Williams develops his argument through studies of events highlighting Latin America’s uneasy, and often violent, transition to late capitalism over the past thirty years. He looks at the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, genocide in El Salvador, the Sendero in Peru, Chile’s and Argentina’s transitions to democratic governments, and Latin Americans’ migration northward. Williams also reads film, photography, and literary works, including Ricardo Piglia’s The Absent City and the statements of a young Salvadoran woman, the daughter of ex-guerrilleros, living in South Central Los Angeles.
The Other Side of the Popular is an incisive interpretation of Latin American culture and politics over the last few decades as well as a thoughtful meditation on the state of Latin American cultural studies.
Gareth Williams is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Wesleyan University.
Taking a wide arc of materials—periodicals, memoirs, political proclamations, and travel logs, along with art installations and fiction—and focusing on the technologies that supplement and enhance human perception, Masiello looks at the evolution of what she calls “sense work” in cultural texts, mainly from Latin America, that wend from the heights of romantic thought to the startling innovations of modernism in the early twentieth century and then to times of posthuman experience when cyber bodies hurtle through globalized space and human senses are reproduced by machines. Tracing the shifting debates on perceptions, The Senses of Democracy offers a new paradigm with which to speak of Latin American cultural history and launches a field for the comparative study of bodies, experience, pleasure, and pain over the continental divide. In the end, sense work helps us to understand how culture finds its location.
Although Henderson emphasizes the period since the winning of independence in 1825, he argues that the region’s republican history cannot be explained without a clear understanding of what happened in the pre-Hispanic and colonial eras Henderson carefully explores the complex relationship between the Andean peoples and their land up until the fall of the Inka Empire in 1532 before addressing the Spanish conquest and the colonial aftermath, emphasizing the syncretism often unwillingly forced upon the original inhabitants of the region. His account of the nineteenth century discusses the attempts of the Andean elite to fashion modern nation-states in the face of many divisive factors, including race. The final chapters carry the story from 1930 to the present as the Andean countries debated different ways to create a more inclusive and prosperous society.