In the interview, Christopher tells us about how he stumbled upon Hiram Bingham, the subject of his undergraduate thesis and first book, and how he combined his love of archaelogy and history to become a historian of Latin American history.
Romeo and Juliet may be the most well known tale of star-crossed lovers, but ask any Argentine and they will know the story of Camila O’Gorman and Ladislao Gutierrez just as well.
Much like its eponymous waterway, V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River meanders steadily through the dark reality of postcolonial Africa, alternately depicting minimalist beauty and frightening tension. Like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, subtle prose reveals the timelessness of the continent’s remote corners alongside human corruptibility.
In 1746 Dr. Andrés Arce y Miranda, a creole attorney from Puebla, Mexico, criticized a series of paintings known as the cuadros de castas or casta paintings. Offended by their depictions of racial mixtures of the inhabitants of Spain’s American colonies, Arce y Miranda feared the paintings would send back to Spain the damaging message that creoles, the Mexican-born children of Spanish parents, were of mixed blood.
As an historian of American empire at the turn of the last century, I am constantly surprised by the number of people who have never heard that the United States annexed the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War in 1899. When I tell people about my research, they often have no idea this nation was in fact a formal empire from 1899 until 1946, when the Philippines achieved independence.
Today, people who live in democratic societies take religious freedom for granted. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most Europeans found the idea of “freedom of conscience” deeply threatening. How could the fabric of society withstand competing religious ideas? What would convince people to live moral lives in the absence of a single, state-supported church?
When Cassiano dal Pozzo, the Pope’s personal assistant, returned to the Vatican from Spain in 1626, he brought with him a Mexican manuscript on natural history, the Libellus de medicinalibus Indorum herbis. The “herbal” was a marvelous Mexican manuscript containing illustrations of more than 180 plants. Commonly known as Codice de la Cruz-Badiano, it is considered the first illustrated survey of Mexican nature produced in the New World.
President Woodrow Wilson’s address in January 1918, later known as the “Fourteen Points,” outlined the principles for the post-war new world order. According to this speech, the U.S. would support the right of every people to “self-determination” and “consent of the governed.”