Regional Focus (Latin America)

From the lectures from Monday and Wednesday, Latin American countries shared a common theme of colonialism and transculturation. It was mentioned that legacies of colonialism included economic, political and social aspects that set the stage for the entrenched structural inequalities.  There was a political image shown on Wednesday that showed like four or five little kids, portrayed as various Latin American countries, crying and climbing on their father, portrayed as the US. This showed that these structural inequalities led other countries, specifically the United States to see Latin American countries as infants and inferior to them. This also caused high income inequalities in Latin America where most of the leaders and people part of the ruling government were way better off than the rest of their citizens, who lived in poverty and unequal conditions. It was also mentioned that transculturation was the dialectic exchange of culture, mutually influencing encounters even within a highly unequal power structure to create something new and uniquely Latin American. Mutually influencing encounters like the Mexican revolution preceded and lead to other revolutions around Latin America. These revolutions were caused by the American support for dictatorships, which caused many of the problems Latin Americans faced because of their unfair rulers. The US looked down upon Latin American countries and supported dictatorship, which were negative effects and views of colonialism and caused transculturation.

Blog Post: Latin America

Because history today has been so Europe-centered, many people look at the imperialistic tendencies of European super-powers, while ignoring many of the Imperialistic actions of the United States. From looking at the readings as well as Professor Holt’s lectures, I think it can be pretty clear to see the motives behind United States intervention on foreign soil as well as the consequences that followed.

Looking at professor Holt’s second lecture about the three case studies of Latin America, we can see the numerous occasions in which the United States got involved in foreign governments for various reasons, with the overarching theme being for the benefit of the nation. First, its interesting to see the the power/influence communism had in the United States. I think it can be inferred the the Red Scare caused a numerous amount of foreign policy actions around the World, especially in Latin America. Looking at Chile and Cuba, the United States imposed their domain upon the two countries though economic means. They used their resources and territory to fuel economy. It could be seen that once leader of these countries started to work against the benefit of the United States, the US started to intervene in more concrete ways. This can be seen through the US’s attempts to assassinate Castro and well as their promotion of a military coup in Chile.

These US interventions, along with their European counterparts, caused major implications and consequences for Latin American countries. This can been seen in Professor Holt’s lectures as well as the Upside Down reading. Latin America today is stereotyped and characterized as a region of political corruption along with bad living conditions and working conditions. The extreme class and race disparities  have caused major tensions in Latin America. Wealth inequality has been the spark for social change and protests but many times authoritarian governments have shut those down with violence which has sparked interest on the world stage.

Overall, Latin America can be seen as a microcosm to many other developments in the world. Professor Holt looked mainly at Africa and I think there is is one large difference when it comes to the Imperialistic tendencies of major super power countries. This is in the sense that labor in latin America was imported whereas in Africa, the Labor was indigenous people.


Judt Response Blog

1.) One of these thematic shapes was the ‘European Model”. This model was “a mix of Social Democratic and Christian Democratic legislation” in the “European Community and its successor Union” (Judt 7-8) that created unity in Europe. It emerged after a weak and tired Europe that was tired of war-torn states. They did not want their lives to be as bad as they had become during and after the war. Europeans began to hope for societies that would focus more on the happiness of the citizens than European or world domination. This resembles welfare states that focuses on the improvement and wellness of its citizens.

2.) The reduction in extreme right and lefts was a change in political topography. During both world wars there were extreme left and right political parties. From the Nazis in Germany to the Soviets in the USSR. Though after the World War I and World War II Europe saw the destructive nature of these extremist parties. The result of this shift was a more liberal society were “abortions and contraception were almost universally available” (Judt 785) in Western Europe. It was also seen that no longer could “publicly engaged intellectuals play their once-crucial role in mobilizing opinions at large” as seen in the Atlantic rift of 2003 (Judt 786). The tired Europe was no longer interested in any extreme ideologies that had previously led to the destruction of the World Wars.

3.) The post-national ideals were focused on the betterment of a society internally. Though, some began to see that to better their societies they must prevent immigration from other societies that they viewed was dangerous to the stability of their own. This is seen in the posters which show how nationalistic political parties struggled with the idea of immigrants, especially Muslims and people of middle eastern descent. They depicted them poorly with one having a man screaming that says “Islam and Terror” as if they are synonymous while the other showed a family flying ‘home’ on a flying carpet implying that Germany couldn’t be home for individuals depicted as Muslim or of middle eastern descent as if they belong somewhere else because of these qualities. Though post-national ideas may desire for the betterment of a society, they can be taken to an extreme nationalistic level that becomes consumed by an ethnicity or religion qualifying someone’s level of citizen.

Blog Post 10/4

  1.  One of the themes of post WWII Europe was the crumbling empire. The war was a huge economic burden on the continent, and affected areas had to be entirely rebuilt. Following the war the powers of Europe would no longer be able to maintain their large overseas empires. Only Britain and the Soviet Union were able to somewhat maintain their holdings. but eventually Britain’s territories would cost too much of a toll to keep, and the Soviet union broke up before the end of the century.
  2. The political topography of Europe changed in a way that made the continent more peaceful. Political parties on the opposite spectrum would have much in common, even in different countries. and with the movement away from old style political parties the continent came to a consensus on its beliefs and ideals. People also moved away from singular intellectuals who in previous generations tried to influence continental politics.
  3. The posters from The World Transformed clearly show hatred towards Muslims particularly those who are immigrants. In today’s post 9/11 society people are terrified about the idea of their country having their own 9/11. Which leads to fear about terrorism, mostly Islamic terrorism. With the migrant crisis, and growing Muslim communities in Europe parts of the general public become worried. They turn to the state, and nationalism, which paints this idea of better times before the huge immigration crisis which makes immigrants out as an invading force. Some nationalism is good but like everything else too much of a good thing can turn out bad.


Judt Response


One of these thematic shapes of Judt is Europe’s ideological past. This thematic shape is coming from the failure of the Fascism which was defeated in the Word War 2 and then also the communist system failed in some country especially in Russia. And so the modern European state was born from the Democratic ideals.


The political topography was changed by the divided between left and right politicial parties.Morover French neo-Gaullist and Swedish Social Democracts have the same common with their respective ideological forebears.


Judt observation is the terrorism is one of the big concerns in Europe. And so Europe could not have peace if there is no other way to protect the country. Connect to the poster in The World Transform, we can see the terrorism is the biggest fear of Europe especial the Islamic terrorism.

Blog Post 10/4

1.) Tony Judt discusses numerous thematic shapes in post-war Europe, one more valuable theme that we see is the role America played in Europe during the postwar period. Europe after World War 1 was a place of great economic and cultural turmoil. Many countries, such as Germany, took on great amounts of debt which was nearly impossible to pay back. We see things like this become less dramatic with the help of US support with things such as the Dawes act. US support helped restructure much of Europe in a time where it was desperately needed, the cultural and economic turmoil is characterized by Judt when he says “in the west……not least thanks to American aid (and pressure).” (Judt 6). This overt American influenced much of western Europe in a way that made them emulate American culture and ideologies.

2.) The transitions of political topography in Europe over the past 130 years has been one that consists of great turmoil. From the territorial revisions made after World War 1 and 2 to the wars held in Yugoslavia, we see millions of deaths for the borders of countries to be changed. Europe and its political topography have directly reflected the conflicts that occurred within Europe as the transitions of boarders are usually a direct reason or result of the conflicts that occurred. A good example of this is the conflicts within Yugoslavia prior to its dissolution, the civil war that occurred there resulted in thousands of deaths and the creation of numerous new countries. This conflict occurred because of the need for new borders and as a result, the political topography of Europe was changed.

3.) The dichotomy between Judts description as a “limited Europe” vs the more optimistic description of the formation of the EU from  A World Transformed is one that depicts both outlooks on the new age of Europe. When Judt points to the “limitations of a post-national prescription for a better European future” (p.797) we see his outlook as one that has more pessimism regarding Europe’s future. Judt argues that Europe will be more reserved in their ideological decisions however is arguably wrong due to the formation of the EU. on the other hand, A World Transformed describes “Europe’s rightful role and place in a world being built” (P. 337). This characterization is somewhat more optimistic than Judt as it shows Europe as a place that wants to make itself the exact antithesis of what it once was.