"From Local to Global in Latin America and the Caribbean: Where Have We Come from and Where Are We Headed?" Conference of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Calgary, 28-30 September 2006
Call for Papers, 2006 Conference of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Calgary, 28-30 September 2006
From Local to Global in Latin America and the Caribbean: Where Have We Come from and Where Are We Headed?
At the beginning of a new millennium, the celebration of rapid global integration has become commonplace and simplistic. The richness, diversity, and historical depth of regions such as Latin America present a challenge to straightforward models of present global trends. The image of a global-local continuum diverts attention from complex processes and interactions that define the social, economic, political and cultural realities of Latin America. Political and cultural developments in Latin America and the Caribbean show complex and often discordant interactions among local, national, regional, and global levels. This conference will look at interactions, points of contact, overlaps, contested arenas, emerging spaces, and new grounds for discussion in the context of this diverse region, where we find on the one hand, policymakers promoting common international standards for economic and political performance across the region, and on the other local populations resisting one-size-fits-all recipes while demanding local solutions for local problems.
Globalization is nothing new in Latin America and the Caribbean. Worldwide forces have for centuries profoundly shaped the region. The conquest created one of the largest empires in world history; the silver trade and the slave trade tied Latin America to Asia and Africa. Nineteenth-century economic developments pulled independent countries into tight economic relationships with Europe and North America. More recently, as indigenous movements across the Americas (and around the world) have found common ground, they have begun to challenge political and cultural landscapes that have too often marginalized them. While the nation-state remains a major focus of people’s struggles, states themselves are increasingly unable to resolve people’s problems. Moreover, in many places states have hardly existed.
The impact of globalization is not limited to the political and economic spheres. In a way that mirrors today’s complexities, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American artists and writers struggled to find their voices in the spaces between the demands of international (European) high culture and their own cultural experiences. Contemporary fiction writers, film-makers, and other artists continue to wrestle with the pressures of globalization and often criticize its homogenizing tendencies. Yet globalization is not necessarily a one-way street, as the surprisingly-rapid global spread of capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, suggests. Migration to and from Latin America (and within the region) has constantly reshaped social, political, and cultural identities.
Paradoxically, given the historical importance of global forces in the region, contemporary scholars of Latin America and the Caribbean have recently eschewed grand narratives and broad generalizations, retreating to ever-narrower scholarly specializations. While we do not call for readopting discarded frameworks, we do call for taking stock and making sense of the current complexities, a task that requires seeing the big picture and paying attention to multiple voices and perspectives. What are the relationships between local, regional, national and global levels in Latin America and the Caribbean? How should scholars understand the current interactions in light of past experience and future possibilities? How do the cultural, social, economic, and political spheres interact on these different levels?
For the meeting of the Conference of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, to be held at the University of Calgary (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), September 28-30, 2006, we invite papers that address these questions specifically, or through related themes and issues. Panel and paper proposals from all disciplines are welcome.
All conference information is available at www.larc.ucalgary.ca.
Department of History
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
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