative policymaking, and strong presidential power. During the democratic transition, the Argentinian state has used institutions to address immediate policy challenges in ways responsive to citizens and thereby to provide a supportive environment in which social capital can develop.
By highlighting the role that institutions can play in leading a nation out of authoritarianism, even when social capital is low, Anderson begins a new conversation about the possibilities of democratization. Democratization by Institutions has much to say not only to Latin Americanists and scholars of democratization but also to those interested in the U.S. constitutional structure and its application in other parts of the world.
Winner of the 2020 Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS) Judy Ewell Award for Best Publication on Women’s History
2020 Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) Alfred B. Thomas Book Award Honorable Mention for the best book on a Latin American subject
Under dictatorship in Argentina, sex and sexuality were regulated to the point where sex education, explicit images, and even suggestive material were prohibited. With the return to democracy in 1983, Argentines experienced new freedoms, including sexual freedoms. The explosion of the availability and ubiquity of sexual material became known as the destape, and it uncovered sexuality in provocative ways. This was a mass-media phenomenon, but it went beyond this. It was, in effect, a deeper process of change in sexual ideologies and practices. By exploring the boom of sex therapy and sexology; the fight for the implementation of sex education in schools; the expansion of family planning services and of organizations dedicated to sexual health care; and the centrality of discussions on sexuality in feminist and gay organizations, Milanesio shows that the destape was a profound transformation of the way Argentines talked, understood, and experienced sexuality, a change in manners, morals, and personal freedoms.
During the mid-twentieth century, Latin American countries witnessed unprecedented struggles over the terms of national sovereignty, civic participation, and social justice. Nowhere was this more visible than in Peronist Argentina (1946–1955), where Juan and Eva Perón led the region’s largest populist movement in pursuit of new political hopes and material desires. Eduardo Elena considers this transformative moment from a fresh perspective by exploring the intersection of populism and mass consumption. He argues that Peronist actors redefined national citizenship around expansive promises of a vida digna (dignified life), which encompassed not only the satisfaction of basic wants, but also the integration of working Argentines into a modern consumer society. From the mid-1940s onward, the state moved to boost purchasing power and impose discipline on the marketplace, all while broadcasting images of a contented populace.
Drawing on documents such as the correspondence between Peronist sympathizers and authorities, Elena sheds light on the contest over the dignified life. He shows how the consumer aspirations of citizens overlapped with Peronist paradigms of state-led development, but not without generating great friction among allies and opposition from diverse sectors of society. Consumer practices encouraged intense public scrutiny of class and gender comportment, and everyday objects became freighted with new cultural meaning. By providing important insights on why Peronism struck such a powerful chord, Dignifying Argentina situates Latin America within the broader history of citizenship and consumption at mid-century, and provides innovative ways to understand the politics of redistribution in the region today.
In Disappearing Acts, Diana Taylor looks at how national identity is shaped, gendered, and contested through spectacle and spectatorship. The specific identity in question is that of Argentina, and Taylor’s focus is directed toward the years 1976 to 1983 in which the Argentine armed forces were pitted against the Argentine people in that nation’s "Dirty War." Combining feminism, cultural studies, and performance theory, Taylor analyzes the political spectacles that comprised the war—concentration camps, torture, "disappearances"—as well as the rise of theatrical productions, demonstrations, and other performative practices that attempted to resist and subvert the Argentine military. Taylor uses performance theory to explore how public spectacle both builds and dismantles a sense of national and gender identity. Here, nation is understood as a product of communal "imaginings" that are rehearsed, written, and staged—and spectacle is the desiring machine at work in those imaginings. Taylor argues that the founding scenario of Argentineness stages the struggle for national identity as a battle between men—fought on, over, and through the feminine body of the Motherland. She shows how the military’s representations of itself as the model of national authenticity established the parameters of the conflict in the 70s and 80s, feminized the enemy, and positioned the public—limiting its ability to respond. Those who challenged the dictatorship, from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo to progressive theater practitioners, found themselves in what Taylor describes as "bad scripts." Describing the images, myths, performances, and explanatory narratives that have informed Argentina’s national drama, Disappearing Acts offers a telling analysis of the aesthetics of violence and the disappearance of civil society during Argentina’s spectacle of terror.
Beginning with a review of the Argintine-USSR relationship up to 1970, Aldo Vacs describes and analyzes economic, diplomatic, and military developments, as well as their impact on Argentine society and politics, since the early 1970s. Vacs views each country’s objectives, and the extent and limits of their shared interests.
In Dissensual Subjects, Andrew C. Rajca combines cultural studies and critical theory to explore how the aftereffects of dictatorship have been used to formulate dominant notions of human rights in the present. In so doing, he critiques the exclusionary nature of these processes and highlights who and what count (and do not count) as subjects of human rights as a result.
Through an engaging exploration of the concept of “never again” (nunca más/nunca mais) and close analysis of photography exhibits, audiovisual installations, and other art forms in spaces of cultural memory, the book explores how aesthetic interventions can suggest alternative ways of framing human rights subjectivity beyond the rhetoric of liberal humanitarianism. The book visits sites of memory, two of which functioned as detention and torture centers during dictatorships, to highlight the tensions between the testimonial tenor of permanent exhibits and the aesthetic interventions of temporary installations there. Rajca thus introduces perspectives that both undo common understandings of authoritarian violence and its effects as well as reconfigure who or what are made visible as subjects of memory and human rights in postdictatorship countries.
Dissensual Subjects offers much to those concerned with numerous interlocking fields: memory, human rights, political subjectivity, aesthetics, cultural studies, visual culture, Southern Cone studies, postdictatorship studies, and sites of memory.
In this remarkable book historian Daniel James presents the gripping, poignant life-story of Doña María Roldán, a woman who lived and worked for six decades in the meatpacking community of Berisso, Argentina. A union activist and fervent supporter of Juan and Eva Perón, Doña María’s evocative testimony prompts James to analyze the promise and problematic nature of using oral sources for historical research. The book thus becomes both fascinating narrative and methodological inquiry. Doña María’s testimony is grounded in both the local context (based on the author’s thirteen years of historical and ethnographic research in Berisso) and a broader national narrative. In this way, it differs from the dominant genre of women’s testimonial literature, and much recent ethnographic work in Latin America, which have often neglected historical and communal contextualization in order to celebrate individual agency and self-construction. James examines in particular the ways that gender influences Doña María’s representation of her story. He is careful to acknowledge that oral history challenges the historian to sort through complicated sets of motivations and desires—the historian’s own wish to uncover “the truth” of an informant’s life and the interviewee’s hope to make sense of her or his past and encode it with myths of the self. This work is thus James’s effort to present his research and his relationship with Doña María with both theoretical sophistication and recognition of their mutual affection. While written by a historian, Doña María’s Story also engages with concerns drawn from such disciplines as anthropology, cultural studies, and literary criticism. It will be especially appreciated by those involved in oral, Latin American, and working-class history.
Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina examines the dramatic yet mostly forgotten history of malaria control in northwest Argentina. Carter traces the evolution of malaria science and policy in Argentina from the disease’s emergence as a social problem in the 1890s to its effective eradication by 1950. Malaria-control proponents saw the campaign as part of a larger project of constructing a modern identity for Argentina. Insofar as development meant building a more productive, rational, and hygienic society, the perceptions of a culturally backwards and disease-ridden interior prevented Argentina from joining the ranks of “modern” nations. The path to eradication, however, was not easy due to complicated public health politics, inappropriate application of foreign malaria control strategies, and a habitual misreading of the distinctive ecology of malaria in the northwest, especially the unique characteristics of the local mosquito vector. Homegrown scientific expertise, a populist public health agenda, and an infusion of new technologies eventually brought a rapid end to malaria’s scourge, if not the cure for regional underdevelopment.
Enemy in the Blood sheds light on the often neglected history of northwest Argentina’s interior, adds to critical perspectives on the history of development and public health in modern Latin America, and demonstrates the merits of integrative socialenvironmental research.
Eva Perón, one of the most powerful women in the world at the time of her death in 1952, rose from humble origins to international renown as First Lady of Argentina and the force behind the throne of her husband Juan Perón. Despite her immense popularity, she was inaccessible to the people of Argentina, and so images were constructed around her to fill that void. According to Julie M. Taylor, these "myths" around Eva Perón reflect Argentine culture and political history at the time of her seven-year reign. With a brief biography of Eva Perón serving as a backdrop, Taylor offers a detailed analysis of the principle myths that grew around this enigmatic woman.
"Taylor shows that she is remembered by different classes and political factions as saint, a revolutionary, or a whore, depending on whether she was interpreted as an embodiment or as a violation of the Argentine feminine ideal."—Booklist
"Highly commendable . . . it deliberately eschews the sensationalism that characterizes earlier [biographies]. . . . Taylor instead concentrates on the myths that have lingered since her death. . . . [This book] transcends biography."—Gentlemen's Quarterly
"[A] concise and brilliant examination of the legends that arose in Argentina during the lifetime . . . of a woman who broke with Argentine tradition and became a political figure in her own right."—New Yorker
Evita, Inevitably sheds new light on the history and culture of Argentina by examining the performances and reception of the country’s most iconic female figures, in particular, Eva Perón, who rose from poverty to become a powerful international figure. The book links the Evita legend to a broader pattern of female iconicity from the mid-nineteenth century onward, reading Evita against the performances of other female icons: Camila O’Gorman, executed by firing squad over her affair with a Jesuit priest; Difunta Correa, a devotional figure who has achieved near-sainthood; cumbia-pop performer Gilda; the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Luján; and finally, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Employing the tools of discursive, visual, and performance analysis, Jean Graham-Jones studies theatrical performance, literature, film, folklore, Catholic iconography, and Internet culture to document the ways in which these “femicons” have been staged.
The first comprehensive and interdisciplinary study of the prostitute in Latin American literature, Claire Thora Solomon’s book The Naturalist Prostitute and Her Avatars in Latin American Literature, 1880–2010 shows the gender, ethnic, and racial identities that emerge in the literary figure of the prostitute during the consolidation of modern Latin American states in the late nineteenth century in the literary genre of Naturalism. Solomon first examines how legal, medical, and philosophical thought converged in Naturalist literature of prostitution. She then traces the persistence of these styles, themes, and stereotypes about women, sex, ethnicity, and race in the twentieth and twenty-first century literature with a particular emphasis on the historical fiction of prostitution and its selective reconstruction of the past.
Fictions of the Bad Life illustrates how at very different moments—the turn of the twentieth century, the 1920s–30s, and finally the turn of the twenty-first century—the past is rewritten to accommodate contemporary desires for historical belonging and national identity, even as these efforts inevitably re-inscribe the repressed colonial history they wish to change.
Upon its publication, The Origin of Species was critically embraced in Europe and North America. But how did Darwin’s theories fare in other regions of the world? Adriana Novoa and Alex Levine offer here a history and interpretation of the reception of Darwinism in Argentina, illuminating the ways culture shapes scientific enterprise.
In order to explore how Argentina’s particular interests, ambitions, political anxieties, and prejudices shaped scientific research, From Man to Ape focuses on Darwin’s use of analogies. Both analogy and metaphor are culturally situated, and by studying scientific activity at Europe’s geographical and cultural periphery, Novoa and Levine show that familiar analogies assume unfamiliar and sometimes startling guises in Argentina. The transformation of these analogies in the Argentine context led science—as well as the interaction between science, popular culture, and public policy—in surprising directions. In diverging from European models, Argentine Darwinism reveals a great deal about both Darwinism and science in general.
Novel in its approach and its subject, From Man to Ape reveals a new way of understanding Latin American science and its impact on the scientific communities of Europe and North America.
Genocide not only annihilates people but also destroys and reorganizes social relations, using terror as a method. In Genocide as Social Practice, social scientist Daniel Feierstein looks at the policies of state-sponsored repression pursued by the Argentine military dictatorship against political opponents between 1976 and 1983 and those pursued by the Third Reich between 1933 and 1945. He finds similarities, not in the extent of the horror but in terms of the goals of the perpetrators.
The Nazis resorted to ruthless methods in part to stifle dissent but even more importantly to reorganize German society into a Volksgemeinschaft, or people’s community, in which racial solidarity would supposedly replace class struggle. The situation in Argentina echoes this. After seizing power in 1976, the Argentine military described its own program of forced disappearances, torture, and murder as a “process of national reorganization” aimed at remodeling society on “Western and Christian” lines.
For Feierstein, genocide can be considered a technology of power—a form of social engineering—that creates, destroys, or reorganizes relationships within a given society. It influences the ways in which different social groups construct their identity and the identity of others, thus shaping the way that groups interrelate. Feierstein establishes continuity between the “reorganizing genocide” first practiced by the Nazis in concentration camps and the more complex version—complex in terms of the symbolic and material closure of social relationships —later applied in Argentina. In conclusion, he speculates on how to construct a political culture capable of confronting and resisting these trends.
First published in Argentina, in Spanish, Genocide as Social Practice has since been translated into many languages, now including this English edition. The book provides a distinctive and valuable look at genocide through the lens of Latin America as well as Europe.
This highly readable study addresses a range of fundamental questions about the interaction of politics and economics, from a grassroots perspective in post-transition Argentina. Nancy R. Powers looks at the lives and political views of Argentines of little to modest means to examine systematically how their political interests, and their evaluations of democracy, are formed. Based on the author’s fieldwork in Argentina, the analysis extends to countries of Latin America and Eastern Europe facing similarly difficult political and economic changes.
Powers uses in-depth interviews to examine how (not simply what) ordinary people think about their standard of living, their government, and the democratic regime. She explains why they sometimes do, but more often do not, see their material conditions as political problems, arguing that the type of hardship and the possibilities for coping with it are more politically significant than the degree of hardship. She analyzes alternative ways in which people define democracy and judge its legitimacy.
Not only does Powers demonstrate contradictions and gaps in the existing scholarship on economic voting, social movements, and populism, she also shows how those literatures are addressing similar questions but are failing to “talk” to one another. Powers goes on to build a more comprehensive theory of how people at the grassroots form their political interests. To analyze why people perceive only some of their material hardships as political problems, she brings into the study of politics ideas drawn from Amartya Sen and other scholars of poverty.
Winner of The Association of Black Women Historians 2020 Letitia Woods-Brown Award for the best book in African American Women’s History
Details how African-descended women’s societal, marital, and sexual decisions forever reshaped the racial makeup of Argentina
Argentina promotes itself as a country of European immigrants. This makes it an exception to other Latin American countries, which embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and that of their children.
Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in Córdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.
This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.
Impure Migration investigates the period from the 1890s until the 1930s, when prostitution was a legal institution in Argentina and the international community knew its capital city Buenos Aires as the center of the sex industry. At the same time, pogroms and anti-Semitic discrimination left thousands of Eastern European Jewish people displaced, without the resources required to immigrate. For many Jewish women, participation in prostitution was one of very few ways they could escape the limited options in their home countries, and Jewish men facilitate their transit and the organization of their work and social lives. Instead of marginalizing this story or reading it as a degrading chapter in Latin American Jewish history, Impure Migration interrogates a complicated social landscape to reveal that sex work is in fact a critical part of the histories of migration, labor, race, and sexuality.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a critical role in the global economy since the postwar era. But, claims Claudia Kedar, behind the strictly economic aspects of the IMF’s intervention, there are influential interactions between IMF technocrats and local economists—even when countries are not borrowing money.
In The International Monetary Fund and Latin America, Kedar seeks to expose the motivations and constraints of the operations of both the IMF and borrowers. With access to never-before-seen archive materials, Kedar reveals both the routine and behind-the-scenes practices that have depicted International Monetary Fund–Latin American relations in general and the asymmetrical IMF-Argentina relations in particular.
Kedar also analyzes the “routine of dependency” that characterizes IMF-borrower relations with several Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru, and Brazil. The International Monetary Fund and Latin America shows how debtor countries have adopted IMF’s policies during past decades and why Latin American leaders today largely refrain from knocking at the IMF’s doors again.
Although Juan Perón changed the course of modern Argentine history, scholars have often interpreted him in terms of their own ideologies and interests, rather than seeing the effect of this man and his movement had on the Argentine people. The essays in this volume seek to uncover the man behind the myth, to define the true nature of Perónism. Several chapters view Perón's rise to power, his deposition and eighteen-year exile, and his dramtic return in 1973. Others examine: opposing forces in modern Argentina, including the church and its role in politics; the conflict between landed stancieros and urban industrialists, terrorist activities and their popularist support base; Peronism and the labor movement; and Evita Perón's role in advancing the political rights of women.
Landscapes of Devils is a rich, historically grounded ethnography of the western Toba, an indigenous people in northern Argentina’s Gran Chaco region. In the early twentieth century, the Toba were defeated by the Argentinean army, incorporated into the seasonal labor force of distant sugar plantations, and proselytized by British Anglicans. Gastón R. Gordillo reveals how the Toba’s memory of these processes is embedded in their experience of “the bush” that dominates the Chaco landscape.
As Gordillo explains, the bush is the result of social, cultural, and political processes that intertwine this place with other geographies. Labor exploitation, state violence, encroachment by settlers, and the demands of Anglican missionaries all transformed this land. The Toba’s lives have been torn between alienating work in sugar plantations and relative freedom in the bush, between moments of domination and autonomy, abundance and poverty, terror and healing. Part of this contradictory experience is culturally expressed in devils, evil spirits that acquire different features in different places. The devils are sources of death and disease in the plantations, but in the bush they are entities that connect with humans as providers of bush food and healing power. Enacted through memory, the experiences of the Toba have produced a tense and shifting geography. Combining extensive fieldwork conducted over a decade, historical research, and critical theory, Gordillo offers a nuanced analysis of the Toba’s social memory and a powerful argument that geographic places are not only objective entities but also the subjective outcome of historical forces.
Women have experienced decades of economic and political repression across Latin America, where many nations are built upon patriarchal systems of power. However, a recent confluence of political, economic, and historical factors has allowed for the emergence of civil society organizations (CSOs) that afford women a voice throughout the region.
Leadership from the Margins describes and analyzes the unique leadership styles and challenges facing the women leaders of CSOs in Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador. Based on ethnographic research, Serena Cosgrove's analysis offers a nuanced account of the distinct struggles facing women, and how differences of class, political ideology, and ethnicity have informed their outlook and organizing strategies. Using a gendered lens, she reveals the power and potential of women's leadership to impact the direction of local, regional, and global development agendas.
In the first biography in English of the great Argentinian tango singer Carlos Gardel (1890-1935), Collier traces his rise from very modest beginnings to become the first genuine “superstar” of twentieth-century Latin America. In his late teens, Gardel won local fame in the barrios of Buenos Aires singing in cafes and political clubs. By the 1920s, after he switched to tango singing, the songs he wrote and sang enjoyed instant popularity and have become classics of the genre. He began making movies in the 1930s, quickly establishing himself as the most popular star of the Spanish-language cinema, and at the time of his death Paramount was planning to launch his Hollywood career.
Collier's biography focuses on Gardel's artistic career and achievements but also sets his life story within the context of the tango tradition, of early twentieth-century Argentina, and of the history of popular entertainment.
Since its creation in 1964, readers from all over the world have loved the comic Mafalda, primarily because of the sharp wit and rebellious nature of its title character—a four-year-old girl who is wise beyond her years. Through Mafalda, Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado explores complex questions about class identity, modernization, and state violence. In Mafalda: A Social and Political History of Latin America's Global Comic—first published in Argentina in 2014 and appearing here in English for the first time—Isabella Cosse analyzes the comic's vast appeal across multiple generations. From Mafalda breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to readers to express her opposition to the 1966 Argentine coup, to Spanish students' protest signs bearing her face, to the comic's cult status in Korea, Cosse provides insights into the cartoon's production, circulation, and incorporation into social and political conversations. Analyzing how Mafalda reflects generational conflicts, gender, modernization, the Cold War, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and much more, Cosse demonstrates the unexpected power of humor to shape revolution and resistance.
Making Citizens in Argentina
Benjamin Bryce University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017 Library of Congress JL2083.M35 2017 | Dewey Decimal 323.60982
Making Citizens in Argentina charts the evolving meanings of citizenship in Argentina from the 1880s to the 1980s. Against the backdrop of immigration, science, race, sport, populist rule, and dictatorship, the contributors analyze the power of the Argentine state and other social actors to set the boundaries of citizenship. They also address how Argentines contested the meanings of citizenship over time, and demonstrate how citizenship came to represent a great deal more than nationality or voting rights. In Argentina, it defined a person’s relationships with, and expectations of, the state. Citizenship conditioned the rights and duties of Argentines and foreign nationals living in the country. Through the language of citizenship, Argentines explained to one another who belonged and who did not. In the cultural, moral, and social requirements of citizenship, groups with power often marginalized populations whose societal status was more tenuous. Making Citizens in Argentina also demonstrates how workers, politicians, elites, indigenous peoples, and others staked their own claims to citizenship.
In the 1970s, Argentina was the leader in the "Dirty War," a violent campaign by authoritarian South American regimes to repress left-wing groups and any others who were deemed subversive. Over the course of a decade, Argentina's military rulers tortured and murdered upwards of 30,000 citizens. Even today, after thirty years of democratic rule, the horror of that time continues to roil Argentine society.
Argentina has also been in the vanguard in determining how to preserve sites of torture, how to remember the "disappeared," and how to reflect on the causes of the Dirty War. Across the capital city of Buenos Aires are hundreds of grassroots memorials to the victims, documenting the scope of the state's reign of terror. Although many books have been written about this era in Argentina's history, the original Spanish-language edition of Memories of Buenos Aires was the first to identify and interpret all of these sites. It was published by the human rights organization Memoria Abierta, which used interviews with survivors to help unearth that painful history.
This translation brings this important work to an English-speaking audience, offering a comprehensive guidebook to clandestine sites of horror as well as innovative sites of memory. The book divides the 48 districts of the city into 9 sectors, and then proceeds neighborhood-by-neighborhood to offer descriptions of 202 known "sites of state terrorism" and 38 additional places where people were illegally detained, tortured, and killed by the government.
Author Noe Montez considers how theatre, as a site of activism, produces memory narratives that change public reception to a government’s transitional justice policies. Drawing on contemporary research in memory studies and transitional justice, Montez examines the Argentine theatre’s responses to the country’s transitional justice policies—truth and reconciliation hearings, trials, amnesties and pardons, and memorial events and spaces—that have taken place in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century.
Montez explores how the sociohistorical phenomenon of the Teatroxlaidentidad—an annual showcase staged with the support of Argentina’s Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo—acted as a vehicle for drawing attention to the hundreds of children kidnapped from their families during the dictatorship and looks at why the memory narratives regarding the Malvinas Islands (also known as the Falklands) range from ideological appropriations of the islands, to absurdist commentaries about the failed war that signaled the dictatorship’s end, to the islands’ heavily contested status today.
Memory, Transitional Justice, and Theatre in Postdictatorship Argentina explores the vibrant role of theatrical engagement in postdictatorship Argentina, analyzes plays by artists long neglected in English-language articles and books, and explores the practicalities of staging performances in Latin America.
Italian immigrants to the United States and Argentina hungered for the products of home. Merchants imported Italian cheese, wine, olive oil, and other commodities to meet the demand. The two sides met in migrant marketplaces--urban spaces that linked a mobile people with mobile goods in both real and imagined ways. Elizabeth Zanoni provides a cutting-edge comparative look at Italian people and products on the move between 1880 and 1940. Concentrating on foodstuffs--a trade dominated by Italian entrepreneurs in New York and Buenos Aires --Zanoni reveals how consumption of these increasingly global imports affected consumer habits and identities and sparked changing and competing connections between gender, nationality, and ethnicity. Women in particular--by tradition tasked with buying and preparing food--had complex interactions that influenced both global trade and their community economies. Zanoni conveys the complicated and often fraught values and meanings that surrounded food, meals, and shopping.
In Musicians in Transit Matthew B. Karush examines the transnational careers of seven of the most influential Argentine musicians of the twentieth century: Afro-Argentine swing guitarist Oscar Alemán, jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri, composer Lalo Schifrin, tango innovator Astor Piazzolla, balada singer Sandro, folksinger Mercedes Sosa, and rock musician Gustavo Santaolalla. As active participants in the globalized music business, these artists interacted with musicians and audiences in the United States, Europe, and Latin America and contended with genre distinctions, marketing conventions, and ethnic stereotypes. By responding creatively to these constraints, they made innovative music that provided Argentines with new ways of understanding their nation’s place in the world. Eventually, these musicians produced expressions of Latin identity that reverberated beyond Argentina, including a novel form of pop ballad; an anti-imperialist, revolutionary folk genre; and a style of rock built on a pastiche of Latin American and global genres. A website with links to recordings by each musician accompanies the book.
In Neoliberalism from Below—first published in Argentina in 2014—Verónica Gago examines how Latin American neoliberalism is propelled not just from above by international finance, corporations, and government, but also by the activities of migrant workers, vendors, sweatshop workers, and other marginalized groups. Using the massive illegal market La Salada in Buenos Aires as a point of departure, Gago shows how alternative economic practices, such as the sale of counterfeit goods produced in illegal textile factories, resist neoliberalism while simultaneously succumbing to its models of exploitative labor and production. Gago demonstrates how La Salada's economic dynamics mirror those found throughout urban Latin America. In so doing, she provides a new theory of neoliberalism and a nuanced view of the tense mix of calculation and freedom, obedience and resistance, individualism and community, and legality and illegality that fuels the increasingly powerful popular economies of the global South's large cities.
In nearly every account of modern Argentine history, the first Peronist regime (1946–55) emerges as the critical juncture. Appealing to growing masses of industrial workers, Juan Perón built a powerful populist movement that transformed economic and political structures, promulgated new conceptions and representations of the nation, and deeply polarized the Argentine populace. Yet until now, most scholarship on Peronism has been constrained by a narrow, top-down perspective. Inspired by the pioneering work of the historian Daniel James and new approaches to Latin American cultural history, scholars have recently begun to rewrite the history of mid-twentieth-century Argentina. The New Cultural History of Peronism brings together the best of this important new scholarship.
Situating Peronism within the broad arc of twentieth-century Argentine cultural change, the contributors focus on the interplay of cultural traditions, official policies, commercial imperatives, and popular perceptions. They describe how the Perón regime’s rhetoric and representations helped to produce new ideas of national and collective identity. At the same time, they show how Argentines pursued their interests through their engagement with the Peronist project, and, in so doing, pushed the regime in new directions. While the volume’s emphasis is on the first Perón presidency, one contributor explores the origins of the regime and two others consider Peronism’s transformations in subsequent years. The essays address topics including mass culture and melodrama, folk music, pageants, social respectability, architecture, and the intense emotional investment inspired by Peronism. They examine the experiences of women, indigenous groups, middle-class anti-Peronists, internal migrants, academics, and workers. By illuminating the connections between the state and popular consciousness, The New Cultural History of Peronism exposes the contradictions and ambivalences that have characterized Argentine populism.
Contributors: Anahi Ballent, Oscar Chamosa, María Damilakou, Eduardo Elena, Matthew B. Karush, Diana Lenton, Mirta Zaida Lobato, Natalia Milanesio, Mariano Ben Plotkin, César Seveso, Lizel Tornay
Before news organizations began putting their content online, people got the news in print or on TV and almost always outside of the workplace. But nowadays, most of us keep an eye on the headlines from our desks at work, and we have become accustomed to instant access to a growing supply of constantly updated stories on the Web. This change in the amount of news available as well as how we consume it has been coupled with an unexpected development in editorial labor: rival news organizations can now keep tabs on the competition and imitate them, resulting in a decrease in the diversity of the news. Peeking inside the newsrooms where journalists create stories and the work settings where the public reads them, Pablo J. Boczkowski reveals why journalists contribute to the growing similarity of news—even though they dislike it—and why consumers acquiesce to a media system they find increasingly dissatisfying.
Comparing and contrasting two newspapers in Buenos Aires with similar developments in the United States, News at Work offers an enlightening perspective on living in a world with more information but less news.
North of Patagonia
Johnny Payne Northwestern University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3566.A9375N6 2001 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
This darkly humorous fourth novel by Johnny Payne takes us from the blues clubs and boxing rings of Chicago to the world of Kentucky harness racing and the hedonism of South Beach. Its characters--among them the black elites of Chicago and the white working stiffs of Hooftown--live by their wits, able to outfox everyone but themselves, and all the time borne up by big hopes and big hearts.
Unique in ethnography, Nurturing Doubt documents the transforming
effects of field experiences on a young Mennonite who went to Argentina
to work with the Toba, first as a missionary and later as an anthropologist.
Elmer Miller insightfully probes the documents--diaries, field journals,
and letters--of both his lives, revealing as he does the ways in which
his perceptions of the Toba--and theirs of him--changed when his role
Deeply affected by an upbringing in which he had been taught that doubting
was "sinful," Miller gradually found that he doubted not only
the validity of the missionary mandate but also his ethnographic mandate
and the whole practice of anthropology. His exploration of how his doubt
was transformed from a negative activity into a positive philosophical
attitude underscores the richness of his relationships with the Toba.
In depicting the move from theological to anthropological discourse, Miller
contributes to current debates over the form and purpose of ethnographic
investigation and reporting.
Julie Taylor Duke University Press, 1998 Library of Congress GV1796.T3T39 1998 | Dewey Decimal 793.33
Tango. A multidimensional expression of Argentine identity, one that speaks to that nation’s sense of disorientation, loss, and terror. Yet the tango mesmerizes dancers and audiences alike throughout the world. In Paper Tangos, Julie Taylor—a classically trained dancer and anthropologist—examines the poetics of the tango while describing her own quest to dance this most dramatic of paired dances. Taylor, born in the United States, has lived much of her adult life in Latin America. She has spent years studying the tango in Buenos Aires, dancing during and after the terror of military dictatorships. This book is at once an account of a life lived crossing the borders of two distinct and complex cultures and an exploration of the conflicting meanings of tango for women who love the poetry of its movement yet feel uneasy with the roles it bestows on the male and female dancers. Drawing parallels among the violences of the Argentine Junta, the play with power inherent in tango dancing, and her own experiences with violence both inside and outside the intriguing tango culture, Taylor weaves the line between engaging memoir and insightful cultural critique. Within the contexts of tango’s creative birth and contemporary presentations, this book welcomes us directly into the tango subculture and reveals the ways that personal, political, and historical violence operate in our lives. The book’s experimental design includes photographs on every page, which form a flip-book sequence of a tango. Not simply a book for tango dancers and fans, Paper Tangos will reward students of Latin American studies, cultural studies, anthropology, feminist studies, dance studies, and the art of critical memoir.
The Patagonian Sublime provides a vivid, accessible, and cutting-edge investigation of the green economy and New Left politics in Argentina. Based on extensive field research in Glaciers National Park and the mountain village of El Chaltén, Marcos Mendoza deftly examines the diverse social worlds of alpine mountaineers, adventure trekkers, tourism entrepreneurs, seasonal laborers, park rangers, land managers, scientists, and others involved in the green economy.
Mendoza explores the fraught intersection of the green economy with the New Left politics of the Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner governments. Mendoza documents the strategies of capitalist development, national representation, and political rule embedded in the “green productivist” agenda pursued by Kirchner and Fernández. Mendoza shows how Andean Patagonian communities have responded to the challenges of community-based conservation, the fashioning of wilderness zones, and the drive to create place-based monopolies that allow ecotourism destinations to compete in the global consumer economy.
Patients of the State is a sociological account of the extended waiting that poor people seeking state social and administrative services must endure. It is based on ethnographic research in the waiting area of the main welfare office in Buenos Aires, in the line leading into the Argentine registration office where legal aliens apply for identification cards, and among people who live in a polluted shantytown on the capital’s outskirts, while waiting to be allocated better housing. Scrutinizing the mundane interactions between the poor and the state, as well as underprivileged people’s confusion and uncertainty about the administrative processes that affect them, Javier Auyero argues that while waiting, the poor learn the opposite of citizenship. They learn to be patients of the state. They absorb the message that they should be patient and keep waiting, because there is nothing else that they can do. Drawing attention to a significant everyday dynamic that has received little scholarly attention until now, Auyero considers not only how the poor experience these lengthy waits but also how making poor people wait works as a strategy of state control.
Penguins in the Desert
Eric Wagner Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress QL696.S473W34 2018 | Dewey Decimal 598.47
Most of us wouldn’t think to look for penguins in a hot desert, but every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is the largest penguin colony in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there.
Eric Wagner joined her team for six months in 2008, and in Penguins in the Desert, he chronicles that season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change?
As Wagner spends more and more time with the penguins and the scientists in the field, other equally pressing questions come to mind. What is it like to be beaten by a penguin? Or bitten by one? How can a person be so dirty for so many months on end? In a tale that is as much about life in the field as it is about one of the most charismatic creatures on earth, Wagner brings humor, warmth, and hard-won insight as he tries to find the answer to what turns out to be the most pressing question of all: What does it mean to know an animal and to grapple with the consequences of that knowing?
2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Short-listed for the Juan E. Méndez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America from Duke University Libraries
How do victims and perpetrators of political violence caught up in a complicated legal battle experience justice on their own terms? Phenomenal Justice is a compelling ethnography about the reopened trials for crimes against humanity committed during the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Grounded in phenomenological anthropology and the anthropology of emotion, this book establishes a new theoretical basis that is faithful to the uncertainties of justice and truth in the aftermath of human rights violations. The ethnographic observations and the first-person stories about torture, survival, disappearance, and death reveal the enduring trauma, heartfelt guilt, happiness, battered pride, and scratchy shame that demonstrate the unreserved complexities of truth and justice in post-conflict societies. Phenomenal Justice will be an indispensable contribution to a better understanding of the military dictatorship in Argentina and its aftermath.
Winner of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association Best Book Award 2020
An examination of the social and cultural repercussions of Jewish emigration from Poland to Argentina in the 1920s and 1930s
Between the 1890s and 1930s, Argentina, following the United States and Palestine, became the main destination for Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews seeking safety, civil rights, and better economic prospects. In the period between 1918 and 1939, sixty thousand Polish Jews established new homes in Argentina. They formed a strong ethnic community that quickly embraced Argentine culture while still maintaining their unique Jewish-Polish character. This mass migration caused the transformation of cultural, social, and political milieus in both Poland and Argentina, forever shaping the cultural landscape of both lands.
In Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture, Mariusz Kalczewiak has constructed a multifaceted and in-depth narrative that sheds light on marginalized aspects of Jewish migration and enriches the dialogue between Latin American Jewish studies and Polish Jewish Studies. Based on archival research, Yiddish travelogues on Argentina, and the Yiddish and Spanish-language press, this study recreates a mosaic of entanglements that Jewish migration wove between Poland and Argentina.
Most studies on mass migration fail to acknowledge the role of the country of origin, but this innovative work approaches Jewish migration to Argentina as a continuous process that took place on both sides of the Atlantic. Taken as a whole, Polacos in Argentina enlightens the heterogeneous and complex issue of immigrant commitments, belongings, and expectations. Jewish emigration from Poland to Argentina serves as a case study of how ethnicity evolves among migrants and their children, and the dynamics that emerge between putting down roots in a new country and maintaining commitments to the country of origin.
Why do attempts by authoritarian regimes to legalize their political repression differ so dramatically? Why do some dispense with the law altogether, while others scrupulously modify constitutions, pass new laws, and organize political trials? Political (In)Justice answers these questions by comparing the legal aspects of political repression in three recent military regimes: Brazil (1964–1985); Chile (1973–1990); and Argentina (1976–1983). By focusing on political trials as a reflection of each regime’s overall approach to the law, Anthony Pereira argues that the practice of each regime can be explained by examining the long-term relationship between the judiciary and the military. Brazil was marked by a high degree of judicial-military integration and cooperation; Chile’s military essentially usurped judicial authority; and in Argentina, the military negated the judiciary altogether. Pereira extends the judicial-military framework to other authoritarian regimes—Salazar’s Portugal, Hitler’s Germany, and Franco’s Spain—and a democracy (the United States), to illuminate historical and contemporary aspects of state coercion and the rule of law.
“Political clientelism” is a term used to characterize the contemporary relationships between political elites and the poor in Latin America in which goods and services are traded for political favors. Javier Auyero critically deploys the notion in Poor People’s Politics to analyze the political practices of the Peronist Party among shantytown dwellers in contemporary Argentina. Looking closely at the slum-dwellers’ informal problem-solving networks, which are necessary for material survival, and the different meanings of Peronism within these networks, Auyero presents the first ethnography of urban clientelism ever carried out in Argentina. Revealing a deep familiarity with the lives of the urban poor in Villa Paraíso, a stigmatized and destitute shantytown of Buenos Aires, Auyero demonstrates the ways in which local politicians present their vital favors to the poor and how the poor perceive and evaluate these favors. Having penetrated the networks, he describes how they are structured, what is traded, and the particular way in which women facilitate these transactions. Moreover, Auyero proposes that the act of granting favors or giving food in return for votes gives the politicians’ acts a performative and symbolic meaning that flavors the relation between problem-solver and problem-holder, while also creating quite different versions of contemporary Peronism. Along the way, Auyero is careful to situate the emergence and consolidation of clientelism in historic, cultural, and economic contexts. Poor People’s Politics reexamines the relationship between politics and the destitute in Latin America, showing how deeply embedded politics are in the lives of those who do not mobilize in the usual sense of the word but who are far from passive. It will appeal to a wide range of students and scholars of Latin American studies, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, and cultural studies.
Postmodernity in Latin America contests the prevailing understanding of the relationship between postmodernity and Latin America by focusing on recent developments in Latin American, and particularly Argentine, political and literary culture. While European and North American theorists of postmodernity generally view Latin American fiction without regard for its political and cultural context, Latin Americanists often either uncritically apply the concept of postmodernity to Latin American literature and society or reject it in an equally uncritical fashion. The result has been both a limited understanding of the literature and an impoverished notion of postmodernity. Santiago Colás challenges both of these approaches and corrects their consequent distortions by locating Argentine postmodernity in the cultural dynamics of resistance as it operates within and against local expressions of late capitalism. Focusing on literature, Colás uses Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch to characterize modernity for Latin America as a whole, Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman to identify the transition to a more localized postmodernity, and Ricardo Piglia’s Artificial Respiration to exemplify the cultural coordinates of postmodernity in Argentina. Informed by the cycle of political transformation beginning with the Cuban Revolution, including its effects on Peronism, to the period of dictatorship, and finally to redemocratization, Colás’s examination of this literary progression leads to the reconstruction of three significant moments in the history of Argentina. His analysis provokes both a revised understanding of that history and the recognition that multiple meanings of postmodernity must be understood in ways that incorporate the complexity of regional differences. Offering a new voice in the debate over postmodernity, one that challenges that debate’s leading thinkers, Postmodernity in Latin America will be of particular interest to students of Latin American literature and to scholars in all disciplines concerned with theories of the postmodern.
Presenting new scholarship, this publication is the first comprehensive technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America.
Purity Is a Myth presents new scholarship on Concrete art in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay from the 1940s to the 1960s. Originally coined by the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg in 1930, the term concrete denotes abstract painting with no reference to external reality. Van Doesburg argued that there was nothing more real than a line, color, or plane. Artists such as Willys de Castro, Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, Judith Lauand, Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado, Hélio Oiticica, and Rhod Rothfuss would reinvent this concept in postwar Latin America.
Drawing on research conducted by Getty and international partners, the essays in this volume address a variety of topics, including the general history, emergence, and reception of Concrete art; processes and color; scientific analysis of works; illustrated chronologies of the paint industry in Brazil and Argentina; and Concrete design on paper. As the first comprehensive technical study of the Concrete art movement in Latin America, this volume will be indispensable to scholars, practitioners, and students of Latin American art.
Between 1976 and 1983, during a period of brutal military dictatorship, armed forces in Argentina abducted 30,000 citizens. These victims were tortured and killed, never to be seen again. Although the history of los desaparecidos, “the disappeared,” has become widely known, the stories of the Argentines who miraculously survived their imprisonment and torture are not well understood. The Reappeared is the first in-depth study of an officially sanctioned group of Argentine former political prisoners, the Association of Former Political Prisoners of Córdoba, which organized in 2007.
Using ethnographic methods, anthropologist Rebekah Park explains the experiences of these survivors of state terrorism and in the process raises challenging questions about how societies define victimhood, what should count as a human rights abuse, and what purpose memorial museums actually serve. The men and women who reappeared were often ostracized by those who thought they must have been collaborators to have survived imprisonment, but their actual stories are much more complex. Park explains why the political prisoners waited nearly three decades before forming their own organization and offers rare insights into what motivates them to recall their memories of solidarity and resistance during the dictatorial past, even as they suffer from the long-term effects of torture and imprisonment.
The Reappeared challenges readers to rethink the judicial and legislative aftermath of genocide and forces them to consider how much reparation is actually needed to compensate for unimaginable—and lifelong—suffering.
Argentina, once heralded as the future of capitalist progress, has a long history of economic volatility. In 2001–2002, a financial crisis led to its worst economic collapse, precipitating a dramatic currency devaluation, the largest sovereign default in world history, and the flight of foreign capital. Protests and street blockades punctuated a moment of profound political uncertainty, epitomized by the rapid succession of five presidents in four months. Since then, Argentina has fought economic fires on every front, from inflation to the cost of utilities and depressed industrial output. When things clearly aren't working, when the constant churning of booms and busts makes life almost unlivable, how does our deeply compromised order come to seem so inescapable? How does critique come to seem so blunt, even as crisis after crisis appears on the horizon? What are the lived effects of that sense of inescapability?
Anthropologist Sarah Muir offers a cogent meditation on the limits of critique at this historical moment, drawing on deep experience in Argentina but reflecting on a truly global condition. If we feel things are being upended in a manner that is ongoing, tumultuous, and harmful, what would we need to do—and what would we need to give up—to usher in a revitalized critique for today's world? Routine Crisis is an original provocation and a challenge to think beyond the limits of exhaustion and reimagine a form of criticism for the twenty-first century.
In January 1944, an earthquake reduced the province of San Juan, Argentina, to rubble, leaving perhaps ten thousand dead and one hundred thousand homeless. In The Ruins of the New Argentina, Mark A. Healey argues that the disaster and the massive rebuilding project that followed transformed not only the province but also the nation. The earthquake was a shattering and galvanizing experience, an indictment of the old social order and an invitation to transform it. From the nation’s capital, an obscure colonel in a recently installed military regime launched a relief campaign and rapidly commissioned plans to rebuild the province, especially its capital city. The campaign was a rousing success, launching the public career of its director, Juan Domingo Perón, who would soon found a movement, reach the presidency, and transform the politics and social structure of the country. Dreaming and building the new city became the landmark project for a generation of modernist architects and planners, as well as an enduring challenge and controversy for local residents and the Peronist state. By exploring the struggle to rebuild, Healey shows how this destroyed province played a crucial role in forging, testing, and ultimately limiting the Peronist project of transforming the nation.
It has become something of a critical commonplace to claim that science fiction does not actually exist in Argentina. This book puts that claim to rest by identifying and analyzing a rich body of work that fits squarely in the genre. Joanna Page explores a range of texts stretching from 1875 to the present day and across a variety of media-literature, cinema, theatre, and comics-and studies the particular inflection many common discourses of science fiction (e.g., abuse of technology by authoritarian regimes, apocalyptic visions of environmental catastrophe) receive in the Argentine context. A central aim is to historicize these texts, showing how they register and rework the contexts of their production, particularly the hallmarks of modernity as a social and cultural force in Argentina. Another aim, held in tension with the first, is to respond to an important critique of historicism that unfolds in these texts. They frequently unpick the chronology of modernity, challenging the linear, universalizing models of development that underpin historicist accounts. They therefore demand a more nuanced set of readings that work to supplement, revise, and enrich the historicist perspective.
In 1996 Argentina adopted genetically modified (GM) soybeans as a central part of its national development strategy. Today, Argentina is the third largest global grower and exporter of GM crops. Its soybeans—which have been modified to tolerate being sprayed with herbicides—now cover half of the country's arable land and represent a third of its total exports. While soy has brought about modernization and economic growth, it has also created tremendous social and ecological harm: rural displacement, concentration of landownership, food insecurity, deforestation, violence, and the negative health effects of toxic agrochemical exposure. In Seeds of Power Amalia Leguizamón explores why Argentines largely support GM soy despite the widespread damage it creates. She reveals how agribusiness, the state, and their allies in the media and sciences deploy narratives of economic redistribution, scientific expertise, and national identity as a way to elicit compliance among the country’s most vulnerable rural residents. In this way, Leguizamón demonstrates that GM soy operates as a tool of power to obtain consent, to legitimate injustice, and to quell potential dissent in the face of environmental and social violence.
Internationally renowned essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans spent five years traveling from across a dozen countries in Latin America, in search of what defines the Jewish communities in the region, whose roots date back to Christopher Columbus’s arrival. In the tradition of V.S. Naipaul’s explorations of India, the Caribbean, and the Arab World, he came back with an extraordinarily vivid travelogue. Stavans talks to families of the desaparecidos in Buenos Aires, to “Indian Jews,” and to people affiliated with neo-Nazi groups in Patagonia. He also visits Spain to understand the long-term effects of the Inquisition, the American Southwest habitat of “secret Jews,” and Israel, where immigrants from Latin America have reshaped the Jewish state. Along the way, he looks for the proverbial “seventh heaven,” which, according to the Talmud, out of proximity with the divine, the meaning of life in general, and Jewish life in particular, becomes clearer. The Seventh Heaven is a masterful work in Stavans’s ongoing quest to find a convergence between the personal and the historical.
Described in his lifetime as “mad,” “a dreamer,” “quixotic,” and “a lunatic,” Pedro Bohorques is one of the most fascinating personalities of Spanish colonial America. A common man from an ordinary Andalusian family, he sought his fortune in the new world as a Renaissance adventurer.
Smitten with the idea of the mythical cities of gold, Bohorques led a series of expeditions into the jungles of Peru searching for the paradise of El Dorado. Having mastered the Quechua language of the countryside, he presented himself as a descendent of Inca royalty and quickly rose to power as a king among the Calchaquíes of Tucumán. He was later arrested and executed by the crown for his participation in a peasant revolt against Spanish rule.
In Spanish King of the Incas, Ana María Lorandi examines Bohorques as a character whose vision, triumphs, and struggles are a reflection of his seventeenth-century colonial world. In this thoroughly engaging ethnohistory, Lorandi brings to light the many political and cultural forces of the time. The status of the Inca high nobility changed dramatically after the Spanish conquest, as native populations were subjugated by the ruling class. Utopian ideals of new cities of riches such as El Dorado prevailed in the public imagination alongside a desire to restore an idealized historic past. As the Middle Ages gave way to the new belief systems of the Renaissance, ingenuousness about mythical creatures became strong, and personal success was measured by the performance of heroic deeds and the attainment of kingdoms. Charismatic and bold, Pedro Bohorques flourished in the ambiguous margins of this society full of transition and conflict.
Ann de León's artful translation preserves both the colorful details of the story and the clarity of expression in Lorandi's complex analyses.
A sweeping account of one of the cultural centers of Latin America, Specular City tells the history of Buenos Aires during the interregnum after Juan Perón's fall from power and before his restoration. During those two decades, the city experienced a rapid metamorphosis at the behest of its middle class citizens, who were eager to cast off the working-class imprint left by the Perónists. Laura Podalsky discusses the ways in which the proliferation of skyscrapers, the emergence of car culture, and the diffusion of an emerging revolution in the arts helped transform Buenos Aires, and, in so doing, redefine Argentine collective history.More than a cultural and material history of this city, this book also presents Buenos Aires as a crucible for urban life. Examining its structures through films, literatures, new magazines, advertising and architecture, Specular City reveals the prominent place of Buenos Aires in the massive changes that Latin America underwent for a new, modern definition of itself.
The "Argentine disappointment"—why Argentina persistently failed to achieve sustained economic stability during the twentieth century—is an issue that has mystified scholars for decades. In Straining the Anchor, Gerardo della Paolera and Alan M. Taylor provide many of the missing links that help explain this important historical episode. Written chronologically, this book follows the various fluctuations of the Argentine economy from its postrevolutionary volatility to a period of unprecedented prosperity to a dramatic decline from which the country has never fully recovered. The authors examine in depth the solutions that Argentina has tried to implement such as the Caja de Conversión, the nation's first currency board which favored a strict gold-standard monetary regime, the forerunner of the convertibility plan the nation has recently adopted.
With many countries now using—or seriously contemplating—monetary arrangements similar to Argentina's, this important and persuasive study maps out one of history's most interesting monetary experiments to show what works and what doesn't.
In Argentina, tango isn’t just the national music—it’s a national brand. But ask any contemporary Argentine if they ever really listen to it and chances are the answer is no: tango hasn’t been popular for more than fifty years. In this book, Morgan James Luker explores that odd paradox by tracing the many ways Argentina draws upon tango as a resource for a wide array of economic, social, and cultural—that is to say, non-musical—projects. In doing so, he illuminates new facets of all musical culture in an age of expediency when the value and meaning of the arts is less about the arts themselves and more about how they can be used.
Luker traces the diverse and often contradictory ways tango is used in Argentina in activities ranging from state cultural policy-making to its export abroad as a cultural emblem, from the expanding nonprofit arts sector to tango-themed urban renewal projects. He shows how projects such as these are not peripheral to an otherwise “real” tango—they are the absolutely central means by which the values of this musical culture are cultivated. By richly detailing the interdependence of aesthetic value and the regimes of cultural management, this book sheds light on core conceptual challenges facing critical music scholarship today.
In Transatlantic Fascism, Federico Finchelstein traces the intellectual and cultural connections between Argentine and Italian fascisms, showing how fascism circulates transnationally. From the early 1920s well into the Second World War, Mussolini tried to export Italian fascism to Argentina, the “most Italian” country outside of Italy. (Nearly half the country’s population was of Italian descent.) Drawing on extensive archival research on both sides of the Atlantic, Finchelstein examines Italy’s efforts to promote fascism in Argentina by distributing bribes, sending emissaries, and disseminating propaganda through film, radio, and print. He investigates how Argentina’s political culture was in turn transformed as Italian fascism was appropriated, reinterpreted, and resisted by the state and the mainstream press, as well as by the Left, the Right, and the radical Right.
As Finchelstein explains, nacionalismo, the right-wing ideology that developed in Argentina, was not the wholesale imitation of Italian fascism that Mussolini wished it to be. Argentine nacionalistas conflated Catholicism and fascism, making the bold claim that their movement had a central place in God’s designs for their country. Finchelstein explores the fraught efforts of nationalistas to develop a “sacred” ideological doctrine and political program, and he scrutinizes their debates about Nazism, the Spanish Civil War, imperialism, anti-Semitism, and anticommunism. Transatlantic Fascism shows how right-wing groups constructed a distinctive Argentine fascism by appropriating some elements of the Italian model and rejecting others. It reveals the specifically local ways that a global ideology such as fascism crossed national borders.
In this original study, Jorge A. Nállim chronicles the decline of liberalism in Argentina during the volatile period between two military coups—the 1930 overthrow of
Hipólito Yrigoyen and the deposing of Juan Perón in 1955. While historians have primarily focused on liberalism in economic or political contexts, Nállim instead documents a wide range of locations where liberalism was claimed and ultimately marginalized in the pursuit of individual agendas.
Nállim shows how concepts of liberalism were espoused by various groups who “invented traditions” to legitimatize their methods of political, religious, class, intellectual, or cultural hegemony. In these deeply fractured and corrupt processes, liberalism lost political favor and alienated the public. These events also set the table for Peronism and stifled the future of progressive liberalism in Argentina.
Nállim describes the main political parties of the period and deconstructs their liberal discourses. He also examines major cultural institutions and shows how each attached liberalism to their cause.
Nállim compares and contrasts the events in Argentina to those in other Latin American nations and reveals their links to international developments. While critics have positioned the rhetoric of liberalism during this period as one of decadence or irrelevance, Nállim instead shows it to be a vital and complex factor in the metamorphosis of modern history in Argentina and Latin America as well.
In May of 1976, documentary filmmaker and proclaimed socialist Raymundo Gleyzer mysteriously disappeared in Buenos Aires. Like many political activists, Gleyzer was the target of a brutalizing military junta that had recently assumed power. Amazingly, within a few decades, leftist filmmakers would be celebrated as intellectual vanguards in this same city.
In Transition Cinema, Jessica Stites Mor documents the critical role filmmakers, the film industry, and state regulators played in Argentina’s volatile transition to democracy. She shows how, during different regimes, the state moved to either inhibit or facilitate film production and its content, distribution, and exhibition. She also reveals the strategies the film industry employed to comply with, or circumvent these regulations.
Stites Mor divides the transition period into three distinct generations, each defined by a major political event and the reactions to these events in film. The first generation began with the failed civil uprising in Córdoba in 1969, and ended with the 1976 military takeover. During military rule, repressive censorship spurred underground exhibitions, and allied filmmakers with the Peronist left and radical activists. The second generation arose after the return of civilian rule in 1983. Buenos Aires became the center for state-level cultural programs that included filmmakers in debates over human rights and collective memory campaigns. In 1989, a third generation of filmmaking emerged, with new genres such as cine piquetero (picketer cinema) that portrayed a variety of social movements and brought them into the public eye. By the new millennium, Argentine filmmakers had gained the attention and financial support of international humanitarian and film industry organizations.
In this captivating study, Stites Mor examines how populist movements, political actors, filmmakers, government, and industry institutions all became deeply enmeshed in the project of Argentina’s transition cinema. She demonstrates how film emerged as the chronicler of political struggles in a dialogue with the past, present, and future, whose message transcended both cultural and national borders.
Argentina’s repressive 1976–83 dictatorship, during which an estimated thirty thousand people were “disappeared,” prompted the postauthoritarian administrations and human rights groups to encourage public exposure of past crimes and traumas. Truth commissions, trials, and other efforts have aimed to break the silence and give voice to the voiceless. Yet despite these many reckonings, there are still silences, taboos, and unanswerable questions.
Nancy J. Gates-Madsen reads between the lines of Argentine cultural texts (fiction, drama, testimonial narrative, telenovela, documentary film) to explore the fundamental role of silence—the unsaid—in the expression of trauma. Her careful examination of the interplay between textual and contextual silences illuminates public debate about the meaning of memory in Argentina—which stories are being told and, more important, which are being silenced. The imposition of silence is not limited to the military domain or its apologists, she shows; the human rights community also perpetuates and creates taboos.
Cumbia villera—literally, cumbia from the shantytowns— is a musical genre quite popular with Argentine youth who frequent urban dance halls. Its songs are known for having highly sexualized lyrics— about girls dancing provocatively or experiencing erotic pleasure. The songs exhibit the tensions at play in the different ways people relate to this musical genre.
In Troubling Gender, noted sociologists Pablo Vila and Pablo Semán scrutinize the music's lyrics and the singers' and dancers' performances. At the same time, the authors conduct in-depth interviews to examine the ways males construct and appropriate cumbia's lyrics, and how females identify, appropriate, and playfully and critically manipulate the same misogynistic songs.
Addressing the relationship between this form of music and the wider social, political, and economic changes that influence the lives of urban youth, Troubling Gender argues that the music both reflects and influences the ways in which women's and men's roles are changing in Argentine society.
A pioneering examination of the experiences of peasants and peons, or paysanos, in the Buenos Aires province during Juan Manuel de Rosas’s regime (1829–1852), Wandering Paysanos is one of the first studies to consider Argentina’s history from a subalternist perspective. The distinguished Argentine historian Ricardo D. Salvatore situates the paysanos as mobile job seekers within an expanding, competitive economy as he highlights the points of contention between the peasants and the state: questions of military service, patriotism, crime, and punishment. He argues that only through a reconstruction of the different subjectivities of paysanos—as workers, citizens, soldiers, and family members—can a new understanding of postindependence Argentina be achieved.
Drawing extensively on judicial and military records, Salvatore reveals the state’s files on individual prisoners and recruits to be surprisingly full of personal stories directly solicited from paysanos. While consistently attentive to the fragmented and mediated nature of these archival sources, he chronicles how peons and peasants spoke to power figures—judges, police officers, and military chiefs—about issues central to their lives and to the emerging nation. They described their families and their wanderings across the countryside in search of salaried work, memories and impressions of the civil wars, and involvement with the Federalist armies. Their lamentations about unpaid labor, disrespectful government officials, the meaning of poverty, and the dignity of work provide vital insights into the contested nature of the formation of the Argentine Confederation. Wandering Paysanos discloses a complex world until now obscured—that of rural Argentine subalterns confronting the state.
Two tropical commodities—coffee and sugar—dominated Latin American export economies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When Sugar Ruled: Economy and Society in Northwestern Argentina, Tucumán, 1876–1916 presents a distinctive case that does not quite fit into the pattern of many Latin American sugar economies.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the province of Tucumán emerged as Argentina’s main sugar producer, its industry catering almost exclusively to the needs of the national market and financed mostly by domestic capital. The expansion of the sugar industry provoked profound changes in Tucumán’s economy as sugar specialization replaced the province’s diversified productive structure. Since ingenios relied on outside growers for the supply of a large share of the sugarcane, sugar production did not produce massive land dispossession and resulted in the emergence of a heterogeneous planter group. The arrival of thousands of workers from neighboring provinces during the harvest season transformed rural society dramatically. As the most dynamic sector in Tucumán’s economy, revenues from sugar enabled the provincial government to participate in the modernizing movement sweeping turn-of-the-century Argentina.
Patricia Juarez-Dappe uncovers the unique features that characterized sugar production in Tucumán as well as the changes experienced by the province’s economy and society between 1876 and 1916, the period of most dramatic sugar expansion. When Sugar Ruled is an important addition to the literature on sugar economies in Latin America and Argentina.
In this pathbreaking history, Donna J. Guy shows how feminists, social workers, and female philanthropists contributed to the emergence of the Argentine welfare state through their advocacy of child welfare and family-law reform. From the creation of the government-subsidized Society of Beneficence in 1823, women were at the forefront of the child-focused philanthropic and municipal groups that proliferated first to address the impact of urbanization, European immigration, and high infant mortality rates, and later to meet the needs of wayward, abandoned, and delinquent children. Women staffed child-centered organizations that received subsidies from all levels of government. Their interest in children also led them into the battle for female suffrage and the campaign to promote the legal adoption of children. When Juan Perón expanded the welfare system during his presidency (1946–1955), he reorganized private charitable organizations that had, until then, often been led by elite and immigrant women.
Drawing on extensive research in Argentine archives, Guy reveals significant continuities in Argentine history, including the rise of a liberal state that subsidized all kinds of women’s and religious groups. State and private welfare efforts became more organized in the 1930s and reached a pinnacle under Juan Perón, when men took over the welfare state and philanthropic and feminist women’s influence on child-welfare activities and policy declined. Comparing the rise of Argentina’s welfare state with the development of others around the world, Guy considers both why women’s child-welfare initiatives have not received more attention in historical accounts and whether the welfare state emerges from the top down or from the bottom up.
The plebeians of Buenos Aires were crucial to the success of the revolutionary junta of May 1810, widely considered the start of the Argentine war of independence. Workshop of Revolution is a historical account of the economic and political forces that propelled the artisans, free laborers, and slaves of Buenos Aires into the struggle for independence. Drawing on extensive archival research in Argentina and Spain, Lyman L. Johnson portrays the daily lives of Buenos Aires plebeians in unprecedented detail. In so doing, he demonstrates that the world of Spanish colonial plebeians can be recovered in reliable and illuminating ways. Johnson analyzes the demographic and social contexts of plebeian political formation and action, considering race, ethnicity, and urban population growth, as well as the realms of work and leisure. During the two decades prior to 1810, Buenos Aires came to be thoroughly integrated into Atlantic commerce. Increased flows of immigrants from Spain and slaves from Africa and Brazil led to a decline in real wages and the collapse of traditional guilds. Laborers and artisans joined militias that defended the city against British invasions in 1806 and 1807, and they defeated a Spanish loyalist coup attempt in 1809. A gravely weakened Spanish colonial administration and a militarized urban population led inexorably to the events of 1810 and a political transformation of unforeseen scale and consequence.