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"El Chapo. The Untold Story of the World's Most Infamous Drug Lord" (Atria Books, 2021) is a stunning investigation of the life and legend of Mexican kingpin Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, building on Noah Hurowitz’s revelatory coverage for Rolling Stone of El Chapo’s federal drug-trafficking trial. This is the true story of how El Cha…
 
In 1974, the International Congress on World Evangelization met in Lausanne, Switzerland. Gathering together nearly 2,500 Protestant evangelical leaders from more than 150 countries and 135 denominations, it rivaled Vatican II in terms of its influence. But as David C. Kirkpatrick argues in A Gospel for the Poor: Global Social Christianity and the …
 
Fair trade certified coffee is now commonly found on the supermarket shelves of the Global North, but the connections between the consumer and producer of fair trade coffee are far from simple. Lindsay Naylor’s book, Fair Trade Rebels: Coffee Production and Struggles for Autonomy in Chiapas (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), examines the contes…
 
During the independence era in Mexico, individuals and factions of all stripes embraced the printing press as a key weapon in the broad struggle for political power. In Ink under the Fingernails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-century Mexico (University of California Press, 2021) historian Corinna Zeltsman takes readers into the printing shops, go…
 
"On the outskirts of Havana lies Mazorra, an asylum known to--and at times feared by--ordinary Cubans for over a century. Since its founding in 1857, the island's first psychiatric hospital has been an object of persistent political attention. Drawing on hospital documents and government records, as well as the popular press, photographs, and oral …
 
On this episode of the Economic and Business History channel, I spoke with Dr. Victoria Basualdo and Dr. Marcelo Bucheli about their new edited book. Big Business and Dictatorships in Latin America: A Transnational History of Profits and Repression (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) is an edited volume that studies the relationship between big business and…
 
Bonar L. Hernández Sandoval's Guatemala's Catholic Revolution: A History of Religious and Social Reform, 1920-1968 (U Notre Dame Press, 2018) is an account of the resurgence of Guatemalan Catholicism during the twentieth century. By the late 1960s, an increasing number of Mayan peasants had emerged as religious and social leaders in rural Guatemala…
 
Stanley Mirvis' The Jews of Eighteenth-Century Jamaica: A Testamentary History of a Diaspora in Transition (Yale University Press, 2020) offers an in-depth look at the Portuguese Jews of Jamaica and their connections to broader European and Atlantic trade networks. Based on last wills and testaments composed by Jamaican Jews between 1673 and 1815, …
 
I had the pleasure of interviewing my mentor, Dr. Michael J. Bustamante on his first monograph, Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile which was published in March 2021 as part of the Envisioning Cuba series by the University of North Carolina Press. "For many Cubans, Fidel Castro's Revolution represented deliverance from…
 
In 1804, King Charles IV of Spain enacted a royal order mandating the postmortem cesarean procedure in all of Spain's dominions. The Audiencia de Guatemala, way back in 1785, had already enacted a law mandating postmortem cesareans for all deceased pregnant women and even those suspected of being pregnant when they had passed away. Audiencias of ot…
 
Fields of Revolution: Agrarian Reform and Rural State Formation in Bolivia, 1935-1964, published in 2021 by the University of Pittsburgh Press is a ground-breaking study of Bolivia’s revolutionary experiment in peasant land redistribution during the second half of the twentieth century. In 1953, the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) began a …
 
For over a century Mexico has been embroiled in a drug war dictated by the demands of their neighbor to the north. In The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade (W. W. Norton, 2021), Benjamin T. Smith offers a history of the trade and its effects upon the people of Mexico. As he reveals, at the start of the 20th century drugs such as mari…
 
I sat down with Dr. Tiffany Sippial to talk about her latest book, Celia Sanchez Manduley: The Life and Legacy of a Cuban Revolutionary (University of North Carolina Press, 2020). Celia Sanchez Manduley (1920-1980) is famous for her role in the Cuban revolution and being the "first female guerrilla of the Sierra Maestra." Sanchez joined the movemen…
 
In Dancing with the Revolution: Power, Politics, and Privilege in Cuba (UNC Press, 2021), Elizabeth B. Schwall aligns culture and politics by focusing on an art form that became a darling of the Cuban revolution: dance. In this history of staged performance in ballet, modern dance, and folkloric dance, Schwall analyzes how and why dance artists int…
 
La Paz's Colonial Specters: Urbanization, Migration, and Indigenous Political Participation, 1900-52 (Bloomsbury, 2021) explores the urban history of one of Latin America’s most indigenous large cities in the first half of the twentieth century. Tracing the expansion of the “extramuro,” indigenous neighborhoods beyond the center of the city in thes…
 
What makes some cities world class? Increasingly, that designation reflects the use of a toolkit of urban planning practices and policies that circulates around the globe. These strategies—establishing creative districts dedicated to technology and design, “greening” the streets, reinventing historic districts as tourist draws—were deployed to buil…
 
In Finding Afro-Mexico: Race and Nation after the Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Theodore Cohen examines the ways in which different protagonists sought to incorporate Blackness into Mexican national identity. After the Revolution in 1910, a group of intellectuals, researchers, and cultural producers elaborated on the meanings of Bla…
 
Psychoanalysis began as a politicized form of treatment for people from all walks of life. Yet in the United States, it has become divorced from these roots and transformed into a depoliticized treatment for the most well-to-do, according to my guests, Drs. Patricia Gherovici and Christopher Christian. Their edited book, Psychoanalysis in the Barri…
 
Pablo Palomino's The Invention of Latin American Music (Oxford UP, 2020) reconstructs the transnational history of the category of Latin American music during the first half of the twentieth century, from a longer perspective that begins in the nineteenth century and extends the narrative until the present. It analyzes intellectual, commercial, sta…
 
In today’s interview, we speak with Dr. Jon Gordon, incoming Assistant Professor of Sociology at Appalachian State University, who tells us about his research with criminalized men in an armed group in a marginal neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia. Jon tells us how his experiences as a teacher in both Chicago and Medellín got him interested in stud…
 
Paola Hernandez's book Staging Lives in Latin American Theater: Bodies, Objects, Archives (Northwestern UP, 2021) looks at a wide range of documentary theatre practices across South and Central America, including the plays of Guillermo Calderón, the biodramas of Vivi Tellas, and the autobiographical reenactments of Lola Arias. Throughout, she exami…
 
Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández's book Narratives of Vulnerability in Mexico's War on Drugs (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020) explores the current human rights crisis created by the War on Drugs in Mexico. It focuses on three vulnerable communities that have felt the impacts of this war firsthand: undocumented Central American migrants in transit to the Unite…
 
Today we are joined by Stephen Allen, Associate Professor of History at California State University, Bakersfield, and the author of A History of Boxing in Mexico: Masculinity, Modernity and Nationalism (University of New Mexico Press, 2017). In our conversation, we discussed the origins of boxing in Mexico, the local and transnational logics of its…
 
In The Frontier Effect: State Formation and Violence in Colombia (Cornell UP, 2020), Teo Ballvé challenges the notion that in Urabá, Colombia, the cause of the region's violent history and unruly contemporary condition is the absence of the state. Although he takes this locally oft-repeated claim seriously, he demonstrates that Urabá is more than a…
 
Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2021) provides an urgent and nuanced portrait of collective action that resists racial capitalism, colonialism, and climate disruption. Weaving together historical and ethnographic research, this story challenges the master narratives of Pu…
 
How can scholars use digital tools to better understand the African diaspora across time, space, and disciplines? And how can African diaspora studies inform the practices of digital humanities? These questions are at the heart of this timely collection of essays about the relationship between digital humanities and Black Atlantic studies, offering…
 
Germán Campos Muñoz, The Classics in South America: Five Case Studies (Bloomsbury, 2021) examines the long and complex history of the Greco-Roman tradition in South America, arguing that the Classics have played a crucial, though often overlooked, role in the self-definition in the New World. Chronicling and theorizing this history through a detail…
 
No Laughing Matter: Race Joking and Resistance in Brazilian Social Media (Vernon Press, 2020) examines the social phenomenon of construction and dissemination of colonial-like racist discourses fostered against upwardly-mobile black women through disparagement humour on social media platforms, adopting a fresh and innovative perspective. In this bo…
 
In Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture (University of Alabama Press, 2020), Dr. Mariusz Kałczewiak, senior research associate and lecturer in the Eastern European studies department at the University of Potsdam, recreates a mosaic of entanglements that Jewish migration wove betwee…
 
Contrary to claims that socialism opposed the family unit, in Laboring for the State : Women, Family, and Work in Revolutionary Cuba, 1959-1971 (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Rachel Hynson argues that the revolutionary Cuban government engaged in social engineering to redefine the nuclear family and organize citizens to serve the state. Drawing…
 
Javier Guerrero's "Narcosubmarines: Outlaw Innovation and Maritime Interdiction in the War on Drugs" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020) is about the encounters of Colombian drug smugglers and the Colombian Navy, both in the open seas and along coastlines. Guerrero specifically examines the technologies involved in the War on Drugs, such as the narcosubmari…
 
Edited by Dr. Cécile Fromont, Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition (Penn State University Press, 2019), demonstrates how, from the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade, enslaved and free Africans in the Americas used Catholicism and Christian-derived celebrations as spaces…
 
In Another Aesthetics Is Possible: Arts of Rebellion in the Fourth World War (Duke UP, 2021), Jennifer Ponce de León examines the roles that art can play in the collective labour 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…
 
Bossa Mundo: Brazilian Music in Transnational Media Industries (Oxford University Press, 2020) takes on the circulation of Brazilian music in the Global North since the 1960s. The challenge faced by Brazilian musicians who wish to break into Anglophone markets is formidable. They must deal with the demoralizing effects of the exoticization of the m…
 
Forging Ties, Forging Passports: Migration and the Modern Sephardi Diaspora (Stanford University Press, 2020) is a history of migration and nation-building from the vantage point of those who lived between states. Author Devi Mays traces the histories of Ottoman Sephardi Jews who emigrated to the Americas—and especially to Mexico—in the late ninete…
 
Bounded by desert and mountains, El Centro, California, is isolated and difficult to reach. However, its location close to the border between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona, has made it an important place for Mexican migrants attracted to the valley’s agricultural economy. In 1945, it also became home to the El Centro Immigration Detention Camp. The S…
 
Ethnic Mexicans living in the United States have always struggled to understand their position within the fabric of the nation-state. The groups that fall under the banner of “ethnic Mexican,” however, are complex. They include Mexican nationals fleeing war in the early 1900s, U.S.-born Mexican Americans asserting themselves as firstly American, an…
 
Cristina Beltrán has written a thoughtful and interrogating analysis of the concept of citizenship, particularly in the United States, and how the history of the United States as a country has shaped an understanding of who gets to be “belong” as a member of this society. The book, Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democr…
 
Swashbuckling tales of valiant gauchos roaming Argentina and Uruguay were nineteenth-century Latin American best sellers. But when these stories jumped from the page to the circus stage and beyond, their cultural, economic, and political influence revolutionized popular culture and daily life. In Staging Frontiers: The Making of Modern Popular Cult…
 
Um retrato original da Bahia no século XIX, num livro cheio de movimento e vozes, sobretudo da gente negra. Em Ganhadores: A Greve Negra de 1857 na Bahia (Companhia das Letras, 2019), o historiador João José Reis reconstitui a história dos negros de ganho, ou ganhadores, protagonistas de uma insólita greve que paralisou o transporte na capital baia…
 
Eleni Kefala's book The Conquered: Byzantium and America on the Cusp of Modernity (Dumbarton Oaks, 2021) probes issues of collective memory and cultural trauma in three sorrowful poems composed soon after the conquest of Constantinople and Tenochtitlán. These texts describe the fall of an empire as a fissure in the social fabric and an open wound o…
 
In the late nineteenth century, Spanish intellectuals and entrepreneurs became captivated with Hispanism, a movement of transatlantic rapprochement between Spain and Latin America. Not only was this movement envisioned as a form of cultural empire to symbolically compensate for Spain?s colonial decline but it was also imagined as an opportunity to …
 
Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indigenous president, won reelection three times on a leftist platform championing Indigenous rights, anti-imperialism, and Bolivian control over the country's natural gas reserves. In Bolivia in the Age of Gas (Duke UP, 2020), Bret Gustafson explores how the struggle over natural gas has reshaped Bolivia, along with th…
 
In Black Market Capital Urban Politics and the Shadow Economy in Mexico City (University of California Press, 2018), Andrew Konove traces the history of illicit commerce in Mexico City from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, showing how it became central to the economic and political life of the city. The story centers on the untold history …
 
Megan Ryburn’s Uncertain Citizenship: Everyday Practices of Bolivian Migrants in Chile (University of California Press, 2018) is a multi-sited ethnography of citizenship practices of Bolivian migrants in Chile. The book asks readers to think beyond a binary category of citizen/noncitizen when looking at migrant practices and spaces. Instead, Uncert…
 
Though poverty and vagrancy as social phenomena greatly preoccupied authorities of Colonial Mexico, the social and individual lives of vagabonds and strangers of Spanish American early modernity remain elusive to the historian. In his new book, Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico (University of California…
 
The western travel narrative genre has a history long tied to voyeurism and conquest. A way to see the world—and its many unique people and places—through the eyes of mostly white and male travelers. In an increasingly globalized world, many writers are beginning to raise questions about the ethics of travel writing and its tropes, especially the w…
 
Allison B. Wolf's Just Immigration in the Americas: A Feminist Account (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020) proposes a pioneering, interdisciplinary, feminist approach to immigration justice, which defines immigration justice as being about identifying and resisting global oppression in immigration structures, policies, practices, and norms. In contrast …
 
How can Sociology be nudged away from its traditional parochialism to embrace empirical work that focuses on the global south? Marco Garrido (assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago) and Victoria Reyes (assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside) are the editors of a recent special issue of Con…
 
In Cartographies of Youth Resistance: Hip-Hop, Punk, and Urban Autonomy in Mexico (U California Press, 2020), based on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork, Maurice Magaña considers how urban and migrant youth in Oaxaca embrace subcultures from hip-hop to punk and adopt creative organizing practices to create meaningful channels of participation in l…
 
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