Is Latin America experiencing a resurgence of leftwing governments, or are we seeing a rebirth of national-radical populism? Are the governments of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa becoming institutionalized as these leaders claim novel models of participatory and direct democracy? Or are they reenacting older traditions that have favored plebiscitary acclamation and clientelist distribution of resources to loyal followers?
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.
The Carnivalesque Defunto explores the representations of death and the dead in Brazil’s collective and literary imagination. The recurring stereotype of Brazil as the land of samba, soccer, and sandy beaches overlooks a more complex cultural heritage in which, since colonial times, a relationship of proximity and reciprocity has been cultivated between the living and the dead.
Portuguese and Brazilian slave-traders shipped at least four million slaves to Brazil—in contrast to the five hundred thousand slaves that English vessels brought to the Americas. Controlling the vast number of slaves in Brazil became of primary importance. The Unpast: Elite Violence and Social Control in Brazil, 1954–2000 documents the ways in which the brutal methods used on plantations led directly to the phenomenon of Brazilian death squads.
Gabriela Mistral is the only Latin American woman writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Even so, her extraordinary achievements in poetry, narrative, and political essays remain largely untold. Gabriela Mistral: The Audacious Traveler explores boldly and thoughtfully the complex legacy of Mistral and the way in which her work continues to define Latin America.
“I imagine everyone has a center of gravity,” says Ellen Bromfield Geld. “Something which binds one to the earth and gives sense and direction to what one does.” For Ellen, this center is a writing table before a window that looks out upon groves of pecan trees and mahogany-colored cattle in seas of grass. The place is Fazenda Pau D’Alho, Brazil, where she and her husband, Carson, have lived and farmed since 1961.
In Taking Root, Latin American women of Jewish descent, from Mexico to Uruguay, recall their coming of age with Sabbath candles and Hebrew prayers, Ladino songs and merengue music, Queen Esther and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Rich and poor, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, Jewish immigrant families searched for a new home and identity in predominantly Catholic societies.
Kubitschek was one of the most important political leaders of Brazil during the twentieth century. As president, he pushed decisively for the industrialization of the largest of the Latin American nations. He also provided his country with the most democratic regime it had ever experienced. His leadership stimulated a flowering of Brazilian culture in literature, art, music, and architecture.