Glocalities: a Treatise on Recent Latin American Historiographies


In The Blood of Guatemala, Greg Grandin poses a hypothetical: “Would the [Guatemalan] revolution have endured if the United States had not interfered or would internal contradictions have forced its demise?” Rather than pursuing the counterfactual, Grandin goes on to admit the answer cannot be known. But he nonetheless defends the question’s utility for it “shifts the focus to include the role Guatemalans played in the making of their own history.” Thus, while Grandin is interested in understanding how “larger structures of power articulate with local interests and tensions,” he ultimately contends that the best way to do that is by closely examining the local, for “if capitalism and imperialism think globally, they need to act locally if they are to succeed.”[1]

Grandin’s concept of the local, however, is not simply global capitalist imperialism’s Other, nor is it a unified national polity. Instead it lies at the interstices of three assumptions: 1) that Nation is produced through social relations and thus a cultural artifact, not a superstructure; 2) that as a cultural artifact, nation is produced by multiple and competing processes, and thus can be localized; 3) the local is not only a site where nation is negotiated, but it is where hegemonic processes encounter global structures.

In this essay I examine three general and interwoven literatures as well as how they reflect these three ideas underlying the local. Beginning with a discussion of nationalism and Nation, I outline how ideas of imagining have extended the local beyond a mere spatial category. As part of the New Cultural History, the local has become an enunciation; more than just a town, or “the street,” literature and performance have been treated as sites of contestation and resistance. Next I look at the interventions of Subaltern Studies and the ways that “decentering” has produced a shift to the local. Finally, I explore how concepts of the “contact zone” and the encounter have infused the local with a global hue.

To begin with, the significance of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities should not go overlooked. He argued that nationalism emerged in Latin America among those whose fraternity was forged by statecraft, and—more importantly—that the Nation was a fundamentally cultural artifact.[2] Over the more than 25 years since its publication, Imagined Communities has been the object of much criticism, to varying degrees of success.[3] Most productively, Claudio Lomnitz took on the claims that nationalism was rooted in fraternity and that it represented an alternative to religious community. Instead Lomnitz suggested that the Nation was hierarchical in structure and, in one of many re-periodizations of nationalism in Latin America, that it had its roots in the colonial Catholic Church.[4]

Together the ideas of Anderson and Lomnitz touch on three issues that have had a significant impact on the way Latin Americanist historians think about questions of scale. First, recognition of the cultural nature of Nation and processes of imagining has brought different forms of locality to the forefront of historical analysis. Second, focus on the structure of Nation has raised the crucial questions of who is included and excluded in nation-making as well as how they participate. This too has meant shifting priorities from the national to the local as historians used the insights of Subaltern Studies to highlight alternatives to what Anderson called “official nationalism.” Lastly, by pushing the origins of national imagining back into the colonial period, Lomnitz echoes the calls of many who have stressed the importance of looking at how issues of modernity, Nation and locality articulate with global and transnational structures.


The Cultural Turn

As a fundamentally cultural construct, Nation, as Anderson argued it, has had a paradoxical relationship with language. In his discussion of the precursors to European nation-states, Anderson described the formation of print capitalism and its rootedness in the vernacularization of Latin. In short, as Latin splintered into new vernaculars, monoglot print markets emerged along with them. As texts began to be published in these emerging languages, the press served a dual function of promoting the break-up of Latin and at the same time fixing the new languages into a set grammar. With print being the main medium of collective imagining, the communities that would form the base of nineteenth-century nation-states were thus organized around those monoglot print markets.     

The dual function of language as both a source of fragmentation and unification was further taken up by Walter Mignolo, who demonstrated how the work of writing grammars and orthographies served to consolidate the Castilian nation and expand it through the subjugation of other linguistic communities. Contrasting the work of Antonio de Nebrija and Bernardo Aldrete, Mignolo emphasized how both linguists agreed that the written letter equaled civilization and that the lack of writing among Amerindian cultures was evidence of their lack of civilization.[5]

Thus the grapheme[6] was treated as a rubric by which inclusion in or exclusion from a community was determined. Much like Anderson, Mignolo showed that the crucial element around which a community could be consolidated or imagined was not language per se, but its printed form. Using print as a space of imagining thus became a powerful tool in the decentering of Nation. Moreover, by making print media a site of—not a conduit for—politics, the notion of imagined communities led the way for examination of other forms of enunciation.[7]

   Doris Sommer expanded the import of print media by suggesting that the newspaper was not only a site of collective imagining, but a space of national consolidation in which the ideological predispositions and social values of the nation were negotiated through allegory.[8] Arguing nationalist ideologies were coded into the romantic encounters of characters in the “foundational fictions” she analyzed, Sommer redefined the locus of imagining community as within the space of the novel.[9] For instance, she argued that over the course of the nineteenth century, the transformation of the archetypical male hero presented a blueprint for societal conduct with regard to Spanish imperialism (this was embodied by the soldier figure), then the project of national consolidation (portrayed by the patriarch) and right up to a newly kindled rejection of imperialist intervention, this time coming from the North (seen in the revival of the soldier-fighter-resister).[10]

While Anderson and Mignolo made the printed word the site of community formation, and Sommer found that site populated with ideological content, Angel Rama took a decidedly more semiotic approach to the written, arguing that through Latin American history the figure of the letrado has had privileged access to the universe of signs inherited from the metropole during the colonial period. Rama located the emergence of what he called the Lettered City, and the letrados who populate it, at the fulcrum of coloniality. Peripheral to the metropole, the lettered city also existed opposite its constituitive other: the hinterland.[11]

Rama agreed with Anderson on one point; through access to the language of colonialism, the letrados forged their own community and the foundations of a national identity.[12] However, in line with Mignolo, Rama saw the lettered city’s role as mediator, reader / interpreter of the metropole’s universe of signs, as forging a differential citizenship based on the dichotomy of civilization and barbarism. This dichotomy took on linguistic dimensions as a diglossia between “official,” public language and a more lumpen, quotidian language emerged. But it also took on social dimensions within the national community as a mutually constituitive dialectic bound the prescriptive detail of the letrado’s laws (continuist, pedagogical) to the anarchic confusion of social realities (recursive, performative).

By problematizing nationalism and community, and by exploring how language and literature factored into hegemonic processes, these works placed emphasis on fields beyond the economic and political in a way that has brought the nation-state—as the primary unit of historical analysis— into question. Furthermore, as part of the so-called “cultural turn” this reorientation toward the nation as culturally produced has allowed for historians to more thoroughly explore human agency.

For instance, in different ways the regulation of vice and the institution of morality have been explored as sites of identity formation and resistance.[13] On the one hand, William French has shown how class formation in the mining districts of late Porfirian and revolutionary Chihuahua relied not on economic stature but on a contentious negotiation of middle-class manners and morals.[14] Yet while in turn of the century Chihuahua, the formation of an “orderly and working” class rested on the efforts of local elites and the assimilation and resistance of mine workers, in 1920s Amazonia, where an effort to impose Fordism on a nomadic population was under way, the regulation of vice and promotion of working-class American morality was framed by Greg Grandin as a failed endeavor sought only by Ford managers.[15]

Rituals, both public and private, have also proven rich soil for discourses of domination and resistance.[16] Particularly rituals of spiritual possession and healing have been framed as counterhegemonic performance.[17]

While the “cultural turn” in Latin American history has included efforts to examine social fields beyond the political and economic, it has also implied a reassessing of the political field in the form of alternative nationalisms. Beginning with Benedict Anderson’s idea of the “imagined community,” nationalism was problematized beyond the mere unification of an equal polity under the rubric of the nation-state. Anderson’s linking of nationalism to print capitalism opened new avenues for exploring the formation of national identities in literature and language, a development that has since been generalized and applied to many distinct forms of enunciation.


The Subalturn

Bandits brought Subaltern Studies to Latin American historiography. That is, the first major reference to Subaltern Studies in the field surfaced as part of a debate over how to revitalize bandit studies.[18] Since then, many have taken up the challenges posed by the Subaltern Studies Group, paying attention to issues of subaltern agency and subjectivity, power relations and textual analysis. Questioning to whom the rights and duties of citizenship applied, as well as how those rights and duties were defined, broke the Nation into a multi-layered site of contestation and negotiation and “decentered” national narratives. This marked a watershed reconceptualization of scales as historians placed new emphasis on alternatives and the “everyday”. Moreover, by shifting focus to hegemonic processes among Andean highlanders, indigenous elites, local intellectuals and urban commoners, the subaltern approach necessitated serious consideration of the local.   

In her seminal work, Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru, Florencia Mallon examined disparate processes of hegemonic nation-state formation in Mexico and Peru by undoing the division between local and national politics. Focusing on the agency of leaders of the Indigenous National Guards in Puebla, Mexico, the montoneros that resisted the Chilean invasion in Junín, Peru, and local intellectuals from both countries, Mallon foregrounded conflict and competing visions of Nation—what she called “alternative nationalisms”—as the lynchpins of nation-state hegemony.[19] To this end, she highlighted how local, internal oppositions based on ethnic-, gender- and class-based rifts fueled competing ideas of the role of the state.

For instance, discussing the War of the Reform as it was played out in Puebla, she showed that the Liberal camp was wrought with internal divisions based on competing ideas of liberalism. One view, espoused by members of the Indigenous National Guards led by Juan Méndez, promoted a variant of political liberalism that included expanded suffrage and an equalization of tax rates. The other embraced such tenets of economic liberalism as open markets and limitations imposed on the privileges of corporate entities, such as the Catholic Church and indigenous communities. These views were by no means harmonized. In fact, in fleshing out these two opposed conceptions of liberalism, Mallon brought the agency of marginal subjects to the fore and implicated their struggles in later processes of state formation.  

Mallon’s example has since served as a model for fruitful explorations of subaltern agency in a variety of contexts. Mark Thurner’s work on the revolt led by Pedro Pablo Atusparia in Huaraz, Peru, following the War of the Pacific situated the varayoc—or staff-bearing indigenous leaders, such as Atusparia—as crucial go-betweens that navigated the state-peasantry relationship. His narrative, centered on Huaraz, complicates the often monolithic portrayal of anti-Chilean resistance in the highlands, as well as the civil war fought between supporters of Andrés Cáceres and Miguel Iglesias that ensued following the 1883 Treaty of Ancón.[20]

Whereas Mallon and Thurner broke down monoliths in the countryside, Sarah Chambers made the urban setting of republican Arequipa a crucial setting of Nation negotiation. Deconstructing the process by which Arequipa acquired the myth of the White City, a bastion of liberal democratic ideals and ethnic homogeneity, she argued that what has often been seen as Arequipa’s unified opposition to Lima, was in fact the result of a continual hegemonic process, which to be fully understood required looking at the role of artisans, traders and tavern workers.[21]

Highlighting the agency of and conflict between subalterns, these studies represent a common goal of localizing national projects. By underscoring the role subalterns “played in the making of their own history,”[22] Mallon, Thurner, Chambers and others foregrounded agency and difference. Yet in a rather ironic twist, the Subaltern approach seems to have become a model, and the kind of locality they emphasize can and has been reproduced in widely varying circumstances. After all, could we not say that the varayoc that Thurner looks at are the same as the K’iche elites studied by Greg Grandin, or the local intellectuals that Mallon struggles with, at least as far as they occupy the same place in the model? All are subalterns, because of their locale, yet all are somehow less subaltern than others in their same locale, big fish in a small pond. One might argue that they are only in a small pond if we fail to decenter the traditional sites of state formation, or if we fail to decenter Nation. Indeed the priority given to them as alternatives is meant to do precisely that by underlining their role in history. Yet what are they alternatives for? The problem of alternatives is that they simultaneously constitute that which they are an alternative for.[23]



Finally, attempts to rethink Nation and state, have pushed the origins of nationalism proposed by Anderson back into the colonial period,[24] underscoring the need to consider local and regional histories as within a global context. While one of the primary objectives of the Subaltern Studies project was to deconstruct narratives of monolithic oppositions, imperialism as a framework, relied on the construction of oppositions. Be they economic (developed, underdeveloped), geographical (North, South), or social (civilized, barbarous), the imperium thrives on dichotomies; it requires a process of differentiation between “us” and “them”. Yet, as Edward Said has argued,[25] that differentiation is in actuality a one-sided endeavor. The Other is never revealed in the labyrinth of imperial discourse. Thus, while faint traces of otherness may surface, narratives of imperialism have always been stories of the imperium.

For instance, when Greg Grandin argued that Latin America served as the crucible in which the new American imperialism was forged, his narrative, while using case studies from Latin America was in essence an American story: that of the convergence of free-market fundamentalism, militarism and right wing populism into what has become the Bush doctrine of intervention.[26] And while Grandin’s treatment of Latin America served a more general narrative of political transformation in the United States, the utilization of imperialism as a framework is by no means limited to political histories.

Works dealing with the economic expansion of the United States into Latin America also fall under this same rubric. Thus, while the vignettes of striking workers at Cerro de Pasco and Cuban sugar plantations, or of nationalization under Cárdenas, Velasco, Castro and Allende, make Thomas O’Brien’s The Century of U.S. Capitalism in Latin America a Latin American story, the general narrative arc subordinates those vignettes to the larger tale of American corporate imperialism and the efforts of business elites to shape Latin Americans to fit a U.S. corporate mold.

Whether tales of political, economic, cultural or ecological interventions,[27] those histories told through the imperialist framework recount the imposition of the metropole on the colony, fortifying the binaries of center-periphery or metropole- satellite. Such a binary structure engenders narratives in which the main protagonists tend to be the imperialists, relegating Latin American actors to the role of passive Other.  

Similarly, resorting to theories of dependency or a world-system has proven to reproduce similar binaries.[28] For although the world-system approach addresses a global capitalist system as the main unit of analysis, actors are treated from the perspective of how and where they fit into that system,[29] and are rarely capable of transcending the structures that bare down on them.[30] Some early attempts to redirect attention to the local sphere without losing sight of global structures untangled the articulation of modes of production but given the Marxian underpinnings guiding their analyses, they could not avoid ultimately tying their narratives to the world economic system.[31]

Contrary to ideas of imperialism and global systems, Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of a contact zone has been used to evoke the hybridity and singularity of the local, without obfuscating the reach of the imperium. Whereas narratives of imperialism recounted metropolitan drama and those of dependency told tales of the satellite, contact zone narratives have resisted casting an expansive gaze over broad physical and temporal spaces. Instead, as the term implies, focus on the contact zone and the encounter engendered there was meant to underline the unique and fluid amalgam generated by the meeting of two polities.

The empirical studies offered up in Joseph, LeGrand and Salvatore’s Close Encounters of Empire, stressed how binaries of colonizer and colonized breakdown in the contact zone. Deborah Poole, for example, showed how the shift in “visual regimes” over time complicated a monolithic characterization of the U.S. imperial gaze. Catherine LeGrand used Gabriel García Márquez’s foundational novel, Cien años de soledad, to highlight the local nature of a United Fruit (UNFCo) enclave. Elieen Findlay demonstrated how appropriation of colonial laws regulating marriage and divorce in Puerto Rico both subverted and reinforced the social agenda of colonial administrators.[32]

Yet the utility of the concept of encounter goes beyond cases of U.S. intervention in the region. Although some of the pieces included within Andrien and Adorno’s Transatlantic Encounters necessarily addressed both political and economic structures of Spanish imperialism, the book’s general narrative arc conveyed the singularity of the post-Conquest Andean world. At the meeting of polities generated first by Incan then by Spanish conquest, unique social and cultural forms emerged that reflected something wholly new.[33]

The idea that encounters engender singular phenomena, rather than reproducing the effects of imperial structures can also be seen in the work dealing with Andean utopias and the transfer of Andean millenarianism to the Amazon.[34] Such work highlighted the unique emergence of a variant of Christian millenarianism in which utopia (eu-topas, meaning “without place”) is given a physical space in the form of the former Incan empire, Tahuantinsuyu.[35]

In his discussion of power and the culture of terror, Michael Taussig argued that the colonial encounter generates uniqueness in another way: by fomenting the rise of what he called “epistemic murk.”[36] Contrary to the predominant trend in Amazon Rubber Boom studies, Taussig contended that the atrocities associated with rubber extraction in the upper Amazon cannot be reduced to economics.[37] That is, like Rama, he presented the culture of terror as one in which power is exercised in the process of signification, and those who exercise it are those who can generate a semblance of order (against the chaos of the sign’s arbitrariness) and somehow make it stick. Thus power, as with the real, is multiple and the task of the scholar is less one of identifying a power or a reality and more one of wading through a slough of contending powers and competing realities. This is the crux of epistemic murk. The result is not one of a coherent historical narrative but one of “a surfeit of ambiguous images;”[38] one of dialectical discourse in which modernism “conjures” its own primitivism into life,[39] in which “the victimizer needs the victim to create truth,”[40] where “officialdom strives to create a magical reality.”[41] Such a dialectic occurred in what was for Taussig a conceptual contact zone, a space where colonizer and colonized meet and are mutually constituitive, where binary structures and oppositions breakdown: the space of death.

In very different ways recent scholarship has sought to make space for the agency of individuals and polities as they meet one another. As part of the cultural turn, the site of imagining was pushed from the space of the printed page, to the point of enunciation, as historians read language, literature, and ritual and performance as the local sites of nation-making. Under the influence of Subaltern Studies, historians sought out the local on the periphery and found what they were looking for.  The space of the contact zone, as a theoretical frame, has been used to decenter narratives in a way that allows readers to observe how imperial and colonial encounters engendered unique, singular and fluctuating phenomena in a way that complicates the dichotomy of center-periphery. Yet does this complication of center-periphery mean that the space of death is an example of colonialism’s locality? If Grandin is right that “if capitalism and imperialism think globally, they need to act locally if they are to succeed” how local must the historian go and what will s/he find when s/he gets there?

To introduce his discussion of the silleros who literally carried foreign white travellers on their backs through the eastern slopes of the Colombian Andes, Taussig suggested a reformulation of Gramsci’s hegemony. He hoped to tease out the very different senses of reality that met between the sillero and his seated client. And to do so he proposed exploring the ultimate locality. He wrote “We have to push the notion of hegemony into the lived space of realities in social relationships, in the give and take of social life as in the sweaty warm space between the arse of him who rides and the back of him who carries.” Has Taussig gone too far? 

[1] Greg Grandin, The Blood of Guatemala a History of Race and Nation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), 202.

[2] Benedict R. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, (London: Verso, 1991).

[3]  John Charles Chasteen didn’t like his chronology, José Carlos Chiaramonte was afraid he’s wrong about the influences of the independence movement, and François-Xavier Guerra disagreed about the social role of newspapers in the early nineteenth century. Sara Castro-Klarén and John Charles Chasteen, eds., Beyond Imagined Communities: Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America (Washington, D.C: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2003). All of these critiques try and erode Anderson’s argument from its base, by exploring the minutia. While important, I do not think that they significantly discredit his main points.  

[4] Claudio Lomnitz-Adler, Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001): 14-18; Nancy P Appelbaum, Anne S Macpherson, and Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, eds., Race & Nation in Modern Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).

[5] Of course, Hill Boone and Mignolo’s project is aimed at expanding the notion of writing to demonstrate that Amerindian lacked nothing of the sort. Walter Mignolo and Elizabeth Boone Hill, eds. Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.) 

[6] Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, Trans. Gayatri Spivak, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).

[7] See William French, “Imagining and the Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Mexico,” Hispanic American Historical Review 79, no. 2 (1999) for examples of how the possibilities of imagining have been taken up in Mexican historiography.

[8] Doris Sommer, Foundational Fictions: the National Romances of Latin America, (Berkeley : University of California Press, 1991).

[9] Also see  Fernando Unzueta, “Escenas de lectura: naciones imaginadas y el romance de la historia en Hispanoamérica,” Araucaria. Revista Iberoamericana de Filosofía, Política y Humanidades, 2005,

[10] Sommer, Foundational Fictions, 23.

[11] Angel Rama, The Lettered City, Edited by John Charles Chasteen, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996): 15.

[12] Ibid, 70.

[13] See William E French, A Peaceful and Working People: Manners, Morals, and Class Formation in Northern Mexico, 1º ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996); William French, “In the path of progress : railroads and moral reform in Porfirian Mexico,” Railway imperialism. (1991): 85-102; French, “Imagining and the Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Mexico”; Pablo Piccato, The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere (Durham [NC]: Duke University Press, 2010); Sarah C Chambers, From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854 (University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999).

[14] French, A Peaceful and Working People: Manners, Morals, and Class Formation in Northern Mexico, and “In the Path of Progress: Railroads and moral Reform in Porfirian Mexico.”

[15] Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010).

[16] For a Geertzian approach to the discursive function of public rituals, see William H. Beezley, Cheryl English Martin, and William E. French, Rituals of Rule, Rituals of Resistance: Public Celebrations and Popular Culture in Mexico (Wilmington  Del.: SR Books, 1994); For dance as counterhegemonic in colonial Peru see Irene Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004); For public rituals and early nationalism in Peru see Charles Walker, Smoldering Ashes Cuzco and the Creation of Republican Peru, 1780-1840 (Durham [N.C.]: Duke University Press, 1999); Cecilia Méndez Gastelumendi, The Plebeian Republic the Huanta Rebellion and the Making of the Peruvian State, 1820-1850 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).

[17] Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man; James H. Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).

[18] Florencia E. Mallon, “The Promise and Dilemma of Subaltern Studies: Perspectives from Latin American History,” The American Historical Review 99, no. 5 (1994): 1499.

[19] For specific discussion of the role conflict plays in constituting what Mallon calls communal hegemony, see Florencia E. Mallon, Peasant and Nation the Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 64-65; and Greg Grandin, The Blood of Guatemala, 217.

[20] Mark Thurner, From Two Republics to One Divided: Contradictions of Postcolonial Nationmaking in Andean Peru (Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 1997).

[21]  Chambers, From Subjects to Citizens; For a good discussion of the significance of the rural-urban divide in class formation among the K’iche of Guatemala see Grandin, The Blood of Guatemala. Chambers' study stands out because treatment of subalterns often equates locality with the countryside, reinforcing the urban-rural dichotomy. That said, very good studies have highlighted the crucial contribution of the countryside to national politics. See, for example: Orin Starn, Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes (Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 1999); Starn and Manrique's contributions in Steve J Stern, ed., Shining and Other Paths: War and Society in Peru, 1980-1995 (Durham, NC: Duke Univeristy Press, 1998); Méndez, The Plebeian Republic; and Laura Gotkowitz, A Revolution for Our Rights Indigenous Struggles for Land and Justice in Bolivia, 1880-1952 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).

[22] Grandin, Blood of Guatemala, 202.

[23] Dilip Gaonkar, quoted in Shane Greene, Caminos y Carretera: acostumbrando la indigenidad en la selva peruana, trad. Pastora Rodríguez (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, IEP, 2009), 31.

[24] See Lomnitz’s contribution as mentioned above, Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico, and for the relocation of the origins of statecraft, see Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions.

[25] See Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. Salvatore, eds. Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998): 12-13; Edward Said, Orientalism, (New York: Vintage Books): 45-46; and Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993): xiii.

[26] Greg Grandin, Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. The American Empire Project. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).

[27] Even when the actors weren’t necessarily human, as was is the case with Alfred Crosby’s “portmanteau biota,” the stage may have been on the periphery—The Azores, Madeira, the “Neo-Europes” or the Andes—but the drama emanated from the imperial core. See Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); and Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972).

[28] For more on the similarities and differences between imperialism and world-system theories, see Ronald Chilcote ed., Development in Theory and Practice: Latin American Perspectives, (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), especially the contributions by Chilcote, “Theories of Development: Imperialism, Dependency, or Globalization?”; Aníbal Quijano, “Imperialism and Marginality in Latin America”; and James Petras, “Dependency and World System Theory.” See the introduction to Joseph et al, Close Encounters of Empire, for a critique of these theories.

[29] Petras, “Dependency and World System Theory,” p. 167.

[30] For an example of dependency theory see Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America, (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997); For recent examples of a world-system approach in Latin American environmental history, see J.R. McNeill, “Yellow Jack and Geopolitics: Environment, Epidemics, and the Struggles for Empire in the American Tropics, 1640-1830,” in Rethinking Environmental History: World System History and Global Environmental Change. ed. Alf Hornborg, J. R. McNeill, and Joan Martínez-Alier. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2007. pp. 199-217; and Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1640-1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Shawn William Miller, Fruitless Trees: Portuguese Conservation and Brazil’s Colonial Timber (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000) None of these examples examine questions of human agency.

[31] For two good examples see Florencia E Mallon, The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highland: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860-1940 (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1983); and Barbara Weinstein, The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850-1920 (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1983).

[32] Deborah J Poole, “Landscape and the Imperial Subject: U.S. Images of the Andes, 1859-1930,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations., ed. Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. Salvatore (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 107-38; Catherine LeGrand, “Living in Macondo: Economy and Culture in a United Fruit Company Banana Enclave in Colombia,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 333-368; Eileen J. Findlay, “Love in the Tropics: Marriage, Divorce, and the Construction of Benevolent Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 1898-1910,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998),139-172.

[33] For examples, consider the position carved out of colonial society by the Kurakakuna, as discussed by Thomas B.F. Cummins, “We Are the Other: Peruvian Portraits of the Colonial Kurakakuna,” in Kenneth J Andrien y Rolena Adorno, eds., Transatlantic Encounters: Europeans and Andeans in the Sixteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); Also see Alberto Flores Galindo, Buscando Un Inca (Lima, Peru: Editorial Horizonte, 1988); Michael Taussig, The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980); Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, and Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions.

[34] See Juan M. Ossio A., Ideología Mesiánica Del Mundo Andino: Antología, 2º ed. (Lima: I. Prado Pastor, 1973), especially his discussion of the fusion of Christian and Andean epistemologies in Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva crónica I buen gobierno: Juan Ossio “Guaman Poma: Nueva Crónica o Carta al Rey. Un Intento de Aproximación a las Catagorías del Pensamiento del Mundo Andino,” Ideología mesiánica, pp. 153-213. For more on Andean utopia, see Flores Galindo, Buscando Un Inca; Michael F. Brown and Eduardo Fernández, War of Shadows the Struggle for Utopia in the Peruvian Amazon, 1º ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

[35] Flores Galindo, Buscando Un Inca, 25-30.

[36] Michael Taussig, “Culture of Terror--Space of Death. Roger Casement's Putumayo Report and the Explanation of Torture,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 26, no. 3 (Julio 1984): 467-497; Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man.

[37] Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, 27. For a sample of the literature on the rubber boom, see Michael Edward Stanfield, Red Rubber, Bleeding Trees: Violence, Slavery, and Empire in Northwest Amazonia, 1850-1933, 1º ed. (Albuquerque, N.M: University of New Mexico Press, 1998); Weinstein, The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850-1920; Soren Hvalkof, "Outrage in Rubber and Oil: Extractivism, Indigenous Peoples, and Justice in the Upper Amazon," in Charles Zerner, ed., People, Plants, and Justice: The Politics of Nature Conservation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); Warren Dean, Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber: A Study in Environmental History (Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

[38] Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, 91.

[39] Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, xiv; Greene, Caminos y Carretera.

[40] Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, 8.

[41] Ibid., 4.