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Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America

Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, edited by Sara Castro-Klarén and John Charles Chasteen

Publisher

Woodrow Wilson Center Press with Johns Hopkins University Press

ISBN

978-0-8018-7852-7 hardcover; 978-0-8018-7853-5 paper
Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, edited by Sara Castro-Klarén and John Charles Chasteen

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Chapters

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How did the nationalisms of Latin America’s many countries—elaborated in everything from history and fiction to cookery—arise from their common backgrounds in the Spanish and Portuguese empires and their similar populations of mixed European, native, and African origins? Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, discards one answer and provides a rich collection of others.

These essays began as a critique of the argument by Benedict Anderson’s highly influential book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Anderson traces Latin American nationalisms to local circulation of colonial newspapers and tours of duty of colonial administrators, but this book shows the limited validity of these arguments.

Instead, Beyond Imagined Communities shows how more diverse cultural influences shaped Latin American nationalisms. Four historians examine social situations: François-Xavier Guerra studies various forms of political communication; Tulio Halperín Doghi, political parties; Sarah C. Chambers, the feminine world of salons; and Andrew Kirkendall, the institutions of higher education that trained the new administrators. Next, four critics examine production of cultural objects: Fernando Unzueta investigates novels; Sara Castro Klarén, archeology and folklore; Gustavo Verdesio, suppression of unwanted archeological evidence; and Beatriz González Stephan, national literary histories and international expositions.

John Charles Chasteen is professor of history at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sara Castro-Klarén is professor of Latin American culture and literature at Johns Hopkins University.