121-140 of 693 Results

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The Colonial Economy of New Spain  

Jeremy Baskes

For three centuries New Spain was one of the great jewels of Spain’s colonial empire, producing wealth for immigrants and the Crown. The brunt of the labor was performed by indigenous Mexicans, often under duress, but natives also succeeded in seizing opportunities to promote their interests. It is tempting to portray the economic history of Mexico as a simple story of domination of colonial subjects by their European rulers, and indeed historians have often resorted to this straightforward rendition. This article, while certainly presenting the conventional wisdom, presents a more complex story, highlighting debates among historians on a wide range of issues, from the experiences of indigenous people to the profitability of colonialism. What follows is a general presentation of New Spain’s economy.

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Colonial Elites: Planters and Land Nobility in 17th- and 18th-Century Brazil  

João Fragoso and Thiago Krause

Portuguese colonists carried their conceptions of social organization to the Americas. Their ideal was to “live like a gentleman,” that is, to own land and command laborers in order to distance themselves from manual labor and exercise patriarchal authority over a large household. Their property also allowed them the time and resources to be active in local politics and serve the Crown. They intended to reproduce in the New World the lifestyle of the Portuguese provincial nobility. There were, however, huge differences, since in Brazil the elite lorded over enslaved persons instead of peasants. The first elite families made their fortunes through the conquest and enslavement of Native Americans in the second half of the 16th century, but many of them did not manage to maintain their position during the transition to enslaved African labor in the following decades. Especially in the most dynamic areas, such as Pernambuco and Bahia, the first half of the 17th century was a period of flux in elite composition. By mid-century, however, a small number of families controlled most local offices, slowly fashioning themselves into local nobilities and wielding these claims to negotiate with the Crown and its representatives. Planter elites also established broad patron-client networks that included even their enslaved property. Nevertheless, their preeminence was threatened by the rise of merchant power in the 18th century, boosted by the huge demographic and economic expansion derived from gold discoveries in the southeast and the development of the internal market. Nevertheless, the noble ideal did not lose its appeal, and many rich merchants linked themselves to old noble families through marriage and the adoption of an aristocratic lifestyle.

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The Colonial Mosaic of Indigenous New Spain, 1519–1821  

Susan Kellogg

From a geographically, environmentally, linguistically, and ethnically highly variable Mesoamerica, Spain created a core region within her American territories. But for New Spain’s indigenous inhabitants (Mexica or Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Maya), despite experiencing demographic catastrophe, political and religious subjugation, and labor exploitation during and after conquest, native cultural patterns and agency influenced the reshaping of governance and community (the latter into pueblos de indios), economy, and spiritual and social life during the period of colonial rule. Because environments, indigenous languages, patterns of political, economic, and spiritual organization, ways of structuring family life, varieties of cultural expression, and forms of interrelationships with Spaniards varied so much, indigenous people did not experience a single New Spain. Instead, a multiplicity of New Spains emerged. These indigenous New Spains would play different roles during the independence period, which led to a protracted struggle, further impoverishment, and growing isolation in the new nations of Mesoamerica but cultural survival as well.

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Color and Race in Portuguese America, 1640–1750  

Ronald Raminelli

Color and race are important references for assessing the privileges and barriers that sustained or impeded the social ascension of New Christians, Africans, Indians, and mestiços in the Portuguese world. Questions of race and color had profound links with the Catholic faith and with social exclusion, especially of Afro-descendants. The ideas of race and racism are not static, but were forged over time. Initially, they were strongly influenced by Catholicism and later were incorporated into the scientific knowledge of the 18th and 19th centuries. Therefore, the terms “race” and “racism,” based on 19th-century biological determinism, are not suitable for discussing social relations in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Comic Book Depictions of the Mexico City Earthquake of 1985  

Gabriela Buitrón Vera

On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shocked Mexico City. Approximately 10,000–15,000 people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed. Many representations of this event emerged in the aftermath. Newspapers, chronicles, testimonials, and photographs were some of the mediums that reported this tragic event, and the most immediate comic book response to the catastrophe was Terremoto 85: Historias reales del dramático suceso (1986). This graphic narrative draws from a long line of Mexican comic books that had promoted conservative cultural values for decades. By portraying the nuclear family as an allegory of the nation, its characters are represented as ignoring—rather than participating in—the sociopolitical upheaval taking place around them. The comic suggests that it is only by embracing normativity and gender norms, as well as by contributing to the procreation and production of the nation, that readers can become exemplary citizens. Furthermore, this graphic narrative shows that only characters depicted as “exemplary” get to have “happy endings.” By articulating disaster in this manner, Terremoto 85 obscures the real civil disobedience and direct action that surged after Mexico City’s earthquake of 1985. In so doing, the comic book participates in the erasure of well-recorded civil responses to the earthquake. It also demonstrates how national narratives often glorify exemplary citizens and contribute to the exclusion of vulnerable and precarious populations. A careful read of this graphic text can help one examine 20th- and 21st-century national emergencies in Mexico, Latin America, and beyond.

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Commodities and Consumption in “Golden Age” Argentina  

Eduardo Elena

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the global trade in commodities forged new economic interconnections and contributed to the emergence of modern ways of life. As one of the leading exporters of temperate goods such as wool, beef, and wheat, Argentina was at the forefront of these trends, and the country underwent remarkable expansion between 1875 and 1913. Although export goods linked Argentina to consumers in Europe and elsewhere, these vital relationships were often obscured by the malleable nature of commodities, the far-flung scope of overseas trade, and the perceived divergence between rural and urban worlds. Within Argentina, similar dynamics were also at work, but commodities became referents in disputes over economic distribution, social inequality, and national development. The tensions between the export sector and an increasingly industrialized and urbanized society geared toward mass consumption raised questions as to how to manage the nation’s wealth—conflicts involving commodities that parallel those of other Latin American societies. By placing the economic history of commodities into conversation with recent research on the social, cultural, and political history of consumption, this article reconsiders Argentina’s “Golden Age” of expansion and its aftermath. The connecting and distancing power of commodities reveals how populations in Argentina and abroad experienced modern capitalism, including its signature transformations of the natural world and everyday life.

Article

Communist Parties of Central America  

Iván Molina

Throughout the 20th century, Central America experienced two key waves of communist-party formation. The first wave lasted from 1923 to 1931 and the second from 1949 to 1954. The first-wave parties actively participated in four fundamental historical processes: in El Salvador, in the rebellion of 1932; and in Costa Rica, in the banana strike of 1934, in the reforms of 1940 to 1943, and in the civil war of 1948. The second-wave parties participated decisively in the radicalization of the Guatemalan social reforms (1951–1954) and in the 1954 Honduran banana strike. These parties had a differentiated impact on Central American societies. In Costa Rica and Panama, the communists promoted social changes whose success worked against the communists themselves. In Belize, an active Labor party prevented a communist party from developing there. In Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, repression neutralized the role that communist parties could play as institutional modernizers. In the mid-1940s, the military assumed this modernizing role: in Guatemala, with the collaboration of the communists; and in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, against the communists. The most radical of these reformist experiences was the Guatemalan, which ended in 1954 due to a US-backed coup. In the other countries, the military endorsed socially limited reforms without political democratization. In this context, the communist parties began to be displaced by guerrilla movements from 1959 to 1963. In Honduras, the military managed to stop this displacement in the early 1960s through broader reformist policies, but the guerrillas in the other countries led a successful revolution in Nicaragua (1979), fought lengthy civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, and turned Central America into one of the main battlefields of the Cold War in the 1980s. Beginning in the 1990s, these guerrilla movements became political parties, electorally strong in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and marginal in Guatemala, but different from the communist parties that preceded them. At the beginning of the 21st century, the communist parties that still exist in Central America barely maintain a presence on Facebook.

Article

Competing Spanish and Indigenous Jurisdictions in Early Colonial Lima  

Karen B. Graubart

Spanish legal organization required that political communities be represented by a concejo or cabildo, which used customary law to determine and enforce the common good. In the Spanish colonial world, this entailed vesting indigenous communities with jurisdiction and political representation, parallel to that of the municipal cabildo, which represented the common good of most Spanish citizens. Nevertheless, the supposed common good of indigenous and Spanish jurisdictions often intersected or contested one another. In these cases, agents of the Spanish Crown might intervene, or the parties might negotiate new relations. Because Andean cabildos were entreated not to keep minutes of their deliberations or actions, historians have had difficulty in recognizing the role of indigenous authorities in self-governance, and given more credence to the acts of Spanish cabildos and the Crown. But Indian cabildos and caciques took meaningful decisions within their communities, as demonstrated by moments where they came into conflict with Spanish authorities, and as inferred from a small number of documents available for the similar Mexican case.

Article

The Concheros Dance in Mexico City  

Susanna Rostas

In the middle decades of the 20th century, groups of Concheros dancing in public places began to attract academic attention. However, a much wider interest in their activities developed in the run-up to the celebrations for the so-called “discovery” of the Americas in 1992, when they were invited to participate in some of the commemorative events. Their dance tradition, one among many in Mexico, is often assumed to have been created either in the 1820s after Mexico gained its independence from Spain or more recently after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Both were periods when central Mexico became more aware of the Aztec past and interested in reviving aspects of it, and the Concheros’ circle dances were thought to have been part of that revindication—an invented tradition. However, their history has more complex roots than this. The predominant myth claims that the dance began in the Bajio region in the 16th century, an area that had not been dominated by the Aztecs. Counter to that, however, are the beliefs that many began to advocate as the movement of Mexicanidad (or Mexicayotl) flourished during the late 20th century, which has led to the eponymous Mexica challenging many of the Concheros’ beliefs and practices.

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Conflicts between Caribbean Basin Dictators and Democracies, 1944–1959  

Aaron Coy Moulton

Between 1944 and 1959, conflicts with anti-dictatorial exiles and democratic leaders against dictatorial regimes and dissident exiles shaped inter-American relations in the Caribbean Basin. At the end of World War II, anti-dictatorial exiles networked with students, laborers, journalists, and politicians in denouncing the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo, Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, and Honduras’s Tiburcio Carías. Opponents of and dissident exiles from the 1944 Guatemalan Revolution and Venezuela’s Trienio Adeco (Adeco Triennium) under Rómulo Betancourt likewise turned to dictatorial regimes for aid. By 1947, a loose coalition of anti-dictatorial exiles with the help of Cuba, Guatemala, and Venezuela’s democratic leaders formed what would become known as the Caribbean Legion and organized the abortive Cayo Confites expedition against Trujillo. Seeking regional stability, U.S. officials intervened against this expedition and Caribbean Basin dictators and dissident exiles’ attempts to air-bomb Guatemala City and Caracas. Caribbean Basin leaders and exiles focused upon these inter-American conflicts, rather than the international Cold War. José Figueres’s rise to power in Costa Rica provided a pivotal ally to democratic leaders and anti-dictatorial exiles, and Caribbean Basin dictators began working with the Venezuelan military regime after the 1948 military coup. In 1949, Trujillo’s regime coordinated a counter-intelligence operation that destroyed the Caribbean Legion’s expedition at Luperón and brought greater attention to the region. By the early 1950s, dictatorial regimes operated as a counter-revolutionary network sharing intelligence, aiding dissident exiles, supporting Fulgencio Batista’s 1952 coup in Cuba, and lobbying U.S. officials against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Figueres in Costa Rica. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) utilized these dictators and exiles during Operations PBFORTUNE and PBSUCCESS to overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954, but U.S. officials intervened when the counter-revolutionary network invaded Costa Rica in 1955. From 1955 onward, anti-dictatorial exiles from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Venezuela continued organizing expeditions against Caribbean Basin dictatorships, and multiple groups conspired against Batista’s regime. Among Cuban exiles, Fidel Castro rose to prominence and received important resources and alliances through anti-dictatorial exiles. Dictators shared intelligence and gave aid to Batista, yet Caribbean Legion veterans, Cuban exiles, Betancourt, Figueres, and others helped Castro undermine Batista. In 1959, Castro supported anti-dictatorial expeditions, most notably those against Trujillo and Luis Somoza. However, Castro disagreed with many former exiles and Betancourt and Figueres’s policies, so the resulting tension separated Castro from democratic leaders and divided the region among dictatorial regimes, democratic governments, and Castro.

Article

The Conjunction of the Lettered City and the Lettered Countryside in 19th-Century Mexico  

William E. French

A persuasive literature has argued that the course of Latin American history from the arrival of Europeans to the present has been shaped to a large extent by a small but expanding group of literate bureaucrats, church officials, lawyers, and intellectuals, known as letrados, who made their lives in urban centers. Those marked by this combination of power, urban living, and the written word, an assemblage that Angel Rama has dubbed “the lettered city,” utilized literature, history, the law, politics, and higher education to imagine the country into existence textually and to justify the hierarchies and inequalities that characterized their rule. Yet in Mexico, as elsewhere in Latin America, writing has a long history in nonelite settings, a venue that, in recognition of this fact, has now been referred to as “the lettered countryside.” Moreover, as understandings of a single literacy are giving way to a concern with “literacies,” defined in the plural and operating in relationship rather than opposed to such things as orality and visuality, traces of literacy practices are being discovered in many locations. Foregrounding the conjunction of the lettered city and the lettered countryside is an attempt to bring these venues into conversation while doing away with the binary that associates literary with the city and orality with the rural. Over the course of the 19th century in Mexico, although the written word was still pressed into the service of national imagining, a number of other characteristics shaped the conjunction of the lettered city and the lettered countryside. A struggle over secularization was one new development, as authority came increasingly to be invested in the written word itself rather than justified in religious terms. New forms of literacies emerged, especially those associated with the novel and other forms of publications, including newspapers, periodicals for and by women, and the penny press, creating new publics with distinct senses of themselves as communities of readers and listeners; oratory, public discussion of politics and other issues in various venues, and the phenomenon of indirect readers also brought together these two locations. As early as the 1840s, rural residents in some parts of the country had made writing their own, drafting political proclamations in which they defined such things as federalism in their own terms and asserted themselves in national politics. While elite diarists, both men and women, left traces of their emotional lives in various forms of life writing over the course of the entire period, ordinary people, including mine workers, agricultural laborers, and women who carried out household duties, wrote love letters to each other by the last third of the century, if not before. Composed and exchanged by means of cooperation, the use of intermediaries known as evangelistas, or by individuals with various degrees of facility in reading and writing, love letters served as privileged means of communicating the emotions they brought into being while often ending up as evidence in legal proceedings that continued to assert the prerogatives of the lettered city even as it came ever more intimately conjoined with the lettered countryside.

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Conquest and Colonization of Panama, ca. 1509–1530  

Carmen Mena-García

Darién was the first Hispanic frontier in continental America. A military frontier of warriors, horses, dogs, and arquebuses, clearly reminiscent of the medieval period, Darién was created in 1509 in the most distant periphery of the empire, in a marginal and hostile space. The conquest of these jungle lands, soon transformed into a “cemetery of conquistadores,” and the following expansion through the isthmus was one of the hardest experiences that the Spanish faced in their advance through the New World. For the Indigenous Cueva population, the invasion of the West was even more dramatic. In just a few decades, the Cuevas were extinguished as a result of wars, epidemics, and the slave trade, practiced on a large scale by Spanish captains and Crown officials. Darién was a type of experimental laboratory. There in the art of war a race of frontier captains was forged, which later expanded throughout the continent. With the foundation of Panamá (1519), the frontier moved to the Pacific, and Spanish expansion was projected, like a spearpoint, toward Central America and Perú, seeking new opportunities and leaving the territory practically empty of men and resources.

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The Conquest of the Desert and Argentina’s Indigenous Peoples  

Carolyne L. Ryan

The Conquest of the Desert was a military campaign launched by the Argentine state (1878–1885) to remove the Indigenous peoples of the Pampas and Patagonia in order to open the region for Argentine occupation. Then Minister of War Julo A. Roca led the campaigns and subsequently became president of Argentina in 1880. Argentine state makers described this campaign as a necessary step in growing the national economy and making Argentina a “modern” and “civilized” nation. The conquest was also celebrated by many contemporaries as marking the emergence of a “White” Argentina. Despite this rhetoric, Indigenous peoples from the pampas and Patagonia have endured throughout the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries. The contentious legacies of the conquest have continued to shape Indigenous peoples’ experiences in Argentine society and with the state through the early 21st century, affecting issues including land rights, cultural recognition, state violence, citizenship rights, historical memory, and social experiences of marginalization and discrimination.

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The Conquests of Peru  

Christopher Heaney

Between 1472 and 1572, the conquests of Peru were many: by the Inca, who in the 15th century spread from their southern Andean heartland in Cusco to build an empire that stretched from what is now southern Colombia to northern Chile and Argentina; by the Spanish conquistadors under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, who reached down from Panama in search of the rumored wealth of the kingdom of “Birú” and fatefully encountered the aspirant Inca emperor Atahualpa at Cajamarca in November of 1532; by the Spanish crown, which intervened after the revolt of Atahualpa’s brother Manco Inca in 1536 and the rebellion of the conquistadors in the 1540s; and by the Inca’s former subjects, the Spaniards’ Indian allies, and their mestizo sons, who ended independent Inca resistance by helping to capture Atahualpa’s nephew in the Vilcabamba valley in 1572. This essay sketches the century-long arc of those many conquests, which together yielded a historical entity not quite like any other in the early modern world, let alone Americas: a composite Spanish-Indian kingdom whose incredible wealth lay not just in the gold and silver that its mines and burials produced but in the network of subjects and laborers that drew both the Inca and their Habsburg successors on to further conquests than was wise.

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Conservation in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico  

Ariel E. Lugo

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.

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Conspiracy Theories in Latin American History  

Luis Roniger

Conspiracy theories fulfill a double purpose. They provide an epistemological reading of reality, posing claims of veracity and falsity that often depart from conventional wisdom. Concomitantly, conspiracy narratives are theories of power, used to promote a political or pragmatic agenda. Those believing them are expected to react in time, act, and counter the malign intent of those supposedly conspiring against their community, society, or humanity at large. Major sectors of Latin American societies have been prone to give credence to conspiracy theories under different historical circumstances. Due to the countries’ geopolitical positions and the prevalence of social inequality, racial anxiety, internal tensions and conflict, and a sense of institutional vulnerability, many have given credence to conspiratorial narratives. Several contextual scenarios have been particularly conducive to the adoption and diffusion of conspiratorial narratives. Among these are situations of accelerated political change and economic crisis, social and political polarization, institutional distrust, and international wars. Under such circumstances, conspiracy carriers and entrepreneurs have led many to suspect the existence of internal or external enemies plotting to take advantage of a naïve public and willing to affect society, take control of resources, or steal parts of a national territory. It is expected that research on conspiracy theories in Latin America, still incipient even though conspiracism has been widely present in society and the media, will be bolstered in coming years.

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Constitutionalism in the Hispanic World  

Jaime E. Rodríguez O.

The concept of a constitution, a political entity that determines how a people are governed, emerged in ancient times. The government of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC) influenced the Western world. Later, Romanized Visigoths adopted a charter, the Fuero Juzgo (654), in the Iberian Peninsula that integrated Roman and Visigothic legal systems. The document influenced regional political entities throughout the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, each of the realms of the Iberian Peninsula adopted individual rather than shared fundamental codes. In 1265, King Alfonso X established Castilla’s and Leon’s first constitution, the Siete Partidas. The New World obtained its own legal system, known as the Derecho Indiano (Laws of the Indies). Like the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, those of America created a compact between the monarch and the citizens of each realm rather than Hispanic America as a whole. These systems of uncodified legislation evolved to meet changing circumstances and societal norms. They provided corporations and individuals expanding opportunities for indirect and direct experience in self-government. In 1808, an unexpected upheaval transformed the Hispanic world. The French invaded Spain. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte lured the royal family into France, compelled them to abdicate in his favor, and then granted the Spanish monarchy to his brother, José. The Spanish people did not accept the usurper king, José I. They formed the Junta Central to oppose the invaders. As the French continued to conquer the nation, they convened a Cortes, which met on September 24, 1810, in the port of Cádiz. Approximately 220 deputies, including sixty-five Americans and two Filipinos, eventually participated in the extraordinary Cortes of Cádiz. Deputies representing overseas dominions played a central role in developing the most progressive constitution of the 19th century. Despite the political chaos that surrounded the constituent congress, the delegates debated and eventually reached consensus on a modern, flexible charter that reconciled the competing interests of the multiplicity of areas and ideological positions represented at the assembly. They produced a constitution for the entire Hispanic world that made the executive and the judiciary subordinate to the legislature. It also increased the scope of political activity by establishing representative government at three levels: the city or town with a thousand or more inhabitants (constitutional ayuntamiento), the province (provincial deputation), and the monarchy (Cortes). The charter transferred political power from the center to the localities, and incorporated large numbers of people into the political process for the first time by redefining the concept of active citizenship (i.e., those eligible to vote). This fundamental document formed the basis for constitutional development throughout the Hispanic monarchy and for most charters promulgated in the nations that emerged after the breakup of that political entity.

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Consumerism and Advertising in 20th-Century Brazil  

Maria Claudia Bonadio

In the early 20th century, due to the immigration of thousands of people from the countryside to urban centers, the large city became a symbol of modernity for many reasons, among them because it was where the shop windows, the lights in storefronts, posters on walls or trams, and billboards were concentrated. In the city, there was also greater access to the illustrated magazines that had started to circulate. Alongside city culture, the culture of advertising also emerged, changing the visual landscape. Advertising also echoed in the neighborhoods, with the voices of peddlers selling products at doorsteps. Propaganda, therefore, went through a modernization process, although old ways of advertising and selling continued. Consumption was also divided between the old and the new, since the opportunity to make purchases in glass-fronted department stores discouraged people from buying food products from street vendors who circulated around the neighborhoods. In the early years of the 20th century, the new visuality of advertising, which brought an air of modernity, was still at an amateur stage in Brazil or originated abroad. This scenario began to change at the beginning of the 20th century when the first advertising agency began to operate in Brazil (between 1913 and 1914). In the 1950s, the first Advertising College was created in the country to enhance the study and development of the field. Brazilian advertising would peak in the last three decades of the 20th century, when Brazilian advertisements, especially those produced for television, gained international prestige due to the many awards they received at international festivals. During the 1990s, some Brazilian publicists would become famous personalities, known throughout the country. The demand for higher education in the area began to grow. Consumption in Brazil, however, suffered ups and downs due to various economic crises (and a few periods of growth), which possibly pushed Brazilian advertising to invest in creativity. On the other hand, forms of consumption went through major transformations in the form of new media and forms of commerce. Although the door-to-door sale of some types of food continued, the largest volume of purchases during the second half of the century occurred in large stores, malls, or hypermarkets, where you can find all sorts of products. From vegetables sold at the doorstep to washed, cut, and ready for consumption commercialized vegetables; from meat preserved in lard to canned sausage; from clothes made by dressmakers or seamstresses, to ready-made clothes; from fashion deriving from Hollywood cinema to fashion inspired by telenovelas; from radio or television shared by the family in the living room, to the subdivision of consumption via miniaturization and individualization of goods (phonograph and personal TV, Walkman, and portable CD player), from the dial-up phone that served all residents of the household to the cellphone—these are some of the most important changes in consumption over the 20th century.

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Contemporary Art in Brazil, 1960s and 1970s: Forging the “New”  

Elena Shtromberg

The history of exhibitions in Brazil during the 1960s and 1970s provides a key reference point for understanding how artistic vanguards and contemporary art unfolded in direct relationship to social and political contexts. The seminal exhibitions during these pivotal decades elucidate how the contemporary in Brazilian art stages and reframes conceptions of the “new” vis-à-vis the art object. The exhibitions in question trace the development of Ferreira Gullar’s não-objeto (non-object, 1959) and its path toward the idea-based artwork, an impulse that was prevalent throughout the 1960s in the United States and Europe as well. Inaugurated by the emergence of Brasília, Brazil’s new capital city in the formerly barren hinterlands of the state of Goiás, the 1960s witnessed a new model of artistic practice that pushed the boundaries between art and life, actively seeking out the participation of the viewer. This is most evidenced in the canonical work of artists Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. By the 1970s, challenges to the utopian undertakings from the previous decades had become imbricated with political activism, as artists and intellectuals alike pronounced a commitment to the quest for democracy after the military coup of 1964. The 1970s also witnessed heightened artistic engagement with new information and communication technologies, including the use of video equipment and computers. Constructing the history of Brazil’s contemporary art via the most important moments of its display will not only historically and politically contextualize some of the groundbreaking artists and artworks of these two decades, but also introduce readers to the challenges that these artworks posed to the more traditional methods of institutional display and the criteria used to interpret them.

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Contextualizing the Popol Wuj from Friar Ximénez to the Digital Age  

Néstor Quiroa

Regarded as an ethnohistorical treasure, the Popol Wuj narrative has been read exclusively as a freestanding, self-contained text used to inquire into a history far removed from when it was actually created. Consequently, the colonial context of the text itself has been minimized, including the central role of Dominican friar Francisco Ximénez as transcriber and translator of the only copy in existence. The present study delineates a historical trajectory of the Popol Wuj, reframing the narrative within its colonial ecclesiastic context. It explores the physical structure of Friar Ximénez’s 18th-century manuscript, preserved as MS 1515 by the Newberry Library in Chicago, to demonstrate that his work was first and foremost a series of religious treatises intended to carry out the conversion of the K’iche’ to Christianity. As a cautionary word, rather than revisiting the old, biased approach of questioning the authenticity and authorship of this Popol Wuj narrative, the current study suggests a broader reading, addressing the complexities intrinsic in this text, particularly the fact that the narrative was the result of the cultural contact between mendicant friars, whose main objective was to evangelize, and indigenous groups, who strived to maintain their cultural continuity by recording their oral history in the face of such a threat. Finally, this study invites scholars to ponder on the implications that the present structure of Ximénez’s manuscript (MS 1515) presents for future Popol Wuj studies as the narrative enters the age of electronic information and digital imaging.