Pedro L. San Miguel, “Muchos Méxicos”. Imaginarios históricos sobre México en Estados Unidos

Pedro L. San Miguel, “Muchos Méxicos”. Imaginarios históricos sobre México en Estados Unidos. México: Instituto Mora, 2016.

“Muchos Méxicos”. Imaginarios históricos sobre México en Estados Unidos
Pedro L. San Miguel

$305.00 M.N.
México, 2016
367 pp., 2.10×2.10×22.40 cm.
ISBN 978-607-9475-50-5
Colección Historia Social y Cultural, Editorial Mora

Sobre el libro
Tanto en la “cultura popular” como en el mundo letrado, México es determinante en las concepciones acerca de América Latina existentes en Estados Unidos. Por ende, su historiografía en torno a México constituye un lugar privilegiado para explorar los “imaginarios históricos” sobre América Latina en dicho país. Tales imaginarios adquirieron novedosas connotaciones hacia la década de 1960 debido al cambio de paradigmas políticos y culturales, que incidió de formas complejas sobre el mundo intelectual, por lo cual la historiografía estadunidense sobre México comprende un espectro de posiciones. Ello es palpable al escudriñar a los historiadores “como autores”, explorando sus estrategias narrativas y las estructuras de sus relatos, así como las “palabras clave” que articulan sus obras. De tal modo se revela cómo las funciones retóricas operan en la historia. Y esto resalta las “políticas de representación” de la obra histórica, lo que remite a las posiciones éticas y políticas de su autor, emanadas, no sólo de las cuestiones académicas, sino, también, de los dilemas de su sociedad, su época, su identidad, su cultura. Se puede, pues, argumentar que México –y América Latina en general– ha fungido como un “espejo” en el cual los estadunidenses han auscultado la imagen de su propia nación y su sociedad. En lo que al corpus documental se refiere, esta investigación se centra en obras emblemáticas. El libro consta de dos secciones: la primera, “Relatos”, analiza las narraciones de un selecto grupo de historiadores, cada uno de los cuales ha contribuido a definir los patrones interpretativos y a instaurar los relatos arquetípicos en sus respectivas áreas de saber; la segunda, “Palabras clave”, explora cómo diversos autores han organizado sus historias en torno a determinados conceptos, verbigracia: “raza”/etnicidad, clase social y nación. Estos términos han sido centrales en la historiografía moderna, fungiendo de keywords de varias de las corrientes historiográficas. El libro culmina con unas “Reflexiones finales” en torno a las tradiciones intelectuales y a la producción del conocimiento histórico en general.

Sobre el autor
El autor (PhD, Historia de América Latina, Columbia University, 1987) es profesor jubilado por la Universidad de Puerto Rico, donde laboró entre 1986-2016. Amén de numerosos artículos y ensayos, es autor, entre otros libros, de: Los campesinos del Cibao: Economía de mercado y transformación agraria en la República Dominicana, 1880-1960 (1997, 2012); La isla imaginada: Historia, identidad y utopía en La Española (1997, 2007, en inglés 2005); La guerra silenciosa: Las luchas sociales en la ruralía dominicana (2004, 2011); y Crónicas de un embrujo: Ensayos sobre historia y cultura del Caribe hispano (2010, 2016). Actualmente tiene en elaboración el libro Intempestivas sobre Clío (Puerto Rico, el Caribe y América Latina). Ha sido Profesor/ Investigador Visitante en el Instituto Mora, México, y en la Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, República Dominicana.


Paul D. Naish, Slavery and Silence: Latin America and the U.S. Slave Debate

Paul D. Naish, Slavery and Silence: Latin America and the U.S. Slave Debate, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.

In the thirty-five years before the Civil War, it became increasingly difficult for Americans outside the world of politics to have frank and open discussions about the institution of slavery, as divisive sectionalism and heated ideological rhetoric circumscribed public debate. To talk about slavery was to explore—or deny—its obvious shortcomings, its inhumanity, its contradictions. To celebrate it required explaining away the nation’s proclaimed belief in equality and its public promise of rights for all, while to condemn it was to insult people who might be related by ties of blood, friendship, or business, and perhaps even to threaten the very economy and political stability of the nation.

For this reason, Paul D. Naish argues, Americans displaced their most provocative criticisms and darkest fears about the institution onto Latin America. Naish bolsters this seemingly counterintuitive argument with a compelling focus on realms of public expression that have drawn sparse attention in previous scholarship on this era. In novels, diaries, correspondence, and scientific writings, he contends, the heat and bluster of the political arena was muted, and discussions of slavery staged in these venues often turned their attention south of the Rio Grande.

At once familiar and foreign, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, and the independent republics of Spanish America provided rhetorical landscapes about which everyday citizens could speak, through both outright comparisons or implicit metaphors, what might otherwise be unsayable when talking about slavery at home. At a time of ominous sectional fracture, Americans of many persuasions—Northerners and Southerners, Whigs and Democrats, scholars secure in their libraries and settlers vulnerable on the Mexican frontier—found unity in their disparagement of Latin America. This displacement of anxiety helped create a superficial feeling of nationalism as the country careened toward disunity of the most violent, politically charged, and consequential sort.

“Naish is a superb writer, communicating complex ideas with a clear focus, and his engagement with historical texts is thorough and compelling. With all that has been written on issues of race and political identity in the first half of the nineteenth century, he has much to say that is fresh and revealing.”—Andrew Burstein, Louisiana State University

“Paul D. Naish’s sensitive, lively, careful study takes two subjects we might think we know all about—the politics of slavery and U.S. visions of Latin America—and shows their unappreciated relationship. Our understanding of both topics are enhanced without making the fate of slavery or of U.S.-Latin-American relations inevitable. An eloquent, important book from a scholar who will be greatly missed.”—David Waldstreicher, author of Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification

“By exploring how antebellum Americans imagined Latin American slavery, Naish sheds new and interdisciplinary light on how they understood slavery at home. Eloquent, surprising, and haunting, this book shows that Americans frequently turned their attention south of the border to air anxieties about human bondage, ones that seemed otherwise too dangerous to discuss.”—Caitlin Fitz, Northwestern University

Paul D. Naish (1960-2016) taught reading and writing, social science, and liberal arts courses at Guttman Community College of the City University of New York.

Tom Long. Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence.

Long, Tom. Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence.
Tom Long, University of Reading


Book description

Latin America Confronts the United States offers a new perspective on US-Latin America relations. Drawing on research in six countries, the book examines how Latin American leaders are able to overcome power asymmetries to influence US foreign policy. The book provides in-depth explorations of key moments in post-World War II inter-American relations – foreign economic policy before the Alliance for Progress, the negotiation of the Panama Canal Treaties, the expansion of trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the growth of counternarcotics in Plan Colombia. The new evidence challenges earlier, US-centric explanations of these momentous events. Though differences in power were fundamental to each of these cases, relative weakness did not prevent Latin American leaders from aggressively pursuing their interests vis-à-vis the United States. Drawing on studies of foreign policy and international relations, the book examines how Latin American leaders achieved this influence – and why they sometimes failed.


‘With compelling evidence and theoretical clarity, Long offers a much needed reinterpretation of inter-American relations, suggesting that Latin American countries, whether large or small, have agency – when armed with ideas, leadership, and clever strategies – and that they can effectively penetrate the decentralized, fragmented US foreign policy process to influence outcomes and advance their national interests.’

Richard Feinberg – University of California, San Diego

‘Tom Long’s Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence is a fresh and significant contribution. Drawing on careful research about four major cases of US policy toward Latin America over the past five decades, Long shows that much of the impetus for these policies came from Latin America, not from Washington. Previous accounts exaggerate the degree of autonomous policy determination by the United States and underestimate the influence of Latin American drivers, strategies, and pressures. Long’s emphasis on the interaction between multiple Latin American actors and the fragmented processes of US policy making should become a paradigm for future analysis.’

Abraham Lowenthal – University of Southern California

‘… a landmark study that both helps us understand the dynamics of contemporary US-Latin American relations and contributes significantly to the fields of comparative politics and international relations … Dr Long’s detailed, meticulously researched study demonstrates that the conventional wisdom about compliant Latin American states mischaracterized the nature of the asymmetrical relationships since at least the 1950s. [This book] provides a complex, nuanced, and compelling analysis that demonstrates Latin Americans have long been agents of their own history, not mere puppets of the United States … Dr Long’s clear articulation of the way this study departs from prior analyses of US-Latin American relations and from prevailing conceptions about power and asymmetry in the international system enables Latin America Confronts the United States to serve as an instructive model of how an internationalist approach can deepen and change our understanding of global relations in a world characterized by asymmetry … offers important policy implications as well as theoretical insights.’

Philip Brenner – American University, Washington DC

‘Aside from providing detailed and engaging historical accounts of the cases above, Long makes some interesting points vis-à-vis the dynamics shaping asymmetrical relations between great powers and weaker ones, arguing that Latin America has exercised more influence in US-Latin America relations that is normally understood. … The second case, perhaps the book’s most remarkable, explains how Omar Torrijos, dictator of one of the hemisphere’s smallest countries, shrewdly used postcolonial rhetoric and international institutions to convince the United States to hand over control of the Panama Canal, something US foreign policy makers were strongly opposed to at first. … The case sheds particular light on the ways in which weaker-state leaders can use international institutions in pursuit of their objectives, as well as the role weaker states can play in affecting the political agendas of larger ones.’

Oliver Stuenkel – Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil

‘[Long’s] argument is that Latin American foreign policy initiatives have received too little attention, and that they’ve been strikingly successful in setting the political agenda and achieving policy goals. He uses detailed case studies Operation Pan American, the Panama Canal treaties, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and Plan Colombia. … [The book] is based on some excellent fieldwork, with extensive archival research and interviews with key participants. So beyond the analysis itself, it’s an interesting read.’

Greg Weeks – University of North Carolina, Charlotte

‘Long joins a growing list of scholars who have challenged the deeply held assumption that hegemonic U.S. power has left little space for Latin American countries to take the initiative in their relationships with Washington. He demonstrates that in fact, when dealing with the United States, capable Latin American leaders have not only successfully defended their interests but also astutely intervened in U.S. domestic politics to alter the way that Washington defines and pursues its interests in the region.’

Richard Feinberg Source: ‘The Best of Books 2016’, Foreign Affairs

‘Making extensive use of archival sources in and outside the US, as well as in-depth elite interviews with key protagonists across the hemisphere, Long convincingly argues not only that the US did not always get its own way, but also that it is possible for presumably powerless countries in the region to move US policy. … This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of US–Latin American relations and an important read for anyone interested in this area.’

Sean W. Burges Source: International Affairs

‘… the book provides a fresh look at a discussion that is often dominated by Latin American worries about US intervention, with little attention paid to ways for Latin America to exercise influence in the United States. … Long’s book thus provides an important analysis for Latin American scholars, but also for those studying regional dynamics elsewhere, for example in Asia, where China’s growing influence is an ever more important topic.’

Oliver Stuenkel Source: International Journal

Conference: Politics in the Age of Trump: A Latin American and Latino Perspective (New York, NY, April 14, 2017)

Politics in the Age of Trump: A Latin American and Latino Perspective

Friday, April 14th, 2017

2 PM – 6 PM

328 Milbank Hall, Barnard College
3009 Broadway, NY, NY (enter gate on W. 119th St. crosswalk; Milbank will be on your right)

Resistance and Self-representation from the Streets: Peru and the Neo-populist Challenge

Carmen Ilizarbe, Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, Peru

Argentina and the United States, before and after Trump

Eduardo Zimmermann, Universidad de San Andres, Argentina

Mexico: New Forms of Resistance

Claudio Lomnitz, Columbia University

The Politics of Immigration & Xenophobia in the U.S.

José Moya, Barnard College

Co-sponsored by the Columbia University Institute of Latin American Studies



Upcoming Events


Haitian Migrants in Cuba, or the Workings of US Empire in the Caribbean

Tuesday, April 25th, 6 PM

Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall
3009 Broadway (at W. 117 St. crosswalk) NY, NY

Matthew Casey
Nina Bell Suggs Professor of History
University of Southern Mississippi

Matthew Casey will present from his new book Empire’s Guest Workers: Haitian Migrants in Cuba during the Age of US Occupation, which uses the on-the-ground experiences of Haitian migrants in Cuba to understand how the daily actions of seemingly powerless individuals shaped larger processes of US imperialism, economic penetration, race-making and shifts in global migration policies.

CFP: SOLCHA Environmental History Symposium in Puebla, August 2016

From H-Environment:


La Sociedad Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Historia Ambiental (SOLCHA), a través de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla; La Facultad de Estudios Superiores Acatlán, UNAM; y la Maestría y Doctorado en Historia de la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, convoca al VIII Simposio de la SOLCHA, a celebrarse en la ciudad de Puebla, México, los días 3, 4 y 5 de agosto de 2016.

Los problemas de creciente insustentabilidad han tomado un papel protagonista en las discusiones tanto nacionales como internacionales, y en la agenda de las organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales. Esto ha permitido tomar conciencia sobre los daños irreversibles que el ser humano ha generado y genera en su medio ambiente. La Historia, como disciplina vinculada a las preocupaciones del presente, tampoco ha quedado al margen de la búsqueda de soluciones y propuestas para resolver la crisis ambiental que compromete la viabilidad futura de nuestra civilización. Los simposios convocados por la Sociedad Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Historia Ambiental se han convertido en un relevante espacio de análisis, discusión, reflexión y propuestas adaptadas a las condiciones de la región. Con ello se ha logrado la consolidación de grupos de trabajo en el campo de la investigación, la formación de especialistas en esta disciplina emergente y la cooperación con otras disciplinas para la proposición de soluciones sostenibles a la crisis. Con este espíritu de innovación y cooperación académica, se convoca este nuevo simposio que pretende dar continuidad a este privilegiado espacio de reflexión, en el que la dimensión temporal ocupa un lugar central.

Las temáticas que a continuación se proponen constituyen, tan sólo, una propuesta de los campos en que se invita a los historiadores ambientales a plantear sus contribuciones. Cualquier otro tópico que reúna la dimensión del tiempo con el estudio de la relación entre la sociedad y la naturaleza, será bienvenida.

Full call for proposals available here:

Conferencia de Aaron Coy Moulton: “Antes de la CIA y la operación PBSUCCESS: exiliados guatemaltecos, los dic tadores de la cuenca del Caribe y la revolución guatemalteca, 1944-1954” (Morelia, 21 de octubre 2015)

“Antes de la CIA y la operación PBSUCCESS: exiliados guatemaltecos, los dictadores de la cuenca del Caribe y la revolución guatemalteca, 1944-1954”
Aaron Coy Moulton*
21 octubre 2015, 12:00 hrs

* Maestro de Estudios Latinoamericanos por la University of Kansas y doctorando en historia en la University of Arkansas. Es becario de la Truman Library Institute. También ha recibido becas de la Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Phi Alpha Theta y el J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences. Ha impartido conferencias sobre los movimientos revolucionarios y contrarrevolucionarios en la cuenca del Caribe a través de los Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña, la República Dominicana, Costa Rica y Cuba. Ha publicado en revistas de historia de Estados Unidos, México, Guatemala y Costa Rica.

Sobre la Conferencia: En 1954, la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) del gobierno estadounidense realizó la operación clandestina PBSUCCESS y ayudó a un grupo de exiliados guatemaltecos a derrocar al gobierno revolucionario de Jacobo Arbenz. Sin embargo, los exiliados guatemaltecos y las dictaduras de la cuenca del Caribe habían organizado varios complots para socavar y destruir la revolución guatemalteca desde los 1940’s. Con nuevas fuentes de los archivos dominicanos y documentos desclasificados de la CIA, esta conferencia revela la historia desconocida de un movimiento transnacional y contrarrevolucionario compuesto de varios exiliados guatemaltecos, el dictador nicaragüense Anastasio Somoza, el dictador hondureño Tiburcio Carías, el dictador dominicano Rafael Trujillo y el régimen militar venezolano de Marcos Pérez Jiménez y sus aliados. Estas actividades, que incluyeron invasiones de Guatemala y conspiraciones para bombardear por aire la ciudad de Guatemala, representan las operaciones clandestinas de la CIA en los 1950’s.