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Friday, October 14, 2011

Recent Books: Central American Topics

Recent Books: Central American Topics 

The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War, Updated Edition
University Of Chicago Press; Second Edition, Second Edition edition (July 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0226306909 ISBN-13: 978-0226306902
Greg Grandin (Author, Preface), Naomi Klein (Contributor)

After decades of bloodshed and political terror, many lament the rise of the left in Latin America. Since the triumph of Castro, politicians and historians have accused the left there of rejecting democracy, embracing communist totalitarianism, and prompting both revolutionary violence and a right-wing backlash. 

Through unprecedented archival research and gripping personal testimonies, Greg Grandin powerfully challenges these views in this classic work. In doing so, he uncovers the hidden history of the Latin American Cold War: of hidebound reactionaries holding on to their power and privilege; of Mayan Marxists blending indigenous notions of justice with universal ideas of equality; and of a United States supporting new styles of state terror throughout the region.

With Guatemala as his case study, Grandin argues that the Latin American Cold War was a struggle not between political liberalism and Soviet communism but two visions of democracy — one vibrant and egalitarian, the other tepid and unequal — and that the conflict’s main effect was to eliminate homegrown notions of social democracy. Updated with a new preface by the author and an interview with Naomi Klein, The Last Colonial Massacre is history of the highest order — a work that will dramatically recast our understanding of Latin American politics and the role of the United States in the Cold War and beyond.

Black in Latin America
Hardcover NYU Press (July 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0814732984 ISBN-13: 978-0814732984
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Author)

12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World during the Middle Passage. While just over 11.0 million survived the arduous journey, only about 450,000 of them arrived in the United States. The rest — over ten and a half million — were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America. This astonishing fact changes our entire picture of the history of slavery in the Western hemisphere, and of its lasting cultural impact. These millions of Africans created new and vibrant cultures, magnificently compelling syntheses of various African, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish influences.

Despite their great numbers, the cultural and social worlds that they created remain largely unknown to most Americans, except for certain popular, cross-over musical forms. So Henry Louis Gates, Jr. set out on a quest to discover how Latin Americans of African descent live now, and how the countries of their acknowledge — or deny — their African past; how the fact of race and African ancestry play themselves out in the multicultural worlds of the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting with the slave experience and extending to the present, Gates unveils the history of the African presence in six Latin American countries — Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru — through art, music, cuisine, dance, politics, and religion, but also the very palpable presence of anti-black racism that has sometimes sought to keep the black cultural presence from view.

In Brazil, he delves behind the façade of Carnaval to discover how this ‘rainbow nation’ is waking up to its legacy as the world's largest slave economy.
In Cuba, he finds out how the culture, religion, politics and music of this island is inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce its enormously profitable 19th century sugar industry, and how race and racism have fared since Fidel Castro's Communist revolution in 1959.

In Haiti, he tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves's hard fought liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte's French Empire became a double-edged sword.

In Mexico and Peru, he explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people — far greater than the number brought to the United States — brought to these countries as early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.

Professor Gates' journey becomes ours as we are introduced to the faces and voices of the descendants of the Africans who created these worlds. He shows both the similarities and distinctions between these cultures, and how the New World manifestations are rooted in, but distinct from, their African antecedents. “Black in Latin America” is the third installment of Gates's documentary trilogy on the Black Experience in Africa, the United States, and in Latin America. 

In America Behind the Color Line, Professor Gates examined the fortunes of the black population of modern-day America. In Wonders of the African World, he embarked upon a series of journeys to reveal the history of African culture. Now, he brings that quest full-circle in an effort to discover how Africa and Europe combined to create the vibrant cultures of Latin America, with a rich legacy of thoughtful, articulate subjects whose stories are astonishingly moving and irresistibly compelling.

The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art
(Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)
Hardcover University of Texas Press (July 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0292726260 ISBN-13: 978-0292726260
Rebecca R. Stone (Author) 

Shamanism--the practice of entering a trance state to experience visions of a reality beyond the ordinary and to gain esoteric knowledge--has been an important part of life for indigenous societies throughout the Americas from prehistoric times until the present. 

Much has been written about shamanism in both scholarly and popular literature, but few authors have linked it to another significant visual realm -- art. In this pioneering study, Rebecca R. Stone considers how deep familiarity with, and profound respect for, the extra-ordinary visionary experiences of shamanism profoundly affected the artistic output of indigenous cultures in Central and South America before the European invasions of the sixteenth century. 

Using ethnographic accounts of shamanic trance experiences, Stone defines a core set of trance vision characteristics, including enhanced senses, ego dissolution, bodily distortions, flying, spinning and undulating sensations, synaesthesia, and physical transformation from the human self into animal and other states of being. Stone then traces these visionary characteristics in ancient artworks from Costa Rica and Peru. 

She makes a convincing case that these works, especially those of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance state or else convey the perceptual experience of visions by creating deliberately chaotic and distorted conglomerations of partial, inverted, and incoherent images.

Cancer Survival in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America
(IARC Scientific Publications)
PaperbackPaperback: 308 pages Publisher: World Health Organization; 1 edition (July 2011)
ISBN-10: 9283221621 ISBN-13: 978-9283221623
R. Sankaranarayanan (Author), R. Swaminathan (Author)

Population-based cancer survival rates offer an important benchmark for measuring a health care system's overall effectiveness in the fight against cancer.

While this type of information on high-resource countries is readily available, Cancer Survival in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America presents in-depth cancer survival data from 27 population-based cancer registries in 14 low- and middle-resource countries.

The striking inequalities in cancer survival between countries and within countries described in this volume are largely related to the differences in general awareness, availability of early detection practices, trained human resources, diagnosis and treatment and the development and accessibility to cancer services, as well as, to a lesser extent, to issues of data quality and reliability.

The differences in cancer survival reported in populations observed between and within countries studied in this volume provide valuable insights for future planning and investment by governments in primary prevention activities, early detection initiatives and tertiary care to achieve meaningful cancer control.

The calendar period of registration of incident cases for the present study ranges between 1990 and 2001. Data on 564 606 cases of 1-56 cancer sites from different registries are reported. Data from eleven registries were utilized for eliciting survival trend and seventeen registries for reporting survival by clinical extent of disease. Besides chapters on every registry and general chapters on methodology, database and overview, the availability of online comparative statistics on cancer survival data by participating registries or cancer site in the form of tables or graphs is an added feature. 

Prácticas ciudadanas de los jóvenes en tiempos de posguerra: Estudio de caso: Juventud de San Juan Comalapa, Departamento de Chimaltenango, Guatemala  
(Spanish Edition) Paperback Editorial Académica Española (July 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 3844343717 ISBN-13: 978-3844343717
Carol González Villarreal (Author)

Enfocar la atención en los jóvenes, y como están incursionando en la sociedad a partir de su participación ciudadana, representa un reto desde la sociología. Ello, porque se busca entender la noción no sólo desde su dimensión etaria, sino desde su dimensión sociocultural. También, es un desafío indagar sobre la forma como las nuevas generaciones están respondiendo a la negación de inclusión que se ha vivido en Guatemala. 

Examina, por tanto, los espacios que utilizan para expresarse y demandar, las razones que los movilizan o los inhiben, y las principales dificultades para actuar como ciudadanos. Por tanto, ayuda a visualizar las características que está asumiendo el ejercicio de la ciudadanía y la cultura política de los jóvenes en un espacio local golpeado por la guerra civil. 

En el nivel teórico, este estudio puede dar pautas acerca de cómo re-comprender la ciudadanía y su ejercicio en un contexto de posguerra y, en el nivel práctico, pautas sobre qué variables readecuar y condicionantes considerar, si se quiere poner en práctica políticas de descentralización estatal, de participación ciudadana y de desarrollo local, dirigidas a la población joven del país.

The Southern Maya in the Late Preclassic: The Rise and Fall of an Early Mesoamerican Civilization
Hardcover University Press of Colorado (July 18, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1607320924 ISBN-13: 978-1607320920
Michael Love (Author, Editor), Jonathan Kaplan (Author, Editor)

From 400 BC to AD 250, the southern Maya region was one of most remarkable civilizations of the ancient Americas. Filled with great cities linked by flourishing long-distance trade, shared elite ideologies, and a vibrant material culture, this region was pivotal not only for the Maya but for Mesoamerica as a whole. 

Although it has been of great interest to scholars, gaps in the knowledge have led to debate on the most vital questions about the southern region.

Recent research has provided a wealth of broadly based new data that have expanded the understanding of this region and its influence on greater Mesoamerica. In The Southern Maya in the Late Preclassic, prominent contributors debate whether the southern region was indeed "Maya" or instead a region of intense multiethnic interaction, with speakers of many languages and many sources of identity. 

The chapters address a host of advanced developments to which this area can lay claim -- urbanism and city-states, the earliest Maya writing, and the origin of the Maya calendar--as well as additional issues including the construction of social and cultural identities, economic networks of early complex societies, relationships between the Maya and the Olmec, and a comprehensive discussion of the ancient city of Kaminaljuyu and its relationship to other cities in the region.

Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-torn Societies
Paperback United States Institute of Peace (July 6, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1601270666 ISBN-13: 978-1601270665
Deborah Isser (Editor)

The major peacekeeping and stability operations of the last ten years have mostly taken place in countries that have pervasive customary justice systems, which pose significant challenges and opportunities for efforts to reestablish the rule of law. 
These systems are the primary, if not sole, means of dispute resolution for the majority of the population, but post-conflict practitioners and policymakers often focus primarily on constructing formal justice institutions in the Western image, as opposed to engaging existing traditional mechanisms. 

This book offers insight into how the rule of law community might make the leap beyond rhetorical recognition of customary justice toward a practical approach that incorporates the realities of its role in justice strategies. 

Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies presents seven in-depth case studies that take a broad interdisciplinary approach to the study of the justice system. Moving beyond the narrow lens of legal analysis, the cases Mozambique, Guatemala, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan examine the larger historical, political, and social factors that shape the character and role of customary justice systems and their place in the overall justice sector. 

Written by resident experts, the case studies provide advice to rule of law practitioners on how to engage with customary law and suggest concrete ways policymakers can bridge the divide between formal and customary systems in both the short and long terms. 

Instead of focusing exclusively on ideal legal forms of regulation and integration, this study suggests a holistic and flexible palette of reform options that offers realistic improvements in light of social realities and capacity limitations. The volume highlights how customary justice systems contribute to, or detract from, stability in the immediate post-conflict period and offers an analytical framework for assessing customary justice systems that can be applied in any country.

Latin America's New Left and the Politics of Gender: Lessons from Nicaragua 
(SpringerBriefs in Political Science) Springer; 1st Edition. edition (July 26, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1461403588 ISBN-13: 978-1461403586
Karen Kampwirth (Author) Paperback: 60 pages

The majority of Latin Americans now live in countries that are governed by democratically elected governments on the political left, which is unprecedented in that region.  

This book analyzes this occurrence by asking a question that up until now has been largely ignored in the literature on the contemporary Latin American left: to what extent have these governments governed with, and promoting the interests of, the women's movements that are an important part of their base of support?  

This question is examined by focusing on a critical case that is rarely analyzed in the literature on the new Latin American left, the case of Nicaragua. The broader implications for Latin America will be shown, making this book of interest to researchers and graduate students in Latin American studies as well as gender studies and political science.

Nicaragua: [Large Print]
Paperback ReadHowYouWant; Large Print 16 pt edition (July 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1459617231 ISBN-13: 978-1459617230
Thomas W. Walker and Christine J. Wade (Author) 

This newly revised volume details Nicaragua's unique history, culture, economics, politics, and foreign relations. Its historical coverage considers the country's early and recent history, from pre-Columbian and colonial times through the nationalist liberal era, the U.S. marine occupation, the Somoza dictatorship, the Sandinista regime, the conservative restoration, and the Sandinista comeback. 

The fifth edition includes a new chapter detailing the reelection of Daniel Ortega and the irony of his current role in undercutting the rule of law and democracy that he helped institute in his earlier administration. This edition also documents what may be the more enduring reality of this Central American country: the historical and ongoing interventions by which the United States - the ''eagle'' to the north - continues to shape Nicaraguan political, economic, and cultural life.

Access to Water for All?: Designing a "Sector Wide Approach" within the Potable Water and Sanitation Sector Case Study: Nicaragua  
Paperback VDM Verlag Dr. Müller (July 7, 2011)
ISBN-10: 363936841X ISBN-13: 978-3639368413
Lukas Scherak (Author)

Aim of the thesis was to examine to what extent one can convert the theoretical approach of the "Sector Wide Approach" within the Potable Water and Sanitation Sector. First the actual condition within the area of the water supply was thoroughly analyzed, this means the investigated data about the access to clean drinking water within the population was evaluated, in order to develop a regional profile from Nicaragua with the help of several demographic and socio-economic factors. 

Furthermore several Workshops took place, in which the participants (political institutions and donor organizations) dealt with the political and administrative implementation of the SWAp, in order to recognize and eliminate possible structural problem zones. 

Also informal discussions were conducted with each participant inter alia about their readiness for the participation, their interest in the implementation of the SWAp, their role within this process. Based on the existing data and the results of the actual condition it was analyzed whether it is possible to implement the SWAp in Nicaragua within the Potable Water and Sanitation Sector.

El equilibrio fantasma (Spanish Edition)
Paperback Publisher: Palibrio (July 14, 2011)
Language: SpanishISBN-10: 1463304161 ISBN-13: 978-1463304164
Ricardo Sánchez-Murillo (Author) 

"A todas luces vivimos en una sociedad donde imperan la indiferencia y la indolencia: es la era de los inmorales". El Equilibrio Fantasma reúne una selección de atrevidos relatos cargados de indignación y de una crítica irónica que nos invitan a pensar en una nueva racionalidad, y en especial, a luchar por una realidad social-humanista, económica, y ambiental distinta. 

Estas páginas guiarán al lector en un viaje desde las entrañas del narcotráfico en Centroamérica a la inmoralidad de la crisis económica y política. Sánchez-Murillo plantea la derrota de nuestro sistema cultural a través de la incongruencia del vigente paradigma educativo, la injusticia contra mujeres y niños, el derrumbe financiero, el apoderamiento tecnológico y la destrucción del planeta.
Rica and Peru. 

She makes a convincing case that these works, especially those of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance state or else convey the perceptual experience of visions by creating deliberately chaotic and distorted conglomerations of partial, inverted, and incoherent images.

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