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Volume 60 / Humanities


JOHN BRITTON, Gasque Professor of History, Francis Marion University

THE LAST DECADE OF THE 20TH CENTURY was characterized by much concern about economic development and the pattern of general studies in Latin American history reflected this world-wide preoccupation. At least 50 articles and books published in the last few years of the century dealt with this issue, from West's study of native American preconquest metallurgy (item #bi 97017663#) to Lacoste's review of modern efforts to promote hemispheric economic integration (item #bi 00003816#). Studies on the colonial period focused on trade, currency, and commodities as exemplified by Luque Talaván's examination of the legal context of commerce (item #bi 99003556#) and Woodward's research on the consulados of the 18th century (item #bi2001000852#). The collection of articles edited by Vila Vilar and Kuethe provided a useful cross-section of colonialist scholarship (item #bi2001005045#).

The origins and operations of markets drew much attention in terms of in-depth research as well as in the form of stimulating debates. The group of articles edited by Silva Riquer and Ohmstede examined native American markets from the late colonial era into the 19th century (item #bi2001005309#). There was a rich variety of perspectives on the roles of prices, trade, and internationalization in the articles by Gálvez Ruiz (item #bi 99004650#), Salvatore (item #bi 99009188#), Brown (item #bi 97015259#), Engerman and Klein (item #bi 97015258#), and Topik (item #bi 99009186#). The notion that the 1870–1930 period was crucial in Latin America was reinforced in two edited volumes: one by Cárdenas, Ocampo, and Thorp (item #bi2001005040#) and a second by Topik and Wells (item #bi 98007704#). Palacios Rodríguez's monograph also made an important contribution (item #bi2001005038#). In such an active area, synthesis remains vitally important. Bauer and O'Brien each wrote important, although considerably different, syntheses on economic history (items #bi2001004322# and #bi2004001422#, respectively).

The position of indigenous peoples after the conquest and their complex interactions with European influences and institutions in the colonial era were leading subjects for research, with at least two dozen publications on these topics. The approaches employed were various: Cook examined the impact of disease (item #bi 98005126#), while Narvaja and Pinotti studied demographics and indigenous identity (item #bi2001007759#). Mira Caballos explored the status of native Americans who went to Spain (item #bi 99000818#), and Rodríguez Lorenzo summarized Spanish missionaries' educational efforts among indigenous peoples (item #bi 99010020#). Jackson contributed a nuanced comparative study of communities in Bolivia and northern New Spain (item #bi2003002235#). Two books contain a wealth of information for scholars: the reference work by Magnaghi (item #bi2001007758#) and Brown's text on social history (item #bi2001005306#).

The 100th anniversary of the Spanish-American War was the occasion for a surge in publications on this conflict and on Spain's role in Latin America, in general. Political and diplomatic trends over the last half of the 19th century were examined in the works of Fradera (item #bi 00003494#), Heredia (item #bi2001001868#), and González P. (item #bi 98011048#). Adams Fernández provided an analysis of the image of Latin America in the Spanish periodical La Ilustración Española y Americana (item #bi2001001867#). Reactions to the war in Spain and South America were documented by Filippi (item #bi 00006142#), Quijada (item #bi 98002772#), and Melgar Bao (item #bi 00007057#). Two edited volumes assembled articles on the war and its repercussions. Zea and Magallón concentrated their collection on the relations between Spain and Spanish America (item #bi2001001865#), while Cortés Zavala, Naranjo Orovio, and Uribe Salas covered a larger international framework (item #bi 00003493#).

The study of the Jewish presence in Latin America also received particular attention. For example, Mario Cohen wrote a general survey of Jews in the Americas in the colonial period (item #bi2001001872#), while Segal Freilich examined the Jewish converso population of the Peruvian Amazon (see item #bi2001004974# in the Peruvian History section). Three collections of articles followed different thematic lines: Mario Cohen and Lértora Mendoza emphasized colonial Hispanic America (item #bi2001001879#); Paolo Bernardini and Norman Fiering included articles on the Jewish role in general European expansion from 1450–1800 (item #bi2001005302#); and Bokser Liwerant and Gojman de Backal concentrated on 20th-century themes, particularly immigration and World War II (item #bi2001005300#).

A few publications deserve recognition because of special contributions to the field. Two works provided straightforward treatments of sensitive topics: Schoultz and Sagrera took on the challenges of investigating racial prejudice and its impacts on government policies and diplomatic relations in the Americas (see HLAS 58:815 and #bi 00003503#, respectively), while Vitale's comprehensive survey is strong on social history and also contains much of value on politics and economics expressed in a well-organized text (item #bi 00003486#). Altman provided impressive historical depth in her study of immigration from Castile to New Spain from 1560–1620 (item #bi2001005048#). Miller's extensive examination of the interaction between the state and intellectuals in the 20th century brought intelligent analysis to an important topic (item #bi 00003505#).

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