Latin American and Related Sessions at the American Historical Association Meeting, December 27-30, 1983, San Francisco, Calif.
Initialed session and committee meeting summaries were written by Thomas M. Davies, Jr. (San Diego State University); Jack P. Greene (The Johns Hopkins University); Jane M. Rausch (University of Massachusetts—Amherst); Linda Lewin (University of California, Berkeley); Susan M. Socolow (Emory University); John V. Lombardi (Indiana University); John D. Wirth (Stanford University); Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr. (Tulane University); Benjamin Keen (emeritus, Northern Illinois University); Stafford Poole, C.M. (Saint John’s College); Richard J. Salvucci (University of California, Berkeley); F. Roy Willis (University of California, Davis); Dolores Moyano Martin (Library of Congress); James W. Wilkie (UCLA); Thomas O’Brien (University of Houston); Fred M. Nunn (Portland State University); June E. Hahner (SUNY, Albany); Peter Bakewell (University of New Mexico); Judith Ewell (College of William and Mary); and Lawrence A. Clayton (University of Alabama).
The Conference on Latin American History held its fifty-sixth annual business meeting at a breakfast on December 29, 1983, in San Francisco, California. Outgoing Chairperson Stuart Schwartz (University of Minnesota) presided.
Following the introduction of Conference officers and honored guests, Schwartz announced the results of the latest CLAH election. Professor Robert A. Potash (University of Massachusetts) will serve as 1984 Vice-Chairperson, and Professors Margaret Crahan (Occidental College) and Warren Dean (New York University) were elected to two-year terms on the General Committee.
The 1983 Conference prize winners were then announced. The Herbert Eugene Bolton Memorial Prize for the best book in English published in the field of Latin American history during 1982 was awarded to Anthony Pagden (Cambridge University), for The Fall of Natural Man (Cambridge University Press). Honorable mentions went to Nathaniel Leff (Columbia University) for Underdevelopment and Development in Nineteenth-Century Brazil, published by Allen and Unwin, and to Steve J. Stern (University of Wisconsin) for Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640, published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
The Conference on Latin American History Prize for the best article published in a journal other than the Hispanic American Historical Review was awarded to John Coatsworth (University of Chicago) for “The Limits of Colonial Absolutism: The State in Eighteenth-Century Mexico,” in Karen Spalding, ed., Essays in the Political, Economic and Social History of Colonial Latin America, published by the University of Delaware Press.
The James Alexander Robertson Memorial Prize for the best article published in the HAHR was won by Richard P. Hyland for “A Fragile Prosperity: Credit and Agrarian Structure in the Cauca Valley, Colombia, 1851-87,” HAHR, 62 (Aug. 1982). Honorable mention went to John E. Kicza (Washington State University) for “The Great Families of Mexico: Elite Maintenance and Business Practices in Late Colonial Mexico City,” HAHR, 62 (Aug. 1982).
The 1983 James R. Scobie Memorial Award went to Terry M. Young (University of Texas) for a dissertation topic entitled “Power, Privilege, and the Struggle for Statehood: Local Militias in Uruguay, 1764–1852.”
Following the announcement of the CLAH prize winners, the chair introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Andrés A. Ramos Mattei (Universidad de Puerto Rico) who presented a fascinating and informative address entitled “New Trends in Puerto Rican History.” Ramos Mattei noted that there has been a birth of new trends in the historical interpretations of Puerto Rican history and that the paramount problem in this new historiography is that of the formation and development of Puerto Rican national identity or conscience. It is, in his words, “an attempt to construct in a new light the answer to the perennial problem of who we are and where we are going. ”
The meeting ended as Chairperson Schwartz passed the gavel to 1984 Chairperson Richard Graham (University of Texas).
SESSIONS AND PANELS
The session “Atlantic Empires: Colonies, Commerce, and International Relations, 1700-1850,” used as a point of departure the recent volume Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 1713-1826 (Baltimore, 1983), by Peggy K. Liss of Washington, D.C. In this broad-ranging volume, Liss argues that the Hispanic American movements for independence during the early nineteenth century were, to an important degree, inspired by European and specifically British eighteenth-century liberal thought, the American Revolution and the creation of the republican United States, and extensive trade between the Spanish colonies and England, France, and British America. Four papers, by Edward L. Cox (University of South Carolina), Anne Perotin-Dumon (University of Notre Dame), Kenneth Maxwell (Columbia University), and John J. TePaske (Duke University) assessed the Liss thesis as it applied respectively to the English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish experiences. While all four found much to praise in the volume, including especially the breadth of its conception, Perotin-Dumon, Maxwell, and Cox suggested that it gave too little attention to the French Caribbean colonies, Brazil, and the British West Indies. Perotin-Dumon also emphasized the role of poor whites in the French islands in the contraband trade, while TePaske and Cox argued that the trading patterns described by Liss had been in existence for at least half a century before the beginning of her study in 1713. Cox, Maxwell, and TePaske all suggested that the book gave too little attention to the regressive conditions and developments, especially the existence of Black slavery and fears of servile and lower-class revolt, that served to limit the ways Hispanic American, British Caribbean, and Brazilian colonists responded to the liberalizing currents emphasized by Liss. In response, Liss agreed both that the French, Portuguese, and British Caribbean experiences deserved more attention than she had been able to give them and that the Atlantic trading system was already in existence in 1713. She also acknowledged the importance of the regressive features emphasized by Cox, Maxwell, and TePaske, but reiterated and elaborated her argument for the greater significance of the progressive currents, at least in the Hispanic American case. She also emphasized the need for a broad, comparative approach to the study of early modern colonial developments. Jack P. Greene (The Johns Hopkins University) chaired the session.
More than sixty people attended the session on “Teaching Twentieth-Century Latin American History: Problems and Possibilities," chaired by Jane M. Rausch (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), which featured three papers: "Teaching Twentieth-Century Latin American History: Where Did We Lose Our Students?” by Michael C. Meyer (University of Arizona); “The Fine Art of Synthesis: Latin American History for Freshmen” by E. Bradford Burns (University of California-Los Angeles); and “The Twentieth-Century Caribbean: Institutional Change and External Influence” by Lester D. Langley (University of Georgia).
Meyer asserted that enrollments in Latin American history courses have declined between 25 and 40 percent in the last twenty years. To blame are the deficiencies of over-specialized and academically arrogant instructors as well as external factors such as “careerism.” To reverse this trend, historians should initiate dialogue with colleagues in related disciplines, take advantage of growing national interest in Latin America to educate the public, and do a better job in the classroom.
Burns argued that renewed emphasis must be placed on the introductory course since it provides the best opportunity to influence the public and to recruit students for other courses, and since it requires historians to hone their skills in analysis, interpretation, and synthesis. An emphasis on presentism, the use of dialectic, and a sensitivity for the Latin American viewpoint are effective ways to reinvigorate the survey course.
Langley addressed the problems of teaching a course on the Caribbean in the twentieth century. To avoid “balkanization,” the “Caribbean” must be defined in the broadest sense as islands and mainland touched by the Caribbean Sea. He noted that the United States is inextricably involved in the region’s destiny, and that a true Central American Union and the creation of a federated nation-state in the former British West Indies offer the brightest hope for the future.
Commentator Frederick M. Nunn (Portland State University) challenged Latin Americanists to define the twentieth-century experience and pointed out that all three papers made a clear case for synthesis, timeliness, and consideration of “things Latin American” as historical determinants. A lively response from the audience suggested that concern for improving teaching is widespread, and that there are no easy solutions to the problem of declining enrollments.
Linda Lewin (University of California, Berkeley) chaired the session “Working Women and the Meaning of the Household: Mexico and Brazil.” Sylvia Arrom’s (Yale University) paper, “Women’s Work and Family Responsibilities in Mexico City, 1811,” drew generalizations based on a sample of the 1811 Municipal Census. She took as her relevant population those women who had worked at tasks synonymous with the same duties they performed as housewives, one-third of all workers in the sample, and offered conclusions that addressed conventional notions in the scholarly literature. Arrom noted that nearly half the “urban lower-class” women worked and challenged the view that female participation in the labor force was either atypical or supplemental. Participation of widows and spinsters, moreover, was not atypical since, respectively, one-fourth and one-third of all women older than twenty-five in the work force belonged to those groups. Marriage and motherhood bore importantly on the kind of employment women sought and accepted, for home-based trades were preferred by women seeking to adapt their productive activities to their reproductive roles. Consequently, younger, single women filled the ranks of domestic service. Finally, the “feminization” of poverty characterized all classes and marital statuses among women, thanks to the cultural myth that fostered the view they either did not need to work or did so as supplemental wage earners.
Sandra Lauderdale Graham (University of Texas, Austin) explored the more elusive subject of the meaning of social space for domestic servants in “Servants and Patrões, Domestic Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1860-1910.” She focused on the familiar distinction drawn between casa and rua in order to use it as a key for understanding the conduct of female servants, arguing that in contrast to the position of privileged women from higher income groups, for domestic servants “zones of safety and danger” were reversed. For the two-thirds of the working-age women in the free population who were gainfully employed, as well as most slaves, private life was often conducted outside the houses where the patroes dominated—in the more public and accessible places, like taverns, comer shops, or tenements. Rather than offering them safety and refuge, their household relationships could be oppressively hierarchical and controlling. Thanks to their ability to cope with the challenge posed by the street, they might find a modicum of liberty and shed their hierarchical restrictions to create from the public sphere a private life, however temporary.
While praising Arrom’s exploration of the issues related to women, Steve Stern (University of Wisconsin—Madison) commented on the pitfalls related to her methodological assumptions, taking issue with her correlation of the ethnicity of castas and Indians with a “lower-class” status. Her reliance on the sample itself drew further questions in terms of methodological rigor. Sandra Lauderdale Graham’s development of the dichotomy between casa and rua he applauded for its insights and suggestions for future directions in social history, noting, however, the restraints that still govern the popular classes in the sphere of The street. Louise Tilly (University of Michigan) breathed into the discussion a welcome comparative perspective drawn from nineteenth-century Europe. She carefully pointed out in an extended analysis where either Mexican or Brazilian situations corresponded with or deviated from trends in Europe and suggested fruitful directions for further interpretive evaluation.
The session entitled “Feminist and Pan-American Issues in Latin American Women’s History, 1880-1940” focused on women’s social and political activity in both the national and international spheres. The session was chaired by Susan M. Socolow (Emory University). Papers included “Sisters under Northern Star and Southern Cross: The International Relations of Women of the Americas, 1880-1935” by Francesca Miller (University of California, Davis) and “South American Feminists as Social Redeemers and Political Pioneers: Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, 1900-1940” by Asunción Lavrin (Howard University). K. Lynn Stoner (Kansas State University), John J. Johnson (University of New Mexico), and Susan Socolow commented.
Francesca Miller traced the international relations between women of the Western Hemisphere, beginning with informal contacts at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1892, and eventually resulting in the creation of the Inter-American Commission of Women in 1928. She found that the later commission was born after long efforts between the women of the Americas to work together on a host of social and educational problems. These women often made use of international scientific congresses to address these problems before 1928. The creation of the Inter-American Commission was therefore not an example of “North American hegemony, female-style,” but rather a belated response to the growth of women’s concern for female issues throughout the Americas.
Asunción Lavrin’s paper concentrated on the emergence and development of feminism among educated women of the middle and upper-middle classes in the Cono Sur. She traced the transformation of the feminist movement from one concerned primarily with social feminism (issues such as moral reform, improved health conditions for mothers and children, regulation of working conditions) to a movement calling for female suffrage. Lavrin also stressed the way in which “social” feminism was able to appeal to cultural assumptions that portrayed women as mothers, nurturers, and altruists. Later feminists, fighting for political representation, also attempted, albeit with less success, to refer to these cultural models.
K. Lynn Stoner praised the work of both Miller and Lavrin for using new methodologies and providing a comparative view of feminism, while commenting on the fact that the history of Latin American women has lagged behind that of most other Western nations. Speaking of Lavrin’s paper, she stressed the use of a model that concentrates on political interaction between an incumbent administration and feminists attempting to influence political decisions. John Johnson was more critical of both papers, citing Lavrin’s lack of attention to women of the lower classes and their reactions to feminism. He also suggested that there was more need for oral history sources, and that the role of the church in feminism should be examined. Susan Socolow called for more attention to the socioeconomic milieu that produced feminism and the feminists. She also underlined the paradox of delayed female suffrage in Argentina, and suggested research into why the Radical party failed to include this issue in its reform platform.
The session on “The political economy of Venezuela, 1830-1880” opened with an excellent paper by Susan Berglund (Universidad Central de Venezuela) that focused on “Government Policy and the Growth of the Casa Boulton, 1830-1865.” The paper, in addition to bringing the results of significant new research in the papers and archives of the Boulton family and associates in Venezuela and England, offered an important interpretation of the origins and operation of mercantile capitalism in the first generation of independent Venezuela. Berglund’s paper demonstrated that the economic crisis of the late 1830s and early 1840s involved both merchants and agriculturalists. The merchant houses were probably as interested in seeing high prices for agricultural properties sold at auction to fulfill contracts as any planter, for the higher the price paid for the agricultural property, the greater that part of the defaulted loan that would be returned to the merchant house creditors. Berglund also demonstrated that the Casa Boulton, while founded by a British citizen, operated not as an outpost of the British empire in Venezuela but as a general mercantile enterprise more interested in trade with the United States than with England, and more concerned with the economic health of Venezuela than with the imperial interests of Great Britain.
The second paper, by Mary B. Floyd (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), focused on the “Merchant Politics of Antonio Guzmán Blanco, 1863-1877,” presenting the interaction of merchant and state in a different time period and context. Floyd’s work, based on the archives and the papers of Antonio Guzmán Blanco, showed the intensely political content of Guzmanato commercial policies. In the years after 1863, Guzmán reorganized Venezuela’s government to be more responsive to the needs of commercial merchant capitalists than to the requirements of the planters. In his campaign to counter the influence of regional caudillos, Guzmán exploited the merchants and commercial lending to acquire the resources to manage Venezuela’s internal politics. Because merchants became an important source of funds for the Guzmán governments, and because his governments made significant progress toward the management of the public debt, Guzmán has been regarded as a paragon of stable, responsible, and fiscally sound governance in nineteenth-century Venezuela. Floyd discussed the variety of mechanisms developed in this period to consolidate debt, attach the interests of merchants to the survival and fiscal solvency of the government, and bring some measure of order and stability to the country.
Two substantial commentaries clearly indicated the strength of these papers. Judith Ewell (College of William and Mary) argued for more attention to the structural characteristics of the Venezuelan economy to place the technical, monetarist emphases of both papers into a broader perspective. Ewell also questioned the model that allocated considerable autonomy to the Venezuelan leadership in the nineteenth century, an autonomy that leaders did not believe they had. Finally, she suggested that the analyses and insights of the two excellent papers could be broadened in future research by the inclusion of a comparative focus with countries such as Mexico or Colombia.
Kathy M. Waldron (Chemical Bank, New York) also stressed the utility of a comparative focus but cautioned against applying the lessons learned in places such as Brazil, where British capital interest was deep and extensive, to countries such as Venezuela, where the commitment was modest. Waldron also emphasized the need for a long view of the composition of trading relationships with England and the United States. The Boulton example is an excellent model, but needs to be extended to other merchant houses to discover whether the trade pattern is general. She also emphasized the importance of credit relationships when evaluating the relative autonomy of merchant capitalists.
In the session entitled “United States Economic Diplomacy Confronts Latin American Nationalism: The Case of Oil,” with John D. Wirth (Stanford University) presiding, the first paper, “Mexico, Venezuela, and the Anglo-American Petroleum Order: From Open Door to OPEC,” was delivered by Clayton R. Koppes (Oberlin College). British and American oil companies competed for Latin American markets and reserves within a framework of overall strategic cooperation that Koppes called the era of informal entente, from 1918 to 1941. The interests of the oil companies and their governments were intertwined, the upshot being a global web of governmental and company objectives in which the Latin American region figured prominently before World War II and less so, thereafter. Responding to the threat of nationalism, especially the 1938 Mexican takeover, Koppes showed how the North Americans tried to distinguish expropriation with compensation, something the United States with its strategic interests could accept, from nationalization in Mexico; this distinction indicated the United States’ wish to head off the issue through timely reforms (such as the famous 50-50 profit split in Venezuela, which, engineered by Max Thornberg of the United States State Department, set the worldwide industry standard for a generation, until the early 1970s).
Jonathan C. Brown (University of Texas, Austin) followed with his paper on “Business Diplomacy and the Oil Companies in Mexico and Venezuela, 1911-1930. Whereas Koppes had stressed political and strategic factors, Brown focused on the economics of the oil business, showing on the basis of company records just how greatly decisions were determined and limited by supplies, markets, and prices. Contrasting Mexico and Venezuela, Brown pointed out the importance of internal marketing in Mexico, despite that country’s short preeminence as the world’s premier exporter, and the very different business environment of Venezuela, where external marketing networks were paramount.
Commenting on these two excellent papers, Edwin Lieuwen (University of New Mexico) praised Koppes for putting the Latin American cases into the global perspective of the world capitalist system, defending against Third World nationalism, but he questioned whether Britain and the United States, especially, really followed through with consistent policy. Brown showed very well the business decision-making part of the story. But each author clearly wrote from his sources—government papers for Koppes, company archives for Brown. To Koppes, the price of oil has always been politically determined; to Brown, supply and demand were primary considerations, especially when new oilfields were opened. The upshot is that more could still be learned about the precise role of governments and the companies, in counterpoint to actions by the Latin American states themselves.
Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr. (Tulane University), chaired the session “The Panama Canal: Its Sociocultural Impact,” which, in variance with the printed program, included papers by geographer Bonham Richardson (Virginia Polytechnic Institute) and historian Michael L. Conniff (University of New Mexico), with comment by E. Bradford Burns (University of California, Los Angeles). The session concentrated on the social consequences of the employment of large numbers of West Indian workers in the construction of the Panama Canal.
Richardson, in “The Social and Economic Impacts of the Panama Canal on Barbados,” which was accompanied by a slide presentation, detailed the momentous social and economic change on that island occasioned by the return of workers and the influx of money from Panama. The local sugar industry was forced to modernize because of the loss of labor. Planter paternalism declined, Black food-sharing relationships dissolved, and mutual-aid so-cieties were transformed into more militant trade unions. The returning workers purchased thousands of small land plots, thereby gaining partial independence from the local plantocracy as unsettling demographic and economic changes also led to incipient political activity on the part of Black Barbadians.
Conniff, in “Black Labor on a White Canal: West Indians in Panama, 1904-1980,” described the immigration of West Indian workers to Panama between 1850 and 1940 as a demographic tidal wave.” Those employed by the Canal formed the Silver Roll a euphemism to describe nonwhites who were segregated from white North Americans on the “Gold Roll.” In effect, Canal managers imposed Jim Crow segregation, while West Indians competed against native Panamanians for jobs. Conniff traced the deteriorating relations between the West Indians and Panamanians until 1945, and the gradual improvement in these relations after that date. He also described the rising pressures to eliminate racial segregation and the divided labor force. By 1978, he concluded, most of the ills of the original system had been eliminated. Following his paper, Conniff also showed some slides illustrating West Indian housing in Panama.
Commenting on the session, Burns noted that both papers treated West Indian laborers as victims of capitalism and testified to the treatment of them in the early twentieth century and the grim conditions under which laborers struggled for survival. He also called attention to the fact that the importation of West Indian labor to Panama intensified, rather than created, racism in Panama, deepening already existing racial divisions on the isthmus. Finally, he drew comparisons with other Central American countries, notably Nicaragua, regarding the problem of racial division and the powerful role of the United States in the internal affairs of these states.
Benjamin Keen (emeritus, Northern Illinois University) chaired the session on “Immorality, Crime, and Rebellion in Spain and Colonial Spanish America.” Ruth Pike (Hunter College) examined the theory and practice of “Penal Practices in Early Modern Spain,” with emphasis on the eighteenth century, when the traditional system underwent a transformation under the impact of changing conditions and the criticism of the enlightened penal reformers. In the 1780s and 1790s the principle of proportionality of penalties was accepted and judicial torture fell into disuse. By the last years of the eighteenth century, the ideas of the penal reformers had so changed the spirit of the courts that legal decisions were more in accord with enlightened thought than with existing laws.
In his paper on “Manners and Morals in Sixteenth-Century Central America,” William L. Sherman (University of Nebraska) observed that although Inquisition records reveal surprisingly few cases of immorality in sixteenth-century Central America, other contemporary documents suggest much wider antisocial activity on the part of colonists. Judicial reviews of royal officials contain many allegations of fornication, adultery, bigamy, blasphemy, and other immoral behavior involving not only the most prominent civil authorities, but also members of the clergy. Owing to the bad examples of the pillars of authority, as well as to the lack of vigorous prosecution and to mild punishment, flagrant abuses of accepted moral codes were widespread.
The paper on “Crime and Punishment in the Túpac Amaru Rebellion” by Leon G. Campbell (University of California, Riverside) noted that the Túpac Amaru rebellion of 1780 in southern Cuzco represented a serious challenge to the Spanish legal system in Peru and a direct threat to royal sovereignty. Following a decade of litigation in which he attempted to validate his claim to the royal Inca line, Túpac Amaru opted to engage in open warfare against royal authority, appointing his own officials, collecting tribute, deploying armies, and presenting himself as the Inca. The Túpac Amaru defendants were convicted of the crime of lèse majesté and sentenced to gruesome deaths, reflective of the court’s belief that the rebels intended to restructure society and government in a way that would deny Spaniards and creoles their rightful privileges.
Commentator Lawrence A. Clayton (University of Alabama) pointed out that beneath the obvious realities of colonial life, such as Indian exploitation, public administration, trade, and other features well known to colonialists, the three papers explored the more intimate and personal lives of early modern men both in Spain and the Americas. Crime, sexuality, rebellion, and Indian nationalism all played subtle roles in determining the nature of the Hispanic world, and Clayton welcomed the remarks by Pike, Sherman, and Campbell for the insight they added to our vision of the past.
The session on “Secular Clergy and Society in Late Colonial and Early Republican Mexico and Peru” was chaired by the Very Reverend Stafford Poole, C. M. (Saint John’s College), with papers by the Reverend Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M. (Academy of American Franciscan History), and Paul Ganster (University of California, Los Angeles). The commentator was John Frederick Schwaller (Florida Atlantic University). The session was organized by James D. Riley (Catholic University of America).
Father Tibesar’s paper on “Reflections on the Writings of the Peruvian Clergy, 1825-1900” contrasted their great literary activity in the 1840s with their relative silence at the time of independence. The clergy of the 1820s and 1830s were influenced by Febronianism and the Council of Pistoia more than by Rome. A change came in the 1840s under stronger leadership, especially that of Archbishop Luna Pizarro. Literary activity switched from books to newspapers. A weakness of this activity was that the clergy were now fighting past battles rather than contemporary ones.
Ganster’s paper, “Clerical Careers in Late Colonial Lima and Mexico,” examined eighteenth-century career patterns of secular clerics in the Archdioceses of Lima and Mexico. Career was linked to family social and economic status. Most of the few who became chapter members and parish priests were from elite families. More humble men occupied less prestigious, often menial posts. A typical successful career included the following steps: education (to doctorate) and ordination; interim employment in a myriad of posts; rural parish with moves, culminating in an urban parish; and a chapter appointment. As to the rest of the clerics, some pursued essentially civilian occupations, others made a career of jobs, or combination of jobs, in the church. Most clerics remained active in family life and participated in colonial society.
Schwaller’s commentary attempted to relate the two presentations. Priests followed a set career pattern in a royal bureaucracy and their activities were governed by royal as well as canon law. He emphasized the increasing regalism of the Bourbon monarchs in the eighteenth century and how statism was part of the ecclesiastical scene.
Richard J. Salvucci (University of California, Berkeley) chaired the session entitled “Social Perspectives on Late Colonial Guadalajara: Elites and Society from 1790 through 1821” in the absence of Alejandra Moreno Toscana. Papers presented ranged from Rodney Anderson’s (Florida State University) analysis of the census of Guadalajara of 1821-22; to Carmen Castaneda’s (Archivo Histórico de Jalisco) study of the relationship between the University of Guadalajara and the region’s elite; to Brian Connaughton’s (UNAM) contribution on clerical ideology in Guadalajara’s changing society. Dawn Keremitsis (West Valley College) read Castaneda’s paper in her absence. Comments were provided by Eric Van Young (University of California, San Diego).
Anderson’s paper was based on a systematic sample drawn from the census of Guadalajara of 1821-22, and focused on the major categories of household and family formation. Among other findings, Anderson concluded that 55 percent of all families enumerated were nuclear, and that these accounted for 46 percent of the city’s total population. Fourteen percent of all families in the sample were defined as extended; three-generational families accounted for 13 percent of those counted. One-quarter of all families in the sample were headed by women. Generally, Anderson argued that European demographic history might mislead those working in Mexican history. “Methodology is not immune to cultural bias,” he concluded.
Connaughton adopted a rather different approach. In his paper, he argued that high church ideology in Guadalajara moved from frank acceptance of social and cultural modernization to a growing uncertainty between 1788 and 1825. Political instability acted as the catalyst for this transition. The internal struggle in the church between progressives and traditionalists rent the unity of church discourse, but reconciliation and the search for a renewed self-confidence appeared by 1825. Connaughton based his ideological analysis on the genre of sermons.
Castaneda’s paper (as summarized by Keremitsis) argued that the University of Guadalajara was to become a training ground for the region’s elite after its establishment in 1792. Family relationships and marriage united a majority of students whose careers were determined by social and political demand, either in church or civilian occupations. Illustrious padrinos often sponsored several students, and this helped to maintain an integrated ruling class. In sum, a study of the university between 1792 and 1821 can clarify the development of a growing regional elite.
In his comments, Eric Van Young raised several issues. Regarding Anderson’s paper: what was the probability that his findings were biased by an existing bottleneck in housing that affected Guadalajara in the early nineteenth century? In consideration of Connaughton’s presentation, Van Young asked for a more precise formulation of the relationship between ideology and social change. Of Castañeda’s paper, Van Young asked a more detailed consideration of the social reproduction of an elite group. Comments from the audience followed. A particular issue raised by J. León Helguera was the regional origins of liberal thought within the church, and the extent to which it became increasingly defensive over the nineteenth century.
F. Roy Willis (University of California, Davis) chaired the session “Comparative Rural History: Protests in Ireland, China, and Bolivia.” Donald E. Jordan, Jr. (Stanford University), in “Merchants, ‘Strong Farmers’, and Fenians: The Post-Famine Political Elite and the Irish Land War,” analyzed the conditions in County Mayo (western Ireland) in the 1860s and 1870s that resulted in the formation of a new political elite and that led the protests of the Land War in 1879. Jordan’s paper showed that the divisions between the small farmers in the peripheral areas and the large farmers and merchants in the central corridor of the county initially strengthened the movement but also caused its rapid disintegration thereafter. Erick D. Langer (Stanford University) examined “Rebellion and Reciprocity on Andean Haciendas.” After a summary of rebellions in the area from 1914 to 1930, Langer, concentrating on the department of Chuquisaca in southern Bolivia, argued that the Andean traditions of reciprocity and rebellion were important in understanding the revolts on haciendas. Tani Barlow (University of California, Berkeley) read Roxann Prazniak’s (University of California, Davis) paper, “County-Village Politics and the Emergence of a New Political Elite in China During the Late Qing New Policy Reforms, 1906-11.” Prazniak determined that the New Policy Reforms strengthened the power of the local elites at the expense of the state, especially in the area of tax collection. Increased taxation led to resistance by less-influential merchants and rural leaders, who allied themselves with traditional organizations within the towns and countryside.
Commentator Gary Hamilton (University of California, Davis) remarked that while the papers ranged over a large geographical area, all three speakers, as historians have traditionally done, maintained a class-based analysis. Hamilton called for the participants to emphasize more the role of culture in examining rural protests.
Thomas M. Davies, Jr. (San Diego State University) chaired the December 29 session, “Comparative Oligarchies in the Spanish-Speaking World.” Papers included Douglas W. Richmond’s (University of Texas at Arlington) “Latin American Oligarchies in Comparative Perspective, 1570-1910,” and David R. Ringrose’s (University of California at San Diego) "The Spanish Oligarchy: European or Latin American.” Commentators were Donna J. Guy (University of Arizona) and Thomas M. Davies, Jr.
Richmond sought to construct a comparative modernization model for Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Brazil within which he argued that the era from 1880 to 1910 had been a productive one. The elite, he noted, instituted dependency on the external export sector, but left behind enduring contributions in the form of transportation, public works, and internal markets. Political reforms were the direct result of attempts to control the national militaries and allowing the middle class to develop. Social development, however, was largely confined to the urban sector.
Ringrose’s paper examined briefly the social integration of old regime elements (village notables, absentee rentiers, and middlemen in the supply trades of the interior) into a collection of vertical hierarchies. The structural factors involved were the modification of local government, the elaboration of central administration at the expense of local autonomy, the development of the cacique system, and the mechanisms for recruiting personnel. As Spain developed, a number of regional hierarchies appeared and the state fell under the control of the largest—that of the agricultural interior. By the end of the century, however, the relationship was becoming reversed, and the political class in Madrid was often more involved with irrelevant imported ideologies than with the real productive sectors of society.
Guy presented a critique of Richmond’s “Latin American Oligarchies in Comparative Perspective, 1870-1910,” and pointed out that this paper was part of a recent trend to reexamine the nature of oligarchies in the Spanish-speaking world. While she praised the pioneering aspects of Richmond’s work, she noted that there are many problems to resolve before trying to compare often vastly dissimilar oligarchical experiences. Furthermore, the intent of oligarchical governments needs to be analyzed as well as performance in order to assess the relative merit of their accomplishments. Thus “process and aspirations must be addressed before a realistic evaluation of Latin American oligarchies can occur.”
In his comments, Davies noted that despite the seemingly disparate topics, the two papers actually complemented each other exceptionally well. Moreover, taken together, the papers demonstrated that there were marked similarities in the socioeconomic and political development patterns in both the Spanish American republics and their madre patria in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, similarities due in large part to the nature of Hispanic culture and Hispanic value systems. In short, the oligarchies in both Spain and Spanish America all sought to achieve the same goal: how to change everything without really changing anything in the way of basic social values and asymmetrical patron-client relationships and how to modernize without running the risks to the established order inherent in the process of modernization.
Dolores Moyano Martin (Library of Congress) chaired the session entitled “The United States and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century.” Papers presented included “Scientists vs. Soldiers: Cultural Implications of the U.S. Health Policy in Puerto Rico by Blanca Silvestrini-Pacheco (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras); “United States Cultural Influences on the English-Speaking Caribbean During the Twentieth Century” by Franklin W. Knight (The Johns Hopkins University); and Cathy E. Duke’s (Vassar College) “United States’ Cultural Influences on the Hispanic Caribbean: Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.” Colin A. Palmer (University of North Carolina) and Georgette M. Dorn (Library of Congress) commented.
The three papers complemented each other and highlighted regional diversity. Silvestrini-Pacheco analyzed deftly the kind of health care brought by United States military and civilian contingents to Puerto Rico during the two decades following the Spanish-American War. Although primary concerns were the medical needs of United States personnel, great breakthroughs were nevertheless achieved in epidemiology, tropical medicine, and public health. Knight in his paper explored with keen insight the degree of United States cultural penetration in the Anglophone Caribbean, pointing out different degrees of penetration at various periods in the present century. What remains surprising, according to Knight, is not how much the English-speaking Caribbean has been americanized, but, given the circumstance, how little. Duke in her paper addressed the wholesale and sometimes overwhelming transfer of North American values, practices, and cultural norms in the Hispanic Caribbean.
Commentators Palmer and Dorn agreed that there had been and continues to be a considerable amount of North American cultural penetration in the entire Caribbean. Palmer emphasized the economic and political ramifications of cultural transfer on the level of elite, as well as on popular culture. Dorn stressed the concept of a generalized americanization of post-World War II Western culture and its increasing pervasiveness throughout the world.
The session “Economic Development and Nation State in Latin America, 1850–1930, chaired by James W. Wilkie (UCLA), featured three papers: “The State’s Contribution to the Development of Brazil’s Internal Economy, 1850-1930” by Steven Topik (Colgate University); "The State and Economic Development Policies in Argentina, 1868-1880 by Carlos Marichal (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa, Mexico); and “Planning for Mexican Industrial Development: The Liberal Nation-State and Tariff Policy, 1867-1910” by Barbara Tenenbaum (University of South Carolina).
Hypothesizing that the role of the liberal or laissez-faire state is more complex in nineteenth-century Latin America than previously thought, the authors argued that although, on the one hand, the framework of intellectual debate favored limitation on state power, on the other hand, the framework of reality meant a gradually increasing state role that moved from a passive to an active position in society.
Topik refuted the idea articulated by E. Bradford Burns that the export oligarchy was “in absolute control” of Brazil; and Topik showed that the state played a role in national affairs by distributing some major public-policy benefits from export to internal producers. Topik examined monetary, fiscal, and transportation policy under the empire and the republic to show the contradictory issues faced. For example, both export and internal producers favored federal export taxes rather than internal ones in order to prevent taxation on land values, but the taxes tended to return to the urban rather than to the agricultural sector: São Paulo, which was responsible for half of Brazil’s exports and sometimes as much as 80 percent, paid 3.5 times more into the national treasury than it received under the empire and as much as nine times more under the republic. It was the Federal District that benefitted most from federal expenditures (which sought to build a proud national capital, seen in Rio de Janeiro’s port, railways, banks, government buildings, and industry). Although much spending in Rio probably served to fuel imports, increasing demand was met by domestic producers because tariff policy, the weak mil-réis, and the expansion of the railroad allowed them to outcompete importers. If the state did not directly help internal producers, neither did it much help the export producers who needed little beyond relatively unfettered land, labor, and capital markets, and the transportation infrastructure. As long as the state maintained social peace and inequality, attracted foreign capital, granted some local autonomy, and kept taxes at a minimum, the planters were probably satisfied. The state was a tool for maintaining a political pact, not redistributing wealth to the oligarchy.
Marichal argued that the growth of state activity was so pervasive from 1868 to 1880 that the state inevitably came to have an active role because of bureaucratic control over legislation, the courts, the legal system, the military and police, the tax, monetary, and financial system, the postal, telegraph, and transportation system, the fostering of agricultural production by opening lands, the encouragement of immigration, the gaining of foreign capital for “national” development, and the creation of national health and educational systems. Marichal examined the role of the Ministry of Interior in Argentina and the role of foreign loans to show that while the state did not come to have the preeminent role that it would after 1930, neither did it have the passive role depicted in the views of those who see Latin American history as having lived under “liberal,” laissez-faire policies.
Tenenbaum argued that if one studies only ideology in Mexico from 1850 to 1910, one will not understand that, regardless of ideology, Mexico’s politicians were well aware that the country usually depended on import taxes for 30 to 70 percent of government income. Half or more of the Mexican duties were not tariffs in any real sense because Mexico did not produce those goods; rather, they served as excise or luxury taxes collected by the government because income taxes were difficult to collect. The tariff issue was complex: by the 1870s, even liberal politicians were reacting to demands of internal manufactures to develop a “national” market by building railroads and telegraphs and roads and bridges, which would allow Mexicans to sell what they produced rather than simply to protect it behind high tariffs. Yet, new tariffs in 1887 would become important to help a French-dominated manufacturing sector compete against equivalent British and North American goods. Hence, even as the country was developing a strong national identity and seeking to build the communications needed to bind the nation together, the international character of capital was helping Mexico to protect itself.
In the comment, Michael P. Monteón (University of California, San Diego) noted that the three papers fit into the theory of government and bureaucratic modeling wherein state power is seen to establish private power to compete with and to control.
Chile-Río de la Plata Studies Committee—Lyman L. Johnson (University of North Carolina-Charlotte) chaired this session, which featured a presentation by Brian Loveman (San Diego State University), “Efforts to Implement a Military Ideology in Chile.” Loveman examined three topics: the economic and political policies of a dictatorship guided by a radical ideological project”; the 1980 Constitution, which attempts to institutionalize the new political and economic order; possible political coalitions that might emerge as replacements for the Pinochet regime. On the first topic, Loveman concluded that the dictatorship’s failed neoliberal economic schemes are likely to be modified by any future government. As for the regime’s antidemocratic political policies, they have failed to destroy Chile’s political traditions. Loveman described the 1980 Constitution as a corporatist document that outlaws political pluralism. In reviewing possible political coalitions, he noted that the fracturing of the populace among the left, right, and center remains much the same as in the early 1970s.
Following Loveman’s remarks, the discussion gave particular attention to comparisons with Argentina and factors that distinguish the current political situations in the two countries.
In concluding comments, Lyman Johnson urged committee members to consider nominations for the position of executive secretary that will become vacant at the end of next year and to submit topic suggestions for future meetings of the committee.
Projects and Publications Committee—The Committee met on Wednesday, December 28, 1983, in the Sheraton-Palace Hotel. Lawrence A. Clayton (University of Alabama), Thomas M. Davies, Jr. (San Diego State University), and Richard Graham (University of Texas, Austin) also attended. Chairman Nunn (Portland State University) reported that the CLAH-Tinker Teaching Atlas was now available from the University of Wisconsin Press.
Clayton, Davies, Graham, and Nunn all commented on the CLAH-University of Texas proposal for the Guide to Hispanic Manuscripts that was turned down by NEH. The committee voted to suspend the project. In other action, following lengthy discussion in each case, the committee voted against recommending to the General Committee CLAH sponsorship of two projects submitted during 1983: The Atlas do Império do Brasil and the Readings in Latin American History. The committee also voted not to take up the question of a new comprehensive Index to the HAHR until further details had been worked out.
Committee on Brazilian Studies—The December 26, 1983, meeting chaired by June E. Hahner (State University of New York at Albany), featured a round table discussion on Carnaval and Culture,” with Kátia de Queirós Mattoso (Universidade Católica de Salvador), José Carlos Sebe Bom Meihy (Universidade de São Paulo), Robert M. Levine (University of Miami), and Renato Ortiz (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais).
Levine traced the history of popular culture studies in Brazil, noting that many case studies tend to be ahistorical and that much work on popular culture has been too abstract, failing to open up new sources of documentation. Sebe questioned the customary linking of carnaval and popular culture. Ortiz argued that carnaval is an important key to the evolution of Brazilian ideology and urged an examination of the way in which carnaval has been incorporated into that ideology over time. Agreeing with Levine’s critique of studies dealing with carnaval, Mattoso discussed the historical evolution of carnaval, and asked why it emerged as the dominant religious and street festivity in Brazil while others declined. She cited changing modes of celebrating carnaval and the changing regional character of carnaval, especially in Bahia.
In the discussion following, many questions were raised, including some on sources, the value of historical studies of carnaval, the evolving nature of carnaval, the need for regional studies, and class differences and carnaval.
Mexican Studies Committee—This Committee, meeting December 29, 1983, held a discussion of recent and future trends in the economic and social historiography of colonial Mexico. Woodrow Borah (University of California, Berkeley) led the discussion with a spirited and incisive commentary on past work by Mexican, United States, and European historians, signaling strengths and weaknesses. Some of the points he stressed were: growing accessibility of an expanding range of sources; advances in technique (through both data processing and increasing sophistication in such matters as technical bibliography and paleography); European predominance in supplying formative ideas for the study of Mexican colonial history; the dangers of fashion and passion in approaching topics; and the likelihood that university expansion in both Mexico and the United States, in conjunction with data processing, would lead to a great increase of knowledge of colonial Mexico. Borah then pointed out opportunities for further research in the following topics: demography, long-range and domestic trade; production; biography and prosopography; labor; taxation and finance; government; church matters; military affairs; urban and frontier history; living conditions, nutrition, housing; and the ideology of the common people.
In the comments that followed Patricia Seed (Rice University) emphasized recent advances in statistical techniques—these allowing innovations in processing categorical data that give rise, in turn, to new questions. Miscegenation is a topic that can be studied much more fully than in the past through the use of these techniques. Seed called for imagination in the use of statistics.
Other matters raised were: the future availability, although at no certain date, of printed versions of the cartas cuentas of the treasury of Mexico City (edited by John TePaske and Herbert Klein, respectively of Duke University and Columbia University); the need to investigate questions of public health and medical practice; a need for further studies on encomienda and labor repartimientos; the desirability of greater knowledge of the middle period (1600-1760); the utility of Mormon microfilms of ecclesiastical and civil data; the need for synthesis of recent regional work; the occurrence of business records in judicial as well as notarial archives; innovative ethnohistorical work on colonial Mexico being carried out at the University of California (Los Angeles); contact and collaboration among United States and Mexican historians.
Finally, the adverse effects for Mexican historians and academic institutions of the country’s present economic problems (and especially the devaluation of the peso) were discussed. Several members of the committee stressed the need for foreign scholars to donate publications to Mexican libraries.
Committee on Gran Colombian Studies—Judith Ewell (College of William and Mary) presided over the annual dinner meeting of the Committee. Fourteen members discussed current historical research in the Gran Colombian nations. Of particular interest were Frank Safford’s (Northwestern University) account of a recent historical conference he attended in Colombia, Doug Washburn’s information on the Banco Central of Ecuador and its publishing projects, and J. C. and Barbara Robinson’s progress report on their computer data collection on Colombia at California State. Kathy Waldron (New York City) asked that historical works published in the Gran Colombian countries be brought to her attention for inclusion in the next edition of the Handbook of Latin American Studies. Others reported on research in progress on Venezuela, on Ecuador, and on Colombia. Charles Bergquist (Duke University), the new chairperson of the Committee, asked that scholars, members, and interested individuals send him suggestions for the meeting’s format in 1984 and for the names of any scholars who are working on topics of interest to the Committee.
Committee on Andean Studies—The Committee met at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel on December 28. Lawrence A. Clayton (University of Alabama) presided over the session, which included formal presentations by Steve J. Stern (University of Wisconsin) and Peter Klarén (George Washington University). The title of the session was “New Directions in Andean History: An Analysis and Dialog.’’ Stern and Klarén accepted the assignment of critiquing and evaluating two of the most important works in modern Andean historiography: Carlos Sempat Assadourian’s El sistema de la economía colonial: Mercado interno, regiones y espacio económico (Lima, 1982) and Rosemary Thorp and Geoffrey Bertram’s Peru, 1890-1977: Growth and Policy in an Open Economy (New York, 1978).
Stern demonstrated how Assadourian’s work offers several original contributions that force a rethinking of conceptual schemes and their empirical foundations. Assadourian once again raises the importance of regional markets in the scheme of colonial society and economy. He presses for an assessment in interregional American terms distinct from the conventional dichotomy between international and home markets. His emphasis on the importance of broad “economic spaces’’ structured around “growth poles’’ such as Lima and Potosí challenges us to break from the traditional genre of narrowly framed, obsessively internal regional histories. Assadourian’s powerful argument for the primacy and far-reaching impact of mining casts doubt on historical study that focuses on agrarian trends and structures largely apart from their relation to the large mining and commercial centers. His reluctance, on rigorous empirical and theoretical grounds, to interpret the colonial formation as either “feudal” or “capitalist” also challenges us to understand the limits of our inherited abstract categories, and to contemplate the necessity of a new one. In these and other ways, Assadourian forces us to rethink the conceptualization, substance, and methodology of colonial economic history, and to question whether some of our debates are obsolete.
At the same time Stern offered several points of doubt and skepticism about Assadourian’s interpretations. These reservations had to do with the need for more precise delineations of the character of the “internal market”; the absence of a more considered investigation of the alleged “dominance” of commercial capital overproduction, especially production in the agrarian and indigenous sectors; and Assadourian’s elite-centered vision of social change and conflict, a vision that generally fails to consider the impact of popular resistance on the structure and evolution of the colonial economy. Stern concluded by praising Assadourian for developing bold hypotheses, findings, and interpretations that should drive us to rethink our field and to ask new questions in our research.
Klarén analyzed several aspects of Thorp and Bertram’s seminal economic history of modern Peru. On the role played by foreign capital in the “development of underdevelopment,” Thorp and Bertram conclude that “the net impact of foreign capital on Peruvian growth up to 1930 was negative—on balance . . . the economy would have reached a higher level of GNP by 1930 without foreign capital than with it.” Yet, as Klarén pointed out, the authors go beyond economic explanations for Peru’s slide into export dependence by creatively exploring the political dimension of the question. Given the class bias of the Civilist party and its hammerlock on the levers of power for almost two decades, where was the political possibility for the adoption of an alternative economic development model? Klarén noted that some have located the germ of a nascent nationalist movement (Mallon, Baltazar Carevedo), yet the working class was still too small and struggling for its own identity and recognition (Blanchard) to successfully exert a “counter export,” proindustrial policy on the regime. In any case, there seems to have been no possibility, as Thorp and Bertram pointedly declare, of a Peruvian “Francia” emerging at this point in time to close off the Peruvian economy from the outside world. Klarén concluded that no real political alternative appeared until the rise of the generation of 1919, led by Haya and Mariátegui, but it would take the international crisis of 1929 to galvanize national populism into a realistic alternative to the liberal state. For Thorp and Bertram, that effort, in economic terms, was also flawed.
After the papers, the floor was opened to questions and comments. Professor Tulio Halperín (University of California, Berkeley) especially added to this part of the session with some entertaining insights into Sempat’s character and work.