Latin American History


Confronting Historical Paradigms
Peasants, Labor, and the Capitalist World System in Africa and Latin America
Frederick Cooper, Allen F. Isaacman, Florencia C. Mallon, William Roseberry, and Steve J. Stern

"The introduction is a brilliant essay on the place of African and Latin American history in the cultural politics of the last thirty years. It establishes a context in which the reader can place the separate essays." —Steven Feierman, University of Florida

Confronting Historical Paradigms argues that confrontation with major paradigms of world history has marked the fields of African and Latin American history during the last quarter-century, and that the process has dramatically restructured historical and theoretical understanding of peasantries, labor, and the capitalist world system. Moreover, it maintains, the intellectual reverberations within and across the African and Latin American fields constitute a challenging and under appreciated counterpoint to laments that contemporary historical knowledge has suffered a splintering so extreme that it undermines larger dialogue and meaning.

The authors, in their substantive essays, synthesize, order, and evaluate the significance of the enormous resonating literatures that have come to exist for Africa and Latin America on the themes of the capitalist world system, labor, and peasantries. They historicize these literatures by analyzing an entire cycle of critical dialogue and confrontation with historical paradigms and the professional upheavals that accompanied them. They review the initial confrontations with frameworks of historical knowledge that erupted in the 1960s and the early 1970s; the emergence of new "dissident" paradigms; the outpouring of subsequent scholarship on peasants, labor, and capitalism that began to unravel the newly proposed paradigms by the 1980s and 1990s; and the outlines of the new interpretive frameworks that tended to displace both the "traditional" and "early dissident" paradigms. They also suggest possible outlines of a new cycle of "Third World" confrontations with paradigm, anchored in themes such as gender and ethnicity.

Confronting Historical Paradigms employs a historicized awareness of intellectual networks, conversations, and history­theory dialogues. The result is a critical analysis and synthetic presentation of substantive advances that have preoccupied scholarship on Africa and Latin America in recent decades and a powerful challenge to notions that "new" fields of history have ended up destroying intellectual coherence and community.

"This work will be important not only to specialists in African and Latin American history, but to social science theorists as well as intellectual historians and commentators across disciplines and regional specializations. All of the essays are uncommonly well written. The volume will no doubt begin to appear on the required reading lists of graduate seminars in history, anthropology, and sociology, as well as courses on third world topics for advanced undergraduates.... Nothing comparable is available in a single volume."—John Coatsworth, Harvard University

Frederick Cooper is professor of history at the University of Michigan. Allen F. Isaacman is professor of history and adjunct associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Minnesota. Florencia E. Mallon is professor of modern Latin American history at the University of Wisconsin­Madison. William Roseberry is associate professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research.
Steve J. Stern is a professor in the History department at the University of Wisconsin­Madison. His books include Peru's Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest, and Resistance, Rebellion, and Consiousness in the Andean Peasant World, 18th to 20th Centuries both published by the University of Wisconsin Press.


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This book is blue-green with two globes, centered on Latin America and Africa, in a lighter shades of green

April 1993  
LC: 92-039242 HC
430 pp. 6 x 9
ISBN 0-299-13684-1 Paper $24.95 x

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