History seminars at the IHR

Latin American History

Convenors: Professor Nicola Miller (UCL), Dr Alejandra Irigoin (LSE), Paulo Drinot (UCL), Dr Natalia Sobrevilla (Kent), Dr Thomas Rath (UCL), Professor James Dunkerley (QMU)

Venue: Peter Marshall Room, 204, IHR second floor

Time: Tuesdays, 5:30pm

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Autumn Term 2015
DateSeminar details
6 October Lost in Translation?: Brazil, AIDS, Antiretrovirals and Global Health

Marcos Cueto (Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Brazil)

Abstract: Since the 1990s, when the struggle against AIDS was marked by the use of antiretroviral medicines, Brazil set a global example. In a neo-liberal context, the Brazilian AIDS programme articulated the support of governmental agencies and NGOs, emphasized human rights and challenged pharmaceutical companies by developing and distributing generic antiretrovirals (drugs identical to the brand-name ones). By June 1998, some 58,000 Brazilians living with AIDS were being treated with therapies that only a little earlier had been virtually inaccessible. As a result there was a drop in the number of deaths, a reduction in hospitalizations and, in turn, significant savings in the health budget. The Brazilian example was taken up by the World Health Organization, which at the beginning of the twenty-first century launched an ambitious program to treat three million people with antiretrovirals by 2005 (a program known as “3 x 5”), It also received the backing of other international agencies. The paper will discuss the process of reception and adaptation by officers of international agencies of an innovative program of the global south enriching the comprehension of how the circulation of knowledge took place at the end of the twentieth century. It will also discuss if the holistic Brazilian programme became obliterated as a result of 3 x 5 deemphasizing human rights and prevention and emphasizing access to treatment over other issues the new goal of AIDS’ programmes all over the world.

Marcos Cueto is Professor of History at Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, and editor of História, Ciências, Saúde - Manguinhos

20 October Corruption, Anti-Corruption and the Formation of Venezuela's Neo-Patrimonial State, 1908-1948

Doug Yarrington (Colorado State University)

Abstract:  During the first half of the twentieth century in Venezuela, the opposing dynamics of corruption and anti-corruption contributed to the formation of a neopatrimonial state—i.e., a state characterized by the on-going co-existence of patrimonial modes of power with modern bureaucratic state organization.  Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1935) maintained the internal cohesion of his regime largely by allowing his allies to use public power for private enrichment by controlling the markets for cattle, liquor, and oil concessions, even as Gómez directed the selective bureaucratization of the military and treasury.  Meanwhile, the Gomecistas’ nation-wide, systematic corruption provoked opposition movements that sought to end corruption and establish a modern democratic state.  Nevertheless, the trials of 166 former officials for corruption in 1946-7 failed to win public support, despite the public’s repudiation of the Gómez regime, and this failure undermined future anti-corruption efforts.

 Doug Yarrington is Associate Professor and Chair of History, Colorado State

3 November The National Cadaver: Wars to the Death across Spanish American Independence

Karen Racine (University of Guelph)

Abstract: Although historians have generally viewed Simón Bolívar’s explicitly-declared War to the Death in Venezuela and New Granada in 1813 as an anomaly in the Spanish American independence wars, that apocalyptically-violent model was actually the norm. Virtually all regions of the Spanish American and Caribbean theaters of war experienced an intentionally-framed War to the Death during the anti-colonial struggles of the early 19th century. These conflicts were bloody and totalizing marked by a desire to annihilate one’s enemy that was utterly and completely widespread. Fear was used by insurgents and agents of the state alike. It was not a just as tactical component of warfare but as an essential and intrinsic part of modern nation-building that took place alongside the process of emancipation.  Wars to the Death can be seen in many corners and campaigns from the Great Andean Rebellion of the 1780s through the clash between Castelli and Goyeneche in Upper Peru (today Bolivia in 1811) to the strange case of Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia in Paraguay until his death in 1840. This talk will consider the violent conflagrations linked to identity projects launched by Jean-Jacques Dessalines in Haiti in 1802-1804, Mexico’s Hidalgo Revolt and counterinsurgency struggle of 1810-1811, the famous Venezuelan and New Granadan War to the Death of 1813-14, and in the events of the Chilean Reconquest from 1814-1817.

Karen Racine is Associate Professor of History, University of Guelph

17 November Unthinking the Canon: Latin America and the History of Historiography

Mark Thurner (ILAS)

Abstract: In the late eighteenth century Peruvian intellectuals complained in print that their history “occupies only a diminutive place in the portrait of the universe painted by historians.”  More than two centuries later, the place of Peru and Latin America at large in the universe of historical thought is probably no better, and may very well be worse, particularly in Departments of History in the UK, where its very existence is in serious doubt.  In this talk I argue that the erasure of colonial and postcolonial Latin American history is inscribed at the deep level of the language of theory and canon (that is, at the level of what constitutes History itself).  This deep level should be of urgent concern since –and contrary to the discipline’s anti-intellectual and anti-theoretical posturing-- it may easily be demonstrated that it invariably commands historical writing in the profession.  The problem is painfully evident in the retooled field of Theory and History of History (what used to be and is still sometimes called “Philosophy of History” and/or “Historiography”), where Latin America is, as the The Oxford History of Historical Writing puts it, little more than “Europe’s offspring.”  In this talk I will outline an alternative approach to the theory and history of historiography that, I argue, may return Indo-American historical writing to its long lost position at the cutting edge of history.

Mark Thurner is Reader in Latin American Studies, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London

1 December West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844

Manuel Barcia (University of Leeds)

Abstract: How a series of historical events that occurred in West Africa from the mid-1790s— including Afonja's rebellion, the Owu wars, the Fulani-led jihad, and the migrations to Egbaland—had an impact upon life in cities and plantations in western Cuba and Bahia. This presentation discusses the extent to which a series of African-led plots and armed movements that took place in western Cuba and Bahia, Brazil, between 1807 and 1844 were the result—or a continuation—of events that had occurred in and around the Yoruba and Hausa kingdoms in the same period. Why did these two geographical areas serve as the theatre for the uprising of the Nagos, the Lucumis, and other West African men and women? To understand why these two areas followed such similar social patterns it is essential to look across the Atlantic—it is not enough to repeat the significance of the African background of Bahian and Cuban slaves. By establishing connections between peoples and events, with a special emphasis on their warfare experiences, this study seeks to do exactly that.

Manuel Barcia is Professor of Latin American History, University of Leeds