Thinking Hemispherically: Pan-American Periodicals, c. 1893–1948

Sunday, January 5, 2020
3rd Floor West Promenade (New York Hilton)
Mark Petersen, University of Dallas
David Morales, University of Dallas
Patrick Gomez, University of Dallas
This poster will introduce an ongoing effort to study and index two sources: the Bulletin of the Pan American Union, published from 1893 to 1948, and the Pan American Magazine, published from circa 1900 to 1933. The research project, which involves collaboration between faculty and undergraduates at the University of Dallas, aims to make these rich, yet underexplored, sources more accessible to historians, teachers, and students while also considering the implications the periodicals had on internationalism in the Americas in the twentieth century. The poster will offer both a detailed look at the sources and their contents as well as initial conclusions about how publications such as these helped create and define space to think hemispherically.

One aim of the poster is to highlight the periodicals as sources for historians of the Americas. The Bulletin was the official publication of the intergovernmental Pan American Union established in 1890. The Pan American Magazine began as a private enterprise by William W. Rasor, a U.S. citizen living in Mexico City. It later relocated to New Orleans and then New York, occasionally with support from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and eventually under the aegis of the Geographic and Historical Society of the Americas. Both published in multiple languages and circulated throughout the hemisphere. They offered readers a wide array of information on commerce, culture, and current affairs in the Western Hemisphere, thus leaving behind an immense amount of data. The poster will outline the network of individuals and institutions involved, the geographical distribution of article subject matter and contributors, and the range of information the publications made available. The periodicals, which represented different approaches to defining the hemisphere and hemispheric internationalism, are of particular interest for research in the international history of the Americas.

The poster will also contribute to ongoing historical discussions about the proliferation of pan-American cooperation in the early twentieth century. As the origins of these periodicals suggest, pan-Americanism involved both inter-governmental and civil society initiatives. While the label “pan-Americanism” first appeared in the United States in the 1880s, and remained associated with U.S. hegemonic aspirations in the hemisphere thereafter, individuals and organizations throughout the Americas accepted it as a viable framework for internationalism. Why such actors began to think in pan-American terms has been the subject of several recent articles and monographs, including Millery Polyné’s 2010 From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti, and Pan Americanism, 1870-1964, Stephen Park’s 2014 The Pan American Imagination: Contested Visions of the Hemisphere in Twentieth-Century Literature, and Richard Cándida Smith’s 2017 Improvised Continent: Pan-Americanism and Cultural Exchange. The role that periodicals such as the Bulletin and Pan American Magazine played in encouraging a pan-American perspective, however, remains unclear and is the focus of this poster.

See more of: Poster Session #1
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