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Volume 64 / Humanities


Colombia and Ecuador

JANE M. RAUSCH, Professor of History, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

ALTHOUGH THE NUMBER OF ENTRIES FOR COLOMBIA for this reporting period is nearly 50 percent less than those contained in Volume 62, the overall quality of scholarship remains high. The annotated items include novel interpretations of traditional historical problems as well as explorations of topics previously ignored. The publication of papers presented at three different conferences gives an idea of breadth of ongoing investigations. Thirty-eight papers presented at the 13th Congreso of the Asociación de Colombianistas in 2003 deal with topics ranging from history to literature (item #bi2007001163#), while the compilation of 35 papers presented at the VI Cátedra de Historia Ernesto Restrepo Tirado in 2001 specifically focus on aspects of Afro-Colombian experience (item #bi2005001703#). Especially valuable are 13 essays presented by noted scholars at a 2002 conference held in honor of Jaime Jaramillo Uribe (item #bi2006002477#). Intended to update the findings published in La Historia al Final del Milenio (1993), this volume includes reviews of source materials as well as recent analyses of key 19th and 20th century subjects.

Four intriguing studies offer fresh approaches to the independence era: Chasteen argues that Bolívar's accomplishments have been vastly overrated and that he became a hero primarily out of necessity (item #bi2008002135#); Thibaud reviews several failed democratically oriented governments created by the patriots during the struggle to explain why dictatorships emerged in the end (item #bi2005004413#). Saether (item #bi2005004839#) and Helg (item #bi2008002136#) discuss the impact of the war on Indians and Afro-Caribbeans.

New insights into subaltern group experiences are one of several themes in 19th century revisionism. Two entries by Sanders concern Afro-Colombians in Cauca (items #bi2005001705# and #bi2005002191#); Mayor Mora discusses the formation of artisan guilds in Antioquia (item #bi2006002457#); Jurado Jurado shows how men from popular sectors were forcefully recruited as soldiers to fight in the numerous civil wars (item #bi2005004701#), while in a groundbreaking dissertation, Bustamante Tejada investigates the different ways homosexuality was constructed in Antioquia between 1886–1936 (item #bi2007001164#). Obregón Torres has two entries dealing with leprosy as a medical and political issue (items #bi2005001695# and #bi2005002227#). Llano Isaza analyzes the impact of the "Draconian" Liberals between 1849 and 1854 (item #bi2006002454#), and González Rojas' study of the efforts to reform education in 1870 represents a major advance in our understanding of 19th century cultural debates (item #bi2007001166#).

Studies spanning the 19th and 20th centuries include contributions to regional and business history. Under the first category there is Santos Molano's study of the secession of Panama (item #bi2005001709#), Pérez López's examination of the ties between Norte de Santander and the Venezuelan states of Zulia and Táchira (item #bi2006002496#); González Escobar's study of the architecture of Quibdo, Chocó (item #bi2006002492#), and García Bustamante's review of the history of Meta from 1840–1950 through the lens of frontier analysis (item #bi2006002453#). Six separate items deal with aspects of entrepreneurial activities. All are valuable, but truly outstanding is Bucheli's revisionist history of the United Fruit Company operations in Magdalena and Urabá (item #bi2006002255#)

Some strictly 20th century topics deal with the familiar problems of La Violencia, the Rojas Pinilla dictatorship, and government negotiations with guerrillas, but two entries, Díaz (item #bi2007001165#) and Silva (item #bi2006002497#) emphasize an overlooked aspect of the Liberal Republic (1930–46): the efforts of intellectuals to transform rural isolation and popular culture through the diffusion of education, literacy, and the National Folklore Survey of 1942. Defying categorization is a book edited by Langebaek (item #bi2006002476#). A foray into popular history spanning precolonial times to 1993, it consists of brief essays by scholars and journalists who interpret the ramifications of events that occurred on 50 previously determined dates. Original and provocative, there is something here for everyone.

Turning now to Ecuador, three of the 14 items are articles published in an often-overlooked Quito journal, Procesos, now in its 19th year. Two of them are historiographical in nature with Landázuri Camacho reviewing books on independence (item #bi2007000640#) while Bustos Lozano examines contributions to "new Ecuadorian history" written since 1980 (item #bi2007002451#). The third Procesos essay by Friedman (item #bi2007000639#) exposes the tragic fate of Germans living in Ecuador who, branded as enemy aliens during WWII, were forcibly deported to be interned in Texas. Three other items worthy of special mention redefine 19th-century Ecuadorian politics. Williams (item #bi2005001447#) shows how the Liberal reforms of the Urvina administration (1851–59) substantially shaped subsequent Conservative state-building projects, while Buriano Castro argues that García Moreno rejected Catholic doctrines inconsistent with modernizing the state (items #bi2008002138# and #bi2005004713#).

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