1-10 of 650 Results

Article

Lay Catholic brotherhoods constituted important religious, social, and civic associations among African-origin and African-descended people in Portugal, West Central Africa, and Portuguese America in the early modern period (1450–1850). Lay Catholic brotherhoods (irmandades), also known as confraternities (confrarias) and sodalities, functioned as spaces of devotion oriented around one or more patron saints. In the Portuguese Atlantic world, free and enslaved people of African origin and descent utilized the associations to prioritize collective devotion, mutual aid, and burial rites for members. Mutual aid could include small payments during illness, assistance with manumission process completion, and internment of deceased members under the auspices of the sodality. Lay Catholic brotherhoods functioned as critical sites of transculturation and belonging for people of African origin and descent in the 1490s in Portugal, by the early 1500s in areas of West Central Africa with an entrenched Portuguese presence, and in Brazil beginning in the colonial period (1500–1822). Confraternities became a common facet of lived experience and religiosity for African and African-descended Catholic devotees across the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic world. Associations were governed by organizational charters generated by founding or elected directorate members that required approval from Catholic Church leaders, the Crown, and provincial-level state authorities. Confraternities had juridical personality and recognition from ecclesial and state officials as semi-autonomous entities or corporate bodies. Members could exercise and experience limited levels of autonomy, even in slave-holding colonial environments. Within brotherhoods in Portugal and in its overseas imperial territories, ethnic and racial stratification was predominant, but not absolute. Confraternities acted as institutional sites where West, West Central, and Southeastern African ethnic group identities held importance and deep social meaning across several centuries. Confraternity participants engaged baroque Catholicism, which emphasized collective action including celebration of the saints and related rites relying on music, movement, and festivities. Brotherhoods functioned as critical sites of proselytization, but also came to serve as spaces for local member imperatives that incorporated African cultural expression, esthetics, and worldviews.

Article

The War of the Triple Alliance converted Paraguay into a scene of devastation. The conflict with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay—the Triple Alliance—resulted in innumerous killings and the destruction of Paraguay’s economy as well as its natural and urban spaces. Halfway through the war, when the imminent collapse of the country was evident, Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López brought together a group of intellectuals to establish an illustrated press to boost the troops’ morale while criticizing and ridiculing the enemy. In only a few months, Paraguay saw the creation of three illustrated periodicals: El Centinela (April 1867–February 1868), Cabichuí (May 1867–August 1868), and Cacique Lambaré (July 1867–September 1868). Publishing texts and cartoons, these newspapers played a crucial role in engaging the heterogenous Paraguayan population while solidifying racial discrimination against Afrodescendants. The legacy of these illustrated publications was the increased valorization of the Paraguayan identity (which was fundamental during the reconstruction years). On the other hand, this state-controlled press promoted discrimination against groups portrayed as not belonging to the Paraguayan self-image.

Article

Stephen M. Streeter

Guatemala first came to the attention of the United States as a security threat after a middle-class revolution in 1944 overthrew a dictator who had long accommodated the United Fruit Company, the largest US foreign investment in the country. The new presidents, Juan José Arévalo (1944–1951) and Jacobo Arbenz (1951–1954), carried out a series of social reforms that upset the Guatemalan oligarchy and the Fruit Company. Arbenz’s Decree 900, which redistributed land from the wealthy to the poor, especially alarmed Washington because of the fear that nearby countries would adopt a similar program, thus endangering US foreign investments in the region. After the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration determined that Guatemala was becoming an intolerable communist threat, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began planning a covert operation to remove Arbenz. Operation PBSUCCESS was modeled on the covert action plan that was used successfully to depose the Iranian government in 1953. After bribing and threatening the Guatemalan military to cooperate, the CIA equipped and trained an exile army in Honduras that invaded Guatemala on June 17, 1954, and forced the resignation of Arbenz within ten days. The coup destabilized Guatemala, leading eventually to a brutal civil war that killed more than two hundred thousand Guatemalans.

Article

Conservation is a long-term process that unfolds over time and seeks to develop harmony between human activity and ecosystems of all types. The unfolding of conservation in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico took place over a period of over 140 years, beginning in 1876. The conservation process in Puerto Rico involved the description of the biodiversity, the understanding of forest dynamics in relation to the conditions prevailing in the Luquillo Mountains, extensive research on the life history of critical species, understanding the basis of forest resilience, recognizing the social-ecological-technological context of conservation, applying advanced technological tools, and resolving the inevitable conflict that develops among the different actors involved in the conservation effort. Unfolding conservation within a country requires continuous and effective support from governmental, non-governmental, business, and scientific sectors of the social-ecological-technological systems of the country. These sectors come together at different moments in time, and the path followed is different in different countries. In Puerto Rico, the unfolding of conservation was triggered by the government in close collaboration with academic and governmental scientific sectors. Within the Luquillo Mountains, the business sector did not oppose conservation activities, and the unfolding process reached high levels of effectiveness. The rest of Puerto Rico benefited from the conservation process unfolding on the Luquillo Mountains. In contrast, conservation in the Amazon has been characterized by conflict among different actors competing for a common resource. In general, commercial activities that are based on resource exploitation lead to conflict and a slower development of conservation activities. When the business community used science to improve land productivity, as it did in Central America, conservation benefited because the science that was used stimulated conservation values. The establishment of government institutions with a focus on conservation through research and education appeared late in the mainland tropics compared to Puerto Rico, but when it happened, it accelerated the unfolding of conservation. All the countries examined here were most effective in conservation when the collaboration among the different sectors of society was high and based on objective and anticipatory scientific activity.

Article

The Nicaraguan poet, journalist, and diplomat Rubén Darío was one of the foremost writers of the modernist movement in Latin America at the turn of the 20th century. In his writing, Darío struggled with the historicity of Spanish and the weight of colonialism. Throughout his career, his work explored the changes in language, religion, love, and sexuality in the postcolonial era. A collection of Darío’s manuscripts and transcripts of Darío’s poetry and correspondence with other journalists, diplomats, poets, and romantic partners is available at the Arizona State University Library. This collection contains unique correspondence with important persons who were modernists and politicians, such as Emilio de Arriaga, Pedro Balmaceda Toro, Ernesto Bermúdez, Luis Bonafoux, Francisco Castro, Benigno Díez Salcedo, Rodolfo Espinosa, Fermín Estrella, Vicente Gasset, Crisanto Medina, and Amado Nervo. The archive was collected by Darío’s secretary, Alejandro Bermúdez. These papers may be seen online or in person at the Hayden Library.

Article

During the World War II era, Uruguayan politicians, student groups, and ethnic associations, among others, engaged daily in various circulating dialogues that extended beyond their nation-state. The war mobilized and empowered several actors who were devoted to shaping Uruguayan politics and society, but who were also actively committed to a broader cause. Though often overlooked, transnational nonstate actors helped to mold the era’s social and political movements by seizing on universal pro-Allied and anti-fascist language. Several events in Uruguay, interpreted through the language of democracy by local activists, helped not just to inch along public sentiment concerning the threat of fascism but also to thrust government officials into direct action. Emblematic of these actors was Uruguayan university professor and editor for the New York–based Free World magazine, Hugo Fernández Artucio, who, with various degrees of success, sought to shape public opinion and policy via his internationally broadcasted concerns about the Nazi menace. Though his anti-fascist crusading was often welcomed, as it helped to facilitate certain Uruguayan and US government policies, at times it was deemed as “impracticable” or “dangerous” in the view of government officials.

Article

Mark Lentz

Mexico’s indigenous population developed urbanism on a large scale before Spanish invaders arrived. Indians constituted the majority in most Mexican cities through the colonial era and, in many cases, after independence. Tenochtitlan, reborn as Mexico City after the Spanish Conquest (1519–1521), remained one of the largest world metropolises and a home to millions of indigenous inhabitants. During the colonial period, migrants from ethnic groups throughout New Spain populated Mexico City, new cities founded by conquistadors, and smaller pre-Hispanic cities that survived the conquest. Though prohibited from residing in the 13-block central district (traza) of cities, indigenous urban residents lived in these nominally Spanish spaces, often as domestic workers. In surrounding barrios, they worked as craftsmen, artisans, and tradespeople. Barrios de indios enjoyed limited self-government under native cabildos. Independence brought about the erasure of racial classifications at the national level, but language, dress, and kin networks continued to set urban Indians apart from more racially ambiguous city dwellers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rapidly expanding cities swallowed traditionally indigenous pueblos, absorbing their population into greater metropolitan areas. As pueblos originarios were absorbed into cities, such communities struggled to preserve their identities in an urban setting. Economic disruptions in the countryside also pushed migrants from indigenous rural pueblos into cities, a process accelerated during the 20th century. In new residences, urban Indians often worked as vendors, domestic workers, day laborers, and workers in the service industry.

Article

Lauren Frances Turek

The category of “evangelical” is a broad one, encompassing a range of different Christian denominations, nondenominational groups, and subcultures. Evangelicalism in the United States has evolved considerably over time and varies greatly by geographic region as well as by ethnicity and race. Although the evangelicals of the First Great Awakening in the 18th century have a genealogical connection with the neo-evangelicals of the post–World War II years and the Pentecostals preaching out of strip mall churches in urban and suburban areas of the United States in the early 21st century, much has changed in terms of evangelical practices, demographics, and even beliefs over the intervening centuries. This diversity and evolution notwithstanding, evangelicals share a basic faith in Biblical authority, a conversion or “born-again” experience, and a commitment to evangelism according to sociologist Mark Shibley. The latter commitment, which derives from Jesus Christ’s Great Commission to his followers in Matthew 28:19 to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” has long spurred evangelicals to undertake missionary work throughout the world. The first evangelical missionaries arrived in Guatemala in the 19th century, and since then, the country has seen a steady influx of evangelists of all stripes. While some US missionaries worked in Guatemala on a short-term basis, many resided there for extended periods of time—decades in some cases—planting churches, building schools and medical facilities, and providing aid to alleviate suffering brought on by natural disasters or poverty. Evangelical missionaries also forged close relationships with some Guatemalan leaders, at times involving themselves in local and national politics and interacting with diplomatic officials and intelligence agents from the United States. The relationship between US evangelicals and General José Efraín Ríos Montt, a right-wing evangelical dictator who came to power in 1982 and oversaw a brutal genocide against the Indigenous Maya, has attracted particular attention. The evangelical presence in the country contributed to a dramatic shift in Guatemala’s religious demographics. In the 19th century, the country was (at least nominally) almost exclusively Catholic, though many Guatemalans also continued to practice indigenous faith traditions. As of 2019, Guatemalan Protestants, most of whom are evangelicals, made up approximately 35 to 42 percent of the population according to estimates from the Pew Research Center and the United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The ongoing relationship between US evangelicals, their counterparts in Guatemala, and Guatemalan leaders has influenced Guatemalan politics as well as relations with the United States into the present day.

Article

Canadian cultural diplomacy has been inconsistent in recent decades. In the specific case of Mexico, the visibility of Canada is the result of the sum of public and private initiatives within independent and commercial circuits, as well as academic collaborations. In certain periods of the last few decades of Canadian history, it is possible to recognize policies aimed at projecting a specific image of Canada, which is constantly modified by precise political and economic conditions. In the twenty-five years of the North American Free Trade Agreement, three moments of cultural diplomacy toward Mexico can be recognized: a first intense period of creation of binational ties, a time of restrictions that affected strategic collaboration programs, and a renaissance characterized by interest in rethinking and systematizing the strategies of cultural exchange.

Article

Chicle is a thick and odorless natural latex that comes from the Chicozapote tree (Manilkara sapota), which is indigenous in Mexico and Central America. When the sapodilla tree is cut into with a blade or infested with insects, it produces latex as a protective response. The ancient Maya and Aztec used this latex as chewing gum, a habit that Mexican president General Antonio López de Santa Anna continued in the 19th century. While in the United States, he introduced chicle to US inventor Thomas Adams, Sr., who in the 1870s produced the first mass-produced chicle chewing gum. However, it was William Wrigley, Jr. who in the 1890s entered a highly competitive gum market and innovated new marketing campaigns that appealed to a broad audience. These advertisements often proclaimed the benefits of gum chewing for digestion, dental hygiene, and the ability to improve mental focus. Wrigley used these qualities to encourage the US military to adopt chewing gum into rations starting in World War I. As military personnel shared chewing gum with children in war zones, this “American habit” spread around the world. Public officials complained about the expense of cleaning up gum-littered sidewalks, the Women’s Temperance Union even argued that chewing gum was a slippery slope that could lead to smoking, gambling, or drinking, and many cultures have strong social norms regarding gum chewing in public. Despite these challenges, William Wrigley spent millions of dollars promoting a favorable image for gum and the habit of gum chewing, and other marketers launched collectables such as baseball cards to encourage sales. Chicle-based chewing gum ultimately became a victim of its own popularity, and while researchers sought out other sources of latex, such as jelutong, balata, and gutta-percha, US manufacturers ultimately resorted to synthetic substitutes. Although the chewing gum industry of today is dominated by the use of a synthetic gum chewing base, it is worth more than $25 billion annually.