Named 2004 Best Special Issue by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals
This special issue of Radical History Review takes as its inspiration Cuban writer and revolutionary José Martí’s famous 1891 essay “Our America.” Focusing on Martí’s appropriation of the term “America”—used to refer to a transnational, regional project of solidarity in Latin America and to suggest a new epistemology that challenged the ideologies underpinning U.S. imperialism—Our Americas: Political and Cultural Imaginings investigates the highly contested concept of “the Americas” as it has been defined and deployed in differing strategic and politically informed ways across history. The issue is dedicated to probing the transnational political and social possibilities that emerge when the discursive boundaries established by fields such as “Latin American studies” and “American studies”—as well as the geopolitical boundaries drawn during the colonial era—are expanded or transgressed.
Drawing on history, cultural anthropology, literary criticism, and memoirs, the works in this collection, gathered from contributors from an array of geographic locales, seek to integrate “Latin America,” “North America,” “the Caribbean,” and other regions. Striving to move beyond a simple joining of “Latin America” and the United States, the transnational concept of “the Americas” is explored and complicated through essays that examine the contrasting visions of Latin American independence embodied in the writings of revolutionaries from different nations; discuss the ramifications of a political treaty that institutionalized a separation between Mexico and the United States; deconstruct the exclusionary discourses of U.S. nationalism; and expose the ways in which institutionalized racism and homophobia are roadblocks to social and political solidarity in Latin America. In discussion forums, contributors plumb the history and current relevance of the concept of “Latin America” for intellectual, social, and political work and address the unique challenges facing those who seek to teach “the Americas.”
Contributors. Arturo Arias, John Beck, John D. Blanco, Nestor Garcia Canclini, Patricio Del Real, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Paul Giles, Salah D. Hassan, Martin Hopenhayn, Aisha Khan, R. J. Lambrose, Ian Lekus, Kate Masur, Enrique C. Ochoa, Diana Paton, Rossana Reguillo, Gemma Robinson, Aimee Carillo Rowe, Maria Josefina Saldana-Portillo, Sandhya Shukla, Heidi Tinsman, Carlos E. Bojorquez Urzaiz