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"The Vanguard of the Atlantic world: Contesting modernity in Nineteenth-century Latin America"

James Sanders, Kluge Fellow

May 30 in LJ-119 at 12:00 P.M.

The conventional scholarship suggests that nineteenth-century Latin Americans saw their societies as backwards compared to the modern civilizations of Europe. Focusing on Mexico, Colombia, and Uruguay, I argue that a counter-discourse of modernity emerged in Latin America that challenged this view. A generation of writers, politicians, soldiers and intellectuals envisioned the Americas as the font of progress, asserting that the future of the world would be found in their own republican, democratic and racially diverse societies. However, beginning in the 1870s and 1880s, more and more Latin Americans began to accept the European vision of modernity, and, therefore, to rethink their commitment to political innovation and democratic equality.

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