The UC Berkeley Latin American History Working Group is a group of graduate students and faculty interested in Latin American history seeking to build an intellectual community of historians and historically-minded scholars from other disciplines. We host twice-monthly working group sessions with presentations of article-length papers or chapter selections from larger projects near publication from advanced students and professors that contribute to discussions of important themes, questions, and theoretical concerns in Latin American history. Each session's discussion focuses on an unpublished paper, article, or chapter distributed to the participants before the seminar reading.
We are especially interested in topics related to transnational history, Latin America and the U.S., urban studies, migration, and comparative political movements. We seek to incorporate graduate students from outside departments such as Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, City Planning, Political Science, and Latin American Studies. By fostering a collegial environment and promoting intellectual exchange among early and advanced graduate students, Berkeley faculty, and scholars from outside fields and universities, we aim to create a cohesive community working together to deepen our understanding of Latin American history.
Guest: Heidi Tinsman, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine
Date: Friday, May 4, 2012
Time: 12:00-1:30 pm
Heidi Tinsman is associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, where she teaches gender history and world history in addition to a variety of classes on modern Latin America. She is author of the book, Partners in Conflict: The Politics of Sexuality, Gender and Labor in the Chilean Agrarian Reform (Duke, 2002) and co-editor with Sandhya Shukla of Imagining Our Americas: Towards a Transnational Frame. She is currently finishing a book entitled, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumer Politics in Cold War Chile and the United States. She is an editor of the Radical History Review.
Work to be discussed:
Professor Tinsman has circulated the Introduction and Chapter 2 of her book project, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States. She has asked that we focus our discussion on the Introduction.
Guest: Dr. Julio Moreno, Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco
Date: Friday, April 20, 2012
Time: 12:00-1:30 pm
"Coca-Cola, U.S. Diplomacy, and the Cold War in America’s Backyard"
This paper looks at how Coca-Coca corporate interests conflicted with U.S. foreign policy and the militant right in Central America and the Caribbean during the Cold War. It argues that this conflict of interests undermined Coca-Cola and even threatened the company’s global business. It shows, however, that the extent to which this conflict of interests undermined the company’s business depended on the manner in which Coca-Cola expanded to neighboring countries, on how the United States and local right-wing factions fought the Cold War in each country, and on the ability of independent franchise bottlers and transnational activists to strategically engage the Atlanta-based company in highly polarized ideological battles.
This paper is a selection from a collection of essays Julio Moreno is co-editing with UT Austin professors, Virginia Garard-Burnett and Mark Lawrence, Beyond the Shadow of the Eagle: New Histories of Latin America’s Cold War, University of New Mexico Press, and part of the overall research for his current book project, What Global Capitalism Leaves to the Nation: Latin America, the United States, and Coca-Cola.
Dr. Julio Moreno is an associate professor and Co-Director of the Center for Latino Studies in the Americas at the University of San Francisco. He is the author Yankee Don’t Go Home!: Mexican Nationalism, American Business Culture, and the Shaping of Modern Mexico, 1920-1950 (University of North Carolina Press, 2003). He is currently writing two books: one looks at the fascinating history of Coca-Cola in Latin America and the other deciphers the nature of American business and diplomacy in Latin America during the Cold War.
Date: Wednesday, November 30
Guest:John Lear, Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at the University of Puget Sound.
Professor Lear is a specialist on twentieth-century Latin America and is the author of Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City and co-author of Chile's Free-Market Miracle: A Second Look.We will be discussing a pre-circulated paper* (to be distributed shortly) titled "Representing Labor: Artists, Workers and Unions in the 1920s".
As always, we request that those interested in attending please read the paper prior to the meeting.
As part of a broader narrative on the development of relations between artists and workers and of the artistic representation of the worker in post-revolutionary Mexico, this chapter explores the first year (1924) of the newspaper El Machete, when it functioned as a vehicle for the politically engaged artists (including Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco) of what would become known as Mexico’s artistic renaissance. It then compares El Machete and its innovative woodprints and line drawings of working class struggles to the almost contemporaneous Revista CROM, the principle organ of the dominant labor federation of the 1920s, which sought to “illustrate” workers, among other ways, by incorporating artwork by mainstream commercial artists that portrayed a view of workers as consumers and nation builders in harmony with capital. These journals merit attention at a variety of levels: as the products of a particular historical moment; as collective artistic and ideological projects; and as pioneers in developing a graphic representation of one of the iconic figures to emerge out of the Mexican Revolution, the worker. This chapter positions each endeavor at the intersection between politics, social mobilization and culture in Mexico in the 1920s, particularly in relation to the rise of the CROM labor federation in association with the governments of Obregón and Calles, the dominant values of labor nationalism and middle class consumerism of the CROM, and the critique of official unionism from the left, namely a nascent communist party fortified by the involvement of a key group of innovative, “revolutionary” artists. It addresses the text and images of each publication as distinct collective, artistic and ideological projects that (attempted to) appeal to workers in different ways, by combining elements of Modernism with distinct popular, radical and national traditions. Each would introduce elements in the graphic representation of the worker that would resonate over the next decades. While I give greatest attention to El Machete as the progenitor of the more innovative graphic tradition, one that would flourish in the popular front radicalism of the 1930s, the comparison to the Revista CROM reflects a pervasive commercial visual culture of the 1920s and anticipates a message of class collaboration and consumerism that would become dominant after 1940.