Enrique Mayer, Ugly Stories of the Peruvian Agrarian Reform: Review

By N. H. Gill             (July 3, 2019) – Enrique Mayer’s Ugly Stories of Peruvian Agrarian Reform, a “people-oriented kind of oral history,” provides a memory study of the 1969 land reforms enacted by Peruvian President Juan Velasco Alvarado. Written from the perspective of historical stakeholders and incorporating Mayer’s lifelong participation in the reforms as… Read More Enrique Mayer, Ugly Stories of the Peruvian Agrarian Reform: Review

Ana María Alonso, Thread of Blood: Review

By N. H. Gill             (June 1, 2019) – The role of violence and the importance of cultural identity in the struggles between indigenous communities and the nation-state are the subjects of Ana María Alonso’s monograph, Thread of Blood: Colonialism, Revolution, and Gender on Mexico’s Northern Frontier (1995). This anthropological history of machismo in the… Read More Ana María Alonso, Thread of Blood: Review

Jeffrey Gould, To Die in This Way: Review

By N. H. Gill             (April 2, 2019) – Jeffrey Gould’s monograph, To Die in This Way (1998), looks at the dialectic relationship between indigenous identity and the formation of the nation-state in Nicaragua from the late nineteenth century until the mid twentieth. Gould challenges the “myth of mestizaje” that holds that, except for the… Read More Jeffrey Gould, To Die in This Way: Review

Cynthia McClintock, Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru: Review

By N. H. Gill             (March 11, 2019) – Cynthia McClintock’s monograph, Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru, looks at the social and political effect of the agrarian reforms of the Velasco administration between 1968 to 1975. Focusing closely on the 1969 hacienda expropriations and subsequent implementation of self-managing agrarian cooperatives, McClintock uses a… Read More Cynthia McClintock, Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru: Review

Léon Zamosc, The Agrarian Question and the Peasant Movement in Colombia: Review

Léon Zamosc. The Agrarian Question and the Peasant Movement in Colombia: Struggles of the National Peasant Association, 1967-1981. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1986. By N. H. Gill            (Feb. 3, 2019) – Sociologist Léon Zamosc’s The Agrarian Question and the Peasant Movement in Colombia, looks at the development of… Read More Léon Zamosc, The Agrarian Question and the Peasant Movement in Colombia: Review

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oppressed But Not Defeated: Review

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oppressed But Not Defeated: Peasant Struggles Among the Aymara and Qhechwa in Bolivia, 1900-1980 (Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1987). By N. H. Gill             (Jan. 31, 2019) – Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui’s Oppressed but Not Defeated, on the struggles of Aymara and Quechua peasants in the highlands and western… Read More Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oppressed But Not Defeated: Review

Indigenous Elites, Subjugation, and Cultural Survival in Colonial Latin America

Indigenous elites stood at the intersection of political subjugation and cultural survival in Spanish and Portuguese America. Over more than three centuries they acted as intermediaries between their communities and outsiders, as defenders before the law, and even as collaborators with local power groups in the exploitation of their own people. As such, they wielded… Read More Indigenous Elites, Subjugation, and Cultural Survival in Colonial Latin America

Asunción Lavrin, Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America: Review

Asunción Lavrin, ed. Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America. 1. paperback print. Latin American Studies Series. Lincoln, Neb.: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1992. Asunción Lavrin’s edited volume, Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America, presents a series of perspectives on what Lavrin calls the “conquest of the mind,” the means through which the Spanish… Read More Asunción Lavrin, Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America: Review

Between Two Worlds: Andean Haciendas in Colonial History

When historian James Lockhart published his renown article “Encomienda and Hacienda” in 1969, the modern historiography on haciendas was already more than forty-years-old.[1] Yet even after decades, historians were only beginning to understand these New World estates in terms of their origins and functions as colonial institutions. Early twentieth century scholars debated the extent of… Read More Between Two Worlds: Andean Haciendas in Colonial History

Karen Spalding, Huarochirí: Review

Karen Spalding, Huarochirí, an Andean Society under Inca and Spanish Rule (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1984). Karen Spalding’s history of colonial Peru, Huarochirí, begins with the origins of Andean society, following social changes from pre-Inca days until the height of colonial rule. Written in the mid-1980s amidst a brutal economic crisis that inordinately impacted… Read More Karen Spalding, Huarochirí: Review

The Inner Life of Empires: Review

Emma Rothschild, The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History. (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2011.) Emma Rothschild’s Inner Life of Empirespresents a “large microhistory” of the Johnstone family, eleven children, their parents, and two of their slaves, who lived and moved within influential social and intellectual circles during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.[1]This prosopography… Read More The Inner Life of Empires: Review

Repartos y Rebeliones: Review

Golte, Jürgen. Repartos y rebeliones: Túpac Amaru y las contradicciones de la economía colonial. Translated by Carlos Degregori Caso. Primera edicón. Estudios históricos Colección clásicos 6. Lima: IEP, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1980.  Jürgen Golte’s Repartos y Rebeliones, published in German in 1977 and translated into Spanish by Carlos Degregori in 1980, analyzes the implementation,… Read More Repartos y Rebeliones: Review

Miners of the Red Mountain: Review

Bakewell, P. J. Miners of the Red Mountain: Indian Labor in Potosí, 1545-1650. 1st ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. Peter Bakewell’s Miners of the Red Mountain: Indian Labor in Potosí, 1545-1650 makes a targeted intervention into Andean colonial history by analyzing evolving labor systems at the colonial silver mines of Potosí.[1] Given the… Read More Miners of the Red Mountain: Review

Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Review

Stern, Steve J. Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982. Steve J. Stern centers his monograph on colonial Huamanga, a strategic military and economic region along the route between Lima and Potosí. It was the location of the Huancavelica and Castrovirreyna mercury and… Read More Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Review

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

By N. H. Gill In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.” [1]As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements –… Read More Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela: Review

Alejandro Velasco, Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2015). Alejandro Velasco’s Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (2015) uses the Caracas superblock housing complex, known today as 23 de Enero, to analyze Venezuela’s transition from the dictatorship of Marcos… Read More Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela: Review

Oral History: Ventriloquism or Privileged Interpretation?

Daniel James, Doña María’s Story: Life History, Memory, and Political Identity, Latin America Otherwise (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000). Imagine you have thirty hours of interviews, nine months of work, more than seven decades of oral history from a privileged witness to the rise of Peronism and the Argentine labor movement…and then you start… Read More Oral History: Ventriloquism or Privileged Interpretation?

Brazil’s Last Slave: The Captive Environment in Pernambuco’s Sugar Fields

Thomas D. Rogers, The Deepest Wounds: A Labor and Environmental History of Sugar in Northeast Brazil (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Thomas Rogers’ The Deepest Wounds argues that Pernambuco sugar planters “saw no distinction between land and labor” (8). Enslaved and free workers on cane plantations were demoted in elites’ eyes to… Read More Brazil’s Last Slave: The Captive Environment in Pernambuco’s Sugar Fields

Digging Out of Darkness: Labor, Capital, and the Chilean State in the Age of Mass Society

Pavilack, Jody. Mining for the Nation: The Politics of Chile’s Coal Communities from the Popular Front to the Cold War. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011. When Chile granted literate men over the age of 21 the right to vote in 1925, a new era marked by the rise of mass society… Read More Digging Out of Darkness: Labor, Capital, and the Chilean State in the Age of Mass Society

Black Icarus: Slave Strategies in a Jamaican Hell

Trevor G. Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). Death in the sun-drenched fields or torture in the shade of the house? Resistance or collaboration? How did enslaved Africans cope with the trauma of life on Anglo-Jamaican sugar plantations in… Read More Black Icarus: Slave Strategies in a Jamaican Hell

How the Story Ends: Chronology and Gender in the Tupac Amaru Rebellion

Charles F. Walker, The Tupac Amaru Rebellion (Cambridge, Massachussetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014). Charles Walker left few stones unturned in The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, an impressive analysis of Spain’s largest colonial rebellion. This essay briefly examines two original arguments and two secondary claims made by Walker that help shape our understanding… Read More How the Story Ends: Chronology and Gender in the Tupac Amaru Rebellion

Writing Revolution: Republican Politics in Three Cuban Histories

By N. H. Gill Luis E. Aguilar, Samuel Farber, and Robert Whitney present three complimentary interpretations of Cuba’s 1933 Revolution and the social unrest that led to the 1959 Revolution.[1] The authors explore the role of rising mass society, the influence of political and intellectual elites, and the impact of the United States’ intervention in… Read More Writing Revolution: Republican Politics in Three Cuban Histories

Eight Defaults and 180 Years Later, Ecuador to Repay Bondholders

By Nathan GillNovember 18, 2015 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador is poised to do something it’s never done in its more than 180-year history: repay a bond. “What’s positive is that Ecuador has a new chance to honor, for the first time, the payment of its bonds,” said Santiago Mosquera, a former Fitch Ratings analyst who is… Read More Eight Defaults and 180 Years Later, Ecuador to Repay Bondholders