Roundtable Transnationalism and the Citizen: Solidarity and Human Rights in Cold War Latin America

AHA Session 43
Conference on Latin American History 12
Friday, January 7, 2011: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
Fairfield Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Margaret Power, Illinois Institute of Technology
Eric Zolov, Stony Brook University

Session Abstract

This panel examines the political discourses of transnational identity, affiliation, and ethics that emerged and evolved during the Cold War in Latin America. It seeks to understand the discursive framing of projects of humanitarian aid and intervention, from the work of transnational solidarity groups, civil society organizations, and alliance networks, to grassroots and international NGO work following, particularly following periods of dictatorship and war. The papers to be presented seek to investigate the way in which transnationalism, as an emergent set of institutions, processes, and interrelations, has fostered affinities and social ties that seemingly transcend the borders of nation, race, and ethnicity, specifically in terms of the construction of A) political identities, B) humanitarianism, and C) cross-cultural empathies.

Because the study of transnational institutions and processes relies heavily on the examination of the circulation of ideas between places often very distant and disparate, this panel approaches its subject from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives. For postcolonial and cultural historical theorists, and those influenced by their thought throughout the humanities and social sciences, the study of the history and development of solidarity movements, human rights organizations, citizenship advocacy, and humanitarianism has taken on a number of new directions and has advanced a variety of critical perspectives. This panel examines new dialectical spaces and understandings that cut-across these concerns and make intelligible the way they inform each other, setting these approaches within a critical geography. These papers and discussion will speak to the issue of generating more comprehensive narratives and understandings of the Cold War while simultaneously illuminating the complex linkages, networks, and actors of the transnational Global South.

The anticipated audience for the panel would be those historians and other scholars interested in new dimensions of research on citizenship, human rights, and solidarity networks. It would also appeal to a broad audience of scholars working on the Cold War, particularly those with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. As transnational history and culture studies are both areas of tremendous dynamism across the field, this panel may also be of interest to the general conference in that it aims to present overtures towards a critical topography of theory from the perspective of history.

See more of: AHA Sessions