I will go ahead and start our thread for the reading this week. I am a little more than halfway through the text at just finishing chapter five, so I thought I’d share some first impressions with you all. I thought Salvatore’s study of the relationship between the development of Latin American Studies and U.S. interests in the region conveyed transnationalism through a unique perspective-using academia to promote knowledge of the region that reaffirms U.S. interests (and imperialist policies) there. I think the ‘transnational’ view is first established in chapters one and two. Salvatore emphasizes not only the physical travel of the scholars to these regions and the information they brought back with them, but also how new economic and political interests in the region ensured continued academic attention to the area. What do you all think-how would you say the text has defined transnationalism? I found myself thinking about what we can gain from understanding transnationalism by studying the development of a field of study of another region.
Just another thought about chapter five: I thought it is interesting how Haring used the criticism of Spanish colonialism in South America to inspire “Pan-American unity”, and the support of the U.S.’ “Good Neighbor Policy.” Did this chapter stand out to you all too?
I definitely think that Salvatore presents a transnational view on the topic. In looking at the Historiography or rather a segment of the historiography of south american studies in the US, he is presenting a network of academia in the area that is transnational because it involves more than one country and their “reciprocal” relationship. The actual paradigm that the scholars seemed to adhere to however, while transnational with their intention seemed very comparative. Everything from studying the Spanish colonial shortcomings to oversimplifying south american issues in order to make sens of their lack of modernity was in a sense comparative. The paradigm is clearly ethnocentric and speaks to American exceptionalism.
My question is can there be a model for transnational intellectual exchange and cooperation that is somewhat more reciprocal than what Salvatore posits was the center and peripheral paradigm?
I agree that the scholars seem to adhere to a comparative paradigm, particularly in Clarence Haring’s work, and Edward Ross’ findings in chapter eight. I think bringing up the role of American exceptionalism in these studies is important too, like you mention, it definitely gives their studies a more comparative analysis. As it was presented by Salvatore, I thought Edward Ross’ progressivism was an example of how American exceptionalism was the center of these scholars’ works- that South American countries’ social, economic, and political structures should strive to emulate the U.S. system because they considered it to be the highest standard, while simplifying complex issues that otherwise would not be friendly to U.S. interests.
Salvatore’s approach to academia as part of the foundation of US empire was insightful and unexpected. I say unexpected because I have never looked at the search for accurate cultural knowledge as a way to gain national superiority. I agree with Soraya and Alan that this book is absolutely transnational in nature, in fact he himself characterizes it as such. However, it had me wondering, just like last weeks reading, what is the relationship between transnationalism and nationalism? In the beginning of the semester, I assumed transnationalism would show the interconnectedness of nations and how it has led us to our modern day global network. The last couple of weeks have made it seem as though the study of transnationalism is another way to show how nations used the “shrinking” of the globe in order to show dominance, rather than reciprocal growth and learning. I’m sure this is just because we are in the section titled “empire” but it has broadened my definition of what transnational work can entail.
I agree. I thought of our conversation last week in relation to transnationalism’s influence on nationalism as well. It seems almost like a more modern version of colonialism. In lieu (or perhaps in addition) to increasing the area within a nation’s physical borders, there’s a push to increase “intellectual borders.”
Sorry to be posting so late. It’s been a week…. Salvatore’s scholars reminded me somewhat of Tyrell’s missionaries. While the scholars did bring South America more into the spotlight in the United States, I felt as though it had more of an egocentric basis rather than just a desire to share information.
I do agree that this book does take a transnational approach in that there is reciprocity and also the discussion of networks.
I did struggle with the indigenous issue. Were they supportive (for the most part) of the indigenous or did they just want to be sure they were painting the Spanish empire as doing wrong?
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