Teaching American Dreams? Reflections on Hemispheric Approaches to Teaching and Research

AHA Session 108
Conference on Latin American History 26
Friday, January 3, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Columbia Hall 1 (Washington Hilton)
Camilo Trumper, University of California, Berkeley Celso Castilho, Vanderbilt University
The Caribbean Sea as “Estuary of the Americas”
Dalia A. Muller, University at Buffalo (State University of New York)
Views from the South? Teaching Hemispheric American Studies
Camilo Trumper, University of California, Berkeley

Session Abstract

This discussion-roundtable seeks to revive a conversation among
historians on the possibilities and limitations of hemispheric
approaches to teaching and research. On its own, this is hardly a
novel intervention—Herbert Bolton’s 1932 plenary address already
proposed more integrated studies of the “Greater America.”  Similarly,
the field of American Studies has recently turned to “transnational”
perspectives to rethink the relationship between the U.S. and its
neighbors.  However, hemispheric perspectives remain comparatively
underdeveloped within historical studies, with the exception of a
handful of recent research and one notable anthology. We argue that
this is a crucial time, from a disciplinary and a social standpoint to
intervene and reanimate this conversation, for it is from our teaching
and research that students will imagine a more complex, and possibly,
more entwined appreciation of the Americas; this roundtable addresses
key professional concerns that historians will face in the 21st
century.  This panel brings together US, Latin American, and Latino/a
scholars to exchange and present information on teaching survey and
thematic courses on “the Americas” to prompt debates on what is gained
and lost pedagogically from structuring classes around comparative and
transnational topics.  We will also explore how and why hemispheric
studies have been more readily practiced and theorized in American
Studies, English, and Spanish departments across the country.  If such
framing ultimately changes how we think of Hemispheric relationships
that entwine the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States and
Canada, what new sensibilities and vocabularies do we develop to also
address topics of current import including but not limited to
citizenship, immigration, drug wars and economic and environmental
histories, to name a few.  Last, we will direct attention to the roles
that research and funding institutes, as well as, academic departments
and centers, facilitate and/or hinder, historical scholarship on “the

See more of: AHA Sessions