Re-provincializing Latin America?

Saturday, January 4, 2014: 9:20 AM
Columbia Hall 5 (Washington Hilton)
Karin A. Rosemblatt, University of Maryland at College Park
My comments, a deliberate provocation, argue that global history has not led to sustained dialog between historians working on Latin America and historians working on other world areas. Nor has it lead to greater dialog between historians in US universities and their counterparts abroad. Taking my own scholarship and my university’s new program in Global Interaction and Exchange as starting points, I ask whether global history is not leading to the further marginalization of Latin American history within our profession. Perhaps most notably, we have made little headway in “provincializing” the United States. Historians of the United States now roam the world. But many have at best an uneven understanding of local realities outside the United States. Their dialog with non-US based scholars is generally limited to discussing the US role. The ease of access to archives located in the United States over those in Latin America only exacerbates this tendency. At the same time, with some notable exceptions, Latin American historians rarely write about the United States, except to explore its impact on Latin America. Transnational history has generally failed to take strong hold among scholars working in Latin America itself. Moreover, global history poses challenges to certain traditional foci of Latin American history as written in the United States, including the study of national and local politics and social movements, of indigenous politics, and of gendered and racialized processes of nation-state formation. Global history also poses challenges, though not insurmountable challenges, to entrenched methodologies like the local case study. And while global approaches reanimate the study of US interventions in Latin America, it is unclear whether and how newer histories are different from older approaches based on dependency theories.
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