The experiences of Latin America after the Second World War have regularly moved European societies. In the context of the ongoing Cold War and the attempts of the so-called Third World at self-assertion, local events could become developments of global significance. The Latin American drift to the Left that was initiated by the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the ensuing tide of military golpes across the subcontinent acted as triggers for the development of European protest and solidarity movements. Refugees as well as opposition movements tried to bridge the Atlantic in search of support for their struggle against dictatorship and other human rights infractions. Stimulated by the appeal of Marxist anti-imperialism and liberation theology, many solidarity committees with countries such as Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua and El Salvador were founded all over Western Europe.
Since the end of the Cold War, Latin America has undergone changes which have only deepened the interest of European social movements in the subcontinent. The retreat of militaries into their barracks and the growth of civil societies have created opportunities for NGOs in Europe to develop partnerships with their Latin American counterparts. Meanwhile, the advance of globalization has raised concerns about the dominance of Western economic and financial institutions, mounting environmental problems, and the destruction of indigenous cultures. As a consequence, Latin America has assumed an important role in debates about globalization today. The World Social Forum, held several times in Porto Alegre, Brasil, has promoted Latin American social movements as sites of innovatory social practices which European activists could both support and draw inspiration from.
Starting from these observations, the conference wants to analyze the various forms of solidarity with Latin America in Europe during the last six decades. It aims at mapping out the roots and determinants of the European solidarity and concerns with Latin American societies. Attention will also be devoted to questions of convergence and divergence between the different European solidarity movements.
Possible questions for analysis:
- Which groups in European society have developed an interest towards particular Latin America countries or issues? How and for what ends did and do different groups envision Latin America? How did and do they give shape to solidarity?
- What were the roots and determinants of solidarity? What was the influence of national factors such as language, political culture, or the presence of expatriate Latin American minorities?
- What were the functions of transnational networks in the development of action strategies and collective identities?
- What was the impact of democratization in Latin America and the end of the Cold War on the solidarity movements in Europe? Has this caused European solidarity groups to shift gear to new perspectives, new causes, and new forms of action?
- Has the professed inevitability of neoliberal globalization reduced the appeal of Marxist inspired movements for national liberation and economic projects for self-reliance?
- Did the encounter between European and Latin American movements run into cultural contradictions? How did Western conceptions of human rights and environmentalism square with Latin American or indigenous approaches towards nature and community?
- organized by the research unit MoSA at K.U.Leuven
- The conference is scheduled in june 2011
Applicants should submit a 500 word proposal and a brief C.V. (in Word or PDF format) before 1 October 2010
to Mr. Kim Christiaens: Kim.Christiaens-AT-arts.kuleuven.be Participants whose papers have been accepted will be notified by 1 November 2010.
Please send all queries to the same address.
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