False Documents: Inter-American Cultural History, Literature, and the Lost Decade (1975–1992) examines the “return of history” that swept across the Americas during the final two decades of the Cold War as Latin American nations redemocratized and US multiculturalism responded to the conservative bicentennial backlash. Revising the predominantly economic and isolationist accounts of the era, Frans Weiser examines the work of journalists and academics from Hispanic America, Brazil, and the United States who adopted fiction to document recent national discord, repositioning challenges to self-determination in a postnational context.
After deconstructing economic accounts of the “two Americas" model of the hemisphere, including the lost decade (1981–1992) and the “end of history” (1975–1992), Weiser considers six case studies during the same period that reach very different conclusions by drawing on cultural history, including works by Tomás Eloy Martínez, Laura Antillano, Ana Maria Machado, Silviano Santiago, John Updike, and Jay Cantor. In order to expose how governments controlled and misrepresented recent events, these writers created false documents, or fake historical texts, that presented themselves as legitimate eyewitness accounts or archival documents. Weiser establishes how this alternative to postmodern irony more effectively galvanized citizen responses. As the first book to contextualize the parallel, hemispheric evolutions of postwar literary criticism and cultural historiography, False Documents responds to the methodological impasse between Latin American and American studies as well as the antagonism between history and literature, arguing that collaboration and synthesis are particularly vital at a moment when the humanities is increasingly under attack.
In many Latin American countries, guerrilla struggle and feminism have been linked in surprising ways. Women were mobilized by the thousands to promote revolutionary agendas that had little to do with increasing gender equality. They ended up creating a uniquely Latin American version of feminism that combined revolutionary goals of economic equality and social justice with typically feminist aims of equality, nonviolence, and reproductive rights.Drawing on more than two hundred interviews with women in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the Mexican state of Chiapas, Karen Kampwirth tells the story of how the guerrilla wars led to the rise of feminism, why certain women became feminists, and what sorts of feminist movements they built. Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas explores how the violent politics of guerrilla struggle could be related to the peaceful politics of feminism. It considers the gains, losses, and internal conflicts within revolutionary women’s organizations. Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution challenges old assumptions regarding revolutionary movements and the legacy of those movements for the politics of daily life. It will appeal to a broad, interdisciplinary audience in political science, sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, and Latin American studies as well as to general readers with an interest in international feminism.
Smallpox, measles, and typhus. The scourges of lethal disease—as threatening in colonial Mesoamerica as in other parts of the world—called for widespread efforts and enlightened attitudes to battle the centuries-old killers of children and adults. Even before edicts from Spain crossed the Atlantic, colonial elites oftentimes embraced medical experimentation and reform in the name of the public good, believing it was their moral responsibility to apply medical innovations to cure and prevent disease. Their efforts included the first inoculations and vaccinations against smallpox, new strategies to protect families and communities from typhus and measles, and medical interventions into pregnancy and childbirth.
For All of Humanity examines the first public health campaigns in Guatemala, southern Mexico, and Central America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Martha Few pays close attention to Indigenous Mesoamerican medical cultures, which not only influenced the shape and scope of those regional campaigns but also affected the broader New World medical cultures. The author reconstructs a rich and complex picture of the ways colonial doctors, surgeons, Indigenous healers, midwives, priests, government officials, and ordinary people engaged in efforts to prevent and control epidemic disease.
Few’s analysis weaves medical history and ethnohistory with social, cultural, and intellectual history. She uses prescriptive texts, medical correspondence, and legal documents to provide rich ethnographic descriptions of Mesoamerican medical cultures, their practitioners, and regional pharmacopeia that came into contact with colonial medicine, at times violently, during public health campaigns.
During his years of leadership in the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev initiated revolutionary changes in that country's foreign and domestic policies. A Foreign Policy in Transition charts the changing Soviet policies toward Central America and the Caribbean during the Gorbachev years, examines the effects of these policies on individual countries, and looks to the role that Russia and the other Soviet-successor states will play in this region in the 1990s. Jan S. Adams analyzes the factors shaping Gorbachev's foreign policy in Central America by surveying Soviet political views old and new, by describing Gorbachev's bold restructuring of the Soviet foreign policy establishment, and by assessing the implications of his policy of perestroika. A series of country studies demonstrates how changes in Soviet policies and domestic and economic circumstances contributed to significant shifts in the internal conditions and external relations of the Central American and Caribbean nations. Adams discusses in detail such topics as the reduction of Soviet military and economic aid to the region and pressures exerted by Moscow on client states to effect the settlement of regional conflicts by political rather than military means. The author concludes by speculating about which trends in foreign policy by Russia and other Soviet-successor states toward Central America and the Caribbean may persist in the post-Soviet period, discussing as the implications of these changes for future U.S. policy in the region.
In 1980 El Salvador was plunged into a bloody civil war, and Luis Campos, a peasant farmer, found himself drawn into a deadly political maelstrom of guerrilla fighting for twelve years. In this collection of fascinating and revealing oral histories, Gorkin and Pineda portray the personal and social lives of Luis and his family, who for the past eighteen years have been working to rebuild their lives in their new community beneath the Guazapa volcano.
Luis, his mother, his wife, his in-laws, his children, and some neighbors recall in a simple and often eloquent manner their experiences of everyday life before, during, and after the civil war. Nina Bonafacia, Luis’s mother, tells of the days before the war when two of her daughters were murdered and she fled with her family to a refugee camp. Julia, Luis’s wife, recounts her life as a guerrillera during which, incidentally, she gave birth to the first two of her eight children. Joaquin, a neighbor and comrade-in-arms, discusses how he and others took control of the land of Comunidad Guazapa and began rebuilding in those turbulent days and months right after the war. Margarita and Francisco, the two oldest children, with candor and insight discuss the trajectory of their lives and that of the postwar generation. And at the center of all these stories stands Luis, the guerrillero, farmer, neighbor, husband, father—and raconteur par excellence.
In sum, the multiple voices in From Beneath the Volcano combine to form a rich tapestry displaying a story of war, family, and community and provide a never-before-seen view of both the past and present El Salvador.