James Dunkerley is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, and Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas. His books include Rebellion in the Veins, Power in the Isthmus and The Long War, all published by Verso.
John King is Professor of Latin American Cultural History at the University of Warwick.
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Warriors and Scribes opens and closes using the prism of biography to question the framing of Latin American political life from both a northern, Cold War perspective and from the trivializations of postmodernism. An investigation of Jorge Castaneda’s Utopia Disarmed reveals that Latin American politics are eminently transformable beyond the failed nostrums of multilateral organizations and collapsed dictatorships of the 1980s.
In surveying regional relations with the USA since 1800, and taking a wry look at Hollywood’s treatment of Central America under Reagan, Dunkerley points out that Anglo-America has possessed neither a uniform imperialist vocation, nor the consistent capacity to impose it. Two pieces written in the late 1990s – a reappraisal of Latin American Studies since the Cuban Revolution and a survey of the contemporary politics of Bolivia – reflect the author’s concerns with a place that was ‘American’ for half a millennium before the ‘Americanization through globalization’ became a watchword.