Transnational Networks of the Americas

Conference on Latin American History 4
Thursday, January 5, 2012: 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Wrigleyville Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Jurgen Buchenau, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Julio Moreno, University of San Francisco

Session Abstract

Transnational Networks of the Americas

This panel examines the circulation of people, ideas, and capital in the Americas from the late nineteenth to the twentieth century.  Linking disparate groups and individuals, the transnational networks under examination brought together communities of activists, investors, politicians, developers, and diplomats. These encounters and relationships suggest new ways for examining domestic politics and foreign relations through a transnational framework.

Evan R. Ward argues that in the days of high oil prices and good credit of the 1970s, the re-development of tourism on the Pacific Coast of Mexico followed the dictates of international aid organizations (World Bank) rather than domestic priorities, resulting in unsustainable resort towns.  He questions the role of transnational organizations in this development process and expands our understanding of non-state actors.  Likewise, Dina Berger highlights the place of unofficial channels in policy formation, by examining early Pan-American Clubs.  She shows that ideas of Pan-Americanism held currency with men’s and women’s groups in the United States, but that their essentially gendered “American” understandings of this hemispheric ideal differed markedly from one another’s and from their Latin American counterparts.  Amelia M. Kiddle’s paper shows that gender also influenced the performance of nationalism among Mexico’s diplomatic officials from the late 19th through the mid-20th century.  The participation of the diplomatic community in duels betrayed the persistence of patriarchal conceptions of a feminized nation and the enduring nature of ideas regarding masculine honor and the national defense that were prevalent in the international affairs.  Andrew Paxman, by contrast, shows how international affairs and ideas were reflected domestically in the political evolution of Mexico’s official party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) during the 1960s.  Through gringophobia domestic politicians explained a polarized world as the result of capitalism, which was personified in their attitudes towards the controversial American capitalist William O. Jenkins. 

Taken together, panelists will show how domestic political processes were reflected and their outcomes influenced by the networks that linked the national to the international. They will also shed light on the oft-overlooked international ideas, institutions, and individuals who formed transnational communities throughout the Americas.