Latin American Popular Culture since Independence: An Introduction

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9781442212558: Latin American Popular Culture since Independence: An Introduction

This unique reader offers an engaging collection of essays that highlight the diversity of Latin America's cultural expressions from independence to the present. Exploring such themes and events as funerals, dance and music, letters and literature, spectacles and monuments, and world's fairs and food, a group of leading historians examines the ways that a wide range of individuals with a variety of motives attempted to forge identity, turn the world upside down, mock their betters, forget their troubles through dance, express love in letters, and altogether enjoy life. Drawing on a rich array of case studies, this text introduces the complexity of motives behind and the diversity of expression of popular culture in Latin America.

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About the Author:

William H. Beezley is professor of history at the University of Arizona. Linda A. Curcio-Nagy is associate professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Review:

William Beezley and Linda Curcio-Nagy demonstrate the centrality of popular culture to the understanding of history. They analyze song, dance, ceremony, funerals, regalia, icons, exhibitions, protest, and literature to measure values and provide deep insights regarding class, gender, and race. This book is a tour de force. (John Mason Hart, University of Houston)

This revision of a foundational text on the history of Latin American popular culture brings exciting energy to an already dynamic field. New essays and the revised introduction further expand our understanding of a wide range of everyday cultural practices—music, dance, love letters, funerals, cooking, popular celebrations—and their complex relationship with elite national building projects. In conjunction with the best essays from the previous edition, this new material gives us a fascinating, provocative, and insightful glimpse into a vital aspect of Latin American history—one that still eludes most historical studies of the region. Reading this edition, I was struck even more forcibly by the ingenuity of historians of popular culture and by the impossibility of making sense of Latin American history without it. (Robert Buffington, University of Colorado)

Latin American Popular Culture since Independence demonstrates that history can be serious fun. This wide-ranging collection leads the reader along less traveled paths through Latin America’s last two centuries. Moreover, it brings together a distinguished group of talented researchers who share their expertise with wit and sensitivity. The individual essays truly bring unvarnished practices and unheralded historical actors to life, whether they treat religion, dance, death, food, or forms of story telling. Aside from describing past practices, these scholars also examine historical efforts to alter and shape popular culture and fashion national identity. It is a truly riveting examination of culture as lived, invented, and often manipulated in modern Latin American history. (Edward Wright-Rios, Vanderbilt University)

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