Gregory Cushman’s preface opens with some bold claims. He suggests that the Black Death, the African Slave Trade, the Second World War and the harvesting of bird excrement deposits from islands in the Pacific oceans were of equal importance in world history.
Over the last three decades, histories of popular politics in Latin America have proliferated. It is not hard to understand why. Elections and liberalism loomed large in the present, and so their history began to assume more importance. Larger trends in the discipline reinforced the shift, as historians tipped the interpretive scales away from socio-economic structures and towards agency.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of British West Indians migrated within the Americas, to destinations including the Caribbean islands, Latin America, and the United States. They laboured in the construction of the Panama Canal, on Cuban and Dominican sugar plantations, in Central American banana plantations, and in Venezuelan goldfields.
John Lynch, a highly distinguished Latin American scholar and Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at the Institute of Latin American Studies, published New Worlds, A Religious History of Latin America in 2012, on the eve of the election of the first pope from Latin America, Francis I; it provides a very timely introduction to the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America
A brief survey of the recent academic literature on global history reveals an academy that is still trying to define a historiographical movement.
Following an initial irritation, I found myself warming to this book. At first sight, it seems to uncritically support the Cuban Revolution. However, as one progresses the tone becomes much more nuanced. There emerges a basic sympathy for the aims and objects of the revolution, clearly announced in the introduction, without hiding areas where Cuba has not lived up to these expectations.
Why are so many West Indians who were born in the first half of the 20th century so enamoured with Britain, British culture and its monarchy, even in the early 21st century?
Denise Blum spent 15 months in Cuba in 1998–9 researching the question of how socialist ideology is taught, and how young people react to the teaching. Her research was focused primarily on a 9th-grade class in a poor neighborhood that was mostly black.
I was worried when I saw the title of this book. Was it a history of publishing? Or a history of Arif Ali? And does ‘tribute’ mean when it was published by the object of the accolade? An autobiography?
The proliferation of computer databases and the digitization of sources online are transforming the profession. Scholars can now do substantial original research without needing to travel to distant archives. Massive collections of documents are at our fingertips. Online databases are encouraging the democratization of historical research.