Latin AmericaThe Allure and Power of an Idea

Latin AmericaThe Allure and Power of an Idea

Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226443065

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Three decades of epistemological “revolutions” in the humanities and the social sciences seem to have spared no 19th-century concept. The very idea of Latin America, however, remains uncontested, firmly entrenched in its philosophical, moral, and racial meanings. But Latin America has never designated a geographically or historically tangible reality with any empirical or conceptual rigor. The book is, first, a conceptual history of the term “Latin America” in its natural historical habitat --mid-19th-century re-definitions of empire and the cultural, political, and economic interactions among intellectuals in the Spanish-, Portuguese-, French-, Catalan-, English-, German-, and Italian-speaking worlds. Second, the book constitutes a critique of the most powerful form of current “Latin Americanism,” namely, that which circulates in U.S.-based humanities and social sciences. Finally, the book advances a detailed proposal of what to do today with a seemingly inalienable term in the writing and teaching of history.

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