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Tantas Américas

Charles Jones 

The objective of the session is to put in question the conventional divisions of the Western hemisphere and, most of all, the coherence of Latin America.

Topics covered will include the difficulty encountered by European theologians as they incorporated the newly discovered continent into their scheme of thought, the contrasting fortunes of European colonial projects in the Americas, the origins of the concept of Latin America, the project of a common history of the Americas, the inclusion of the USA and Canada in a ‘West’ that includes Western Europe but not the rest of America, and the growing detachment of South America. The session raises methodological issues about the status of plausibility probes and the thought experiments, and about the political uses of history.

Required Reading (these four readings are on Moodle)

•    Edmundo O’Gorman, The Invention of America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961) especially pp. 127-45.
•    Laurence Whitehead, Latin America: A New Interpretation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), Chapter 1.
•    Lewis Hanke (ed.) Do the Americas Have a Common History?: A Critique of the Bolton Theory (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964).
•    Charles A. Jones, American Civilization (London: ILAS, 2007), especially Chapter 1.

Further Reading

•    John H. Coatsworth, ’Economic and Institutional Trajectories in Nineteenth-Century Latin America’ in John H. Coatsworth and Alan Taylor (eds.) Latin America and the World Economy since 1800 (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).
•    Walter D. Mignolo, The Idea of Latin America (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005) especially pp. 57-71.
•    Carlos Altamirano, Para un programa de historia intellectual y otros ensayos (Argentina 2005) Chapter 5 ‘América Latina en espejos argentinos’.
•    Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, North and South America: A Discourse Delivered Before the Rhode Island Historical Society, December 27, 1875 (Rhode Island, 1866).