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Volume 62 / Humanities

HISTORY: Central America


DARÍO A. EURAQUE, Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia
STEPHEN WEBRE, Professor of History, Louisiana Tech University

HISTORICAL PRODUCTION IN AND ABOUT CENTRAL AMERICA continues to grow in quantity and sophistication. Traditionalist concerns and approaches abound, but many works are theoretically informed and many engage innovatively with the social, economic, and cultural implications of their topics. Additional evidence of the vigor of the historical profession is the ongoing series of biennial Central American Historical Congresses, which began in 1992 at Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The eighth such gathering, held in 2006 at Antigua, Guatemala, attracted more than 700 attendees and featured more than 200 paper presentations.

A major publishing event in the field of colonial history was the appearance in print of important PhD dissertations by José Antonio Fernández Molina on the 18th-century indigo boom (item #bi2005000974#), by Martha Few on Guatemalan women and deviance (item #bi2002006690#), and by Robinson A. Herrera on the early social and economic history of Antigua (item #bi2004000482#). The recent growth in interest in the region's African heritage continues with significant works by Rina Cáceres Gómez (item #bi2003002263#) and Paul Lokken (items #bi2002005817# and #bi2006003242#). The approach to the study of kinship and other networks has become more thorough and systematic, as evidenced by recent works of Christophe Belaubre (item #bi2002001718#) and Silvia Casasola Vargas (item #bi2005003344#). The eventful first quarter-century of Spanish settlement in Nicaragua has attracted much attention by scholars with widely varying agendas, such as Pablo Kraudy Medina (item #bi2002006699#), Alejandro Montiel Argüello (item #bi2003002262#), Gustavo Adolfo Villalobos Brilla (item #bi2006003243#), and Patrick S. Werner (items #bi2004003184# and #bi2006002956#). As always, the Bourbon era is well represented in recent publications, featuring new studies on ideas by Sergio García Granados (item #bi2005003340#) and Ivonne N. Recinos (item #bi2005003348#), on the economy by Jorge Luján Muñoz (item #bi2002001728#), on public policy and medical science by Ana Paulina Malavassi Aguilar (item #bi2002001723#) and Stephen Webre (item #bi2002005267#), and on the Independence era by Timothy Hawkins (items #bi2005003346# and #bi2004002001#).

An important preoccupation of scholars of the post-Independence period of late has been the study of discourses of nationhood and national identity, frequently in terms of an "other," as reflected in recent contributions by Darío A. Euraque (item #bi2005003339#), Ronald N. Harpelle (items #bi2001000287# and HLAS 60:1740), Carlos Sandoval García (item #bi2005000916#), Arturo Taracena Arriola and colleagues (item #bi2005000967#), and Justin Wolfe (item #bi2004002518#). Closely related topically are examinations of print culture by Patricia Fumero Vargas (item #bi2006002960#) and Iván Molina Jiménez (items #bi2005001282# and #bi2005000938#). A parallel development is a growing output on immigrants and immigration, including studies of Chinese immigrants by Roberpiere César Augusto Villar (item #bi2005000996#), Italians by Rita Bariatti (item #bi2005000917#), Jamaicans and West Indians by Omar Hernández Cruz (item #bi2001003577#), Palestinians by Roberto Marín Guzmán (item #bi2003002312#), and Spaniards by Giselle Marín Araya (item #bi2001007995#).

Once considered unfashionable by some, the field of political history is being reinvigorated by innovative studies, such as those of Jordana Dym (item #bi2006002959#), Patricia Fumero Vargas (item #bi2001007966#), and Rachel Sieder (item #bi2001005513#). Signs of growing interest in the early national period are found in diverse offerings by Esteban Duque Estrada Sacasa (item #bi2005000978#), Timothy Hawkins (item #bi2006002961#), Aims McGuinness (item # bi2006002002#), and Porfirio Pérez Chávez (item #bi2005000919#). Also, a major episode of the 20th century, the 1932 peasant rebellion in western El Salvador, receives new attention from Aldo Lauria-Santiago (item #bi2002000019#).

As noted in previous years, studies of women and gender continue to appear. Novel approaches represented here include works by Marta Elena Casaús Arzú and Teresa García Giráldez (item #bi2002005231#) and Deborah Levenson-Estrada (item #bi 98000561#). Historia de los movimientos de mujeres en Panamá en el siglo XX contains innovative papers on a heretofore understudied case (item #bi2005000984#), while Lilly Edgerton's book on women physicians in Costa Rica is a crossover from another area of growing interest, the history of medicine and public health (item #bi2005000907#). Recent general medical histories include works by Plutarco E. Castellanos Delgado (item #bi2005000986#) on Honduras, Jorge Eduardo Arellano (item #bi2005000905#) and Elías Corea Fonseca (item #bi2005000987#) on Nicaragua, and María Victoria Arosemena V. and Egberto Stanziola Pinzón (item #bi2005000992#) on Panama.

Finally, a symposium on the history of Pacific Coast maritime commerce held at the University of Costa Rica (February 2001) yielded a boomlet of works on this previously neglected topic, including articles by Miguel Angel Herrera Cuarezma (item #bi2004003179#), Mario René Johnston Aguilar (item #bi2004003182#), Ana Cecilia Román Trigo (item #bi2004003178#), Juan Carlos Solórzano Fonseca (item #bi2004003183#), and Patrick S. Werner (item #bi2004003184#).


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