Bananas, the most frequently consumed fresh fruit in the United States, have been linked to Miss Chiquita and Carmen Miranda, "banana republics," and Banana Republic clothing stores—everything from exotic kitsch, to Third World dictatorships, to middle-class fashion. But how did the rise in banana consumption in the United States affect the banana-growing regions of Central America? In this lively, interdisciplinary study, John Soluri integrates agroecology, anthropology, political economy, and history to trace the symbiotic growth of the export banana industry in Honduras and the consumer mass market in the United States.
Beginning in the 1870s, when bananas first appeared in the U.S. marketplace, Soluri examines the tensions between the small-scale growers, who dominated the trade in the early years, and the shippers. He then shows how rising demand led to changes in production that resulted in the formation of major agribusinesses, spawned international migrations, and transformed great swaths of the Honduran environment into monocultures susceptible to plant disease epidemics that in turn changed Central American livelihoods. Soluri also looks at labor practices and workers' lives, changing gender roles on the banana plantations, the effects of pesticides on the Honduran environment and people, and the mass marketing of bananas to consumers in the United States. His multifaceted account of a century of banana production and consumption adds an important chapter to the history of Honduras, as well as to the larger history of globalization and its effects on rural peoples, local economies, and biodiversity.
Becoming Creole explores how people become who they are through their relationships with the natural world, and it shows how those relationships are also always embedded in processes of racialization that create blackness, brownness, and whiteness. Taking the reader into the lived experience of Afro-Caribbean people who call the watery lowlands of Belize home, Melissa A. Johnson traces Belizean Creole peoples’ relationships with the plants, animals, water, and soils around them, and analyzes how these relationships intersect with transnational racial assemblages. She provides a sustained analysis of how processes of racialization are always present in the entanglements between people and the non-human worlds in which they live.
On an August evening around AD 600, residents of the Cerén village in the Zapotitán Valley of what is now El Salvador were sitting down to their nightly meal when ground tremors and loud steam emissions warned of an impending volcanic eruption. The villagers fled, leaving their town to be buried under five meters of volcanic ash and forgotten until a bulldozer uncovered evidence of the extraordinarily preserved town in 1976. The most intact Precolumbian village in Latin America, Cerén has been called the "Pompeii of the New World." This book and its accompanying CD-ROM and website (ceren.colorado.edu) present complete and detailed reports of the excavations carried out at Cerén since 1978 by a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, ethnographers, volcanologists, geophysicists, botanists, conservators, and others. The book is divided into sections that discuss the physical environment and resources, household structures and economy, special buildings and their uses, artifact analysis, and topical and theoretical issues. As the authors present and analyze Cerén’s houses and their goods, workshops, civic and religious buildings, kitchen gardens, planted fields, and garbage dumps, a new and much clearer picture of how commoners lived during the Maya Classic Period emerges. These findings constitute landmark contributions to the anthropology and archaeology of Central America.
In the continuing U.S. debate over illegal immigration, a human face has rarely been shown. The topic has been presented as a monolithic abstraction, a creation of statistics, political rhetoric, and fear. This collection of letters between undocumented immigrants in California and their families back home reveals the other side of the story. Published for the first time in paperback, Between the Lines reveals the often poignant human drama currently being played out along the U.S.-Mexico border. The letters, presented in Spanish and English, express powerful feelings of hope, uncertainty, and fear among the undocumented travelers as they arrive in the United States and seek work, social support and legal status. The letters from their families in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador return feelings of hope, love, and support. Translator/editor Siems provides a powerful and lyrical introductory essay that sets the stage for the letters that follow.
During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders. Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.
Winner of the 2021 Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide Honorable Mention, 2020 CALACS Book Prize
Beyond Repair? explores Mayan women’s agency in the search for redress for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state in the early 1980s at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book draws on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women who are seeking truth, justice, and reparation for the violence they experienced during the war, and the women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries for over a decade. Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes use the concept of “protagonism” to deconstruct dominant psychological discursive constructions of women as “victims,” “survivors,” “selves,” “individuals,” and/or “subjects.” They argue that at different moments Mayan women have been actively engaged as protagonists in constructivist and discursive performances through which they have narrated new, mobile meanings of “Mayan woman,” repositioning themselves at the interstices of multiple communities and in their pursuit of redress for harm suffered.
Throughout the 1980s, Barricada, the official daily newspaper of the ruling Sandinista Front, played the standard role of a party organ, seeking the mobilize the Nicaraguan public to support the revolutionary agenda. Beyond the Barricades, however, reveals a story that is both more intriguing and much more complex. Even during this period of sweeping transformation and outside military siege, another, more professional agenda also motivated Barricada’s journalists and editors.
When the Sandinistas unexpectedly fell from power in the 1990 elections, Barricada gained a substantial degree of autonomy that allowed it to explore a more balanced and nuanced journalism “in the national interest.” This new orientation, however, ran afoul of more orthodox party leaders, who gradually gained the upper hand in the bitter internal struggle that wracked the Sandinista Front in the early 1990s. The paper closed its doors in January 1998.
Adam Jones’s outstanding study offers an unprecedented behin-the-scenes looks at Barricada’s two decades of evolution and dissolution. It also presents an intimate portrait of a key revolutionary institution and the memorable individuals who were a part of it.
Narratives of the 1960s typically describe an ascending arc of political activism that peaked in 1968, then began a precipitous descent as the revolutionary dreams of the New Left failed to come to fruition. The May 1970 killings at Kent State often stand as an epitaph to a decade of protest, after which the principal story becomes the resurgence of the right.
In Beyond Vietnam: The Politics of Protest in Massachusetts, 1974–1990, Robert Surbrug challenges this prevailing paradigm by examining three protest movements that were direct descendants of Vietnam-era activism: the movement against nuclear energy; the nuclear weapons freeze movement; and the Central American solidarity movement. Drawing lessons from the successes and failures of the preceding era, these movements had a significant impact on the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which itself had been undergoing major transformations in the wake of the 1960s.
By focusing on one state—Massachusetts—Surbrug is able to illuminate the interaction between the activist left and mainstream liberalism, showing how each influenced the other and how together they helped shape the politics of the 1970s and 1980s. During these years, Massachusetts emerged as a center of opposition to nuclear power, the continuing Cold War arms race, and Ronald Reagan's interventionist policies in Central America. The state's role in national policy was greatly enhanced by prominent political figures such as Senator Edward Kennedy, Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, presidential candidate Governor Michael Dukakis, Vietnam veteran Senator John Kerry, and moderate Republican Silvio Conte.
What Beyond Vietnam shows is that the rise of the right in the aftermath of the 1960s was by no means a unilateral ascendancy. Instead it involved a bifurcation of American politics in which an increasingly strong conservative movement was vigorously contested by an activist left and a reinvigorated mainstream liberalism.
Bitter Fruit is a comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power.
Many of the earliest Africans to arrive in the Americas came to Central America with Spanish colonists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and people of African descent constituted the majority of nonindigenous populations in the region long thereafter. Yet in the development of national identities and historical consciousness, Central American nations have often countenanced widespread practices of social, political, and regional exclusion of blacks. The postcolonial development of mestizo or mixed-race ideologies of national identity have systematically downplayed African ancestry and social and political involvement in favor of Spanish and Indian heritage and contributions. In addition, a powerful sense of place and belonging has led many peoples of African descent in Central America to identify themselves as something other than African American, reinforcing the tendency of local and foreign scholars to see Central America as peripheral to the African diaspora in the Americas. The essays in this collection begin to recover the forgotten and downplayed histories of blacks in Central America, demonstrating the centrality of African Americans to the region’s history from the earliest colonial times to the present. They reveal how modern nationalist attempts to define mixed-race majorities as “Indo-Hispanic,” or as anything but African American, clash with the historical record of the first region of the Americas in which African Americans not only gained the right to vote but repeatedly held high office, including the presidency, following independence from Spain in 1821.
Contributors. Rina Cáceres Gómez, Lowell Gudmundson, Ronald Harpelle, Juliet Hooker, Catherine Komisaruk, Russell Lohse, Paul Lokken, Mauricio Meléndez Obando, Karl H. Offen, Lara Putnam, Justin Wolfe
Over the latter half of the twentieth century, the Guatemalan state slaughtered more than two hundred thousand of its citizens. In the wake of this violence, a vibrant pan-Mayan movement has emerged, one that is challenging Ladino (non-indigenous) notions of citizenship and national identity. In The Blood of Guatemala Greg Grandin locates the origins of this ethnic resurgence within the social processes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century state formation rather than in the ruins of the national project of recent decades. Focusing on Mayan elites in the community of Quetzaltenango, Grandin shows how their efforts to maintain authority over the indigenous population and secure political power in relation to non-Indians played a crucial role in the formation of the Guatemalan nation. To explore the close connection between nationalism, state power, ethnic identity, and political violence, Grandin draws on sources as diverse as photographs, public rituals, oral testimony, literature, and a collection of previously untapped documents written during the nineteenth century. He explains how the cultural anxiety brought about by Guatemala’s transition to coffee capitalism during this period led Mayan patriarchs to develop understandings of race and nation that were contrary to Ladino notions of assimilation and progress. This alternative national vision, however, could not take hold in a country plagued by class and ethnic divisions. In the years prior to the 1954 coup, class conflict became impossible to contain as the elites violently opposed land claims made by indigenous peasants. This “history of power” reconsiders the way scholars understand the history of Guatemala and will be relevant to those studying nation building and indigenous communities across Latin America.
Brings together for the first time, a broad spectrum of bioarchaeologists and reveals remarkable data on Maya genetic relationship, demographic, and diseases
During the last 20 years new techniques in osteology have yielded findings on Maya diet and health that challenge the ecological model of collapse. This volume, which includes an index bibliography of the first 150 years of Maya osteology, brings together for the first time a broad spectrum of bioarchaeologists and reveals remarkable data on Maya genetic relationship, demographic, and diseases.
Carl Armstrong / Jane E. Buikstra / Diane Z. Chase / Mark N. Cohen / Della Collins Cook / Marie Elaine Danforth / Andres del Angel / Robert E. Ferrell / John P. Gerry / Karen D. Gettelman / Lorena M. Havill / Keith P. Jacobi / Harold W. Krueger / Nora M. Lopez Olivares / Lourdes Marquez / Virginia K. Massey / D. Andrew Merriwether / Kathleen O'Connor / K. Anne Pyburn / David M. Reed / Frank P. Saul / Julie Mather Saul / D. Gentry Steele / Rebecca Storey / Diane M. Warren / David Webster / Christine D. White / Stephen L. Whittington / Lori E. Wright
The construction, maintenance, and defense of the Panama Canal brought Panamanians, U.S. soldiers and civilians, West Indians, Asians, and Latin Americans into close, even intimate, contact. In this lively and provocative social history, Michael E. Donoghue positions the Panama Canal Zone as an imperial borderland where U.S. power, culture, and ideology were projected and contested. Highlighting race as both an overt and underlying force that shaped life in and beyond the Zone, Donoghue details how local traditions and colonial policies interacted and frequently clashed. Panamanians responded to U.S. occupation with proclamations, protests, and everyday forms of resistance and acquiescence. Although U.S. "Zonians" and military personnel stigmatized Panamanians as racial inferiors, they also sought them out for service labor, contraband, sexual pleasure, and marriage. The Canal Zone, he concludes, reproduced classic colonial hierarchies of race, national identity, and gender, establishing a model for other U.S. bases and imperial outposts around the globe.
During the 1980s war in El Salvador, Radio Venceremos was the main news outlet for the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), the guerrilla organization that challenged the government. The broadcast provided a vital link between combatants in the mountains and the outside world, as well as an alternative to mainstream media reporting. In this first-person account, "Santiago," the legend behind Radio Venceremos, tells the story of the early years of that conflict, a rebellion of poor peasants against the Salvadoran government and its benefactor, the United States.
Originally published as La Terquedad del Izote, this memoir also addresses the broader story of a nationwide rebellion and its international context, particularly the intensifying Cold War and heavy U.S. involvement in it under President Reagan. By the war's end in 1992, more than 75,000 were dead and 350,000 wounded—in a country the size of Massachusetts. Although outnumbered and outfinanced, the rebels fought the Salvadoran Army to a draw and brought enough bargaining power to the negotiating table to achieve some of their key objectives, including democratic reforms and an overhaul of the security forces.
Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador is a riveting account from the rebels' point of view that lends immediacy to the Salvadoran conflict. It should appeal to all who are interested in historic memory and human rights, U.S. policy toward Central America, and the role the media can play in wartime.