Seminar: China and Latin America: from Cyberspace to the Farm Gate

Adrian H. Hearn (University of Melbourne) and Ariel C. Armony (University of Miami) - China’s growing influence in Latin America is evident in the growth of bilateral trade to $240 (£143) billion in 2013, and a new wave of investment announced during Xi Jinping’s July 2014 regional tour. Alongside mining and energy, agriculture has become critical to Sino-Latin cooperation, driven by unprecedented demand for food as Chinese cities progress toward the target of one billion residents. Chinese acquisition of Latin American land for food production has proven more contentious than investment in other primary sectors, mainly because of local suspicion of Chinese state-owned enterprises. In Brazil, which provided 45 per cent of China’s 2013 soybean imports (amounting to 33 million metric tons worth $17.2 billion), President Rousseff has warned that 'inane xenophobia' may ward off Chinese investment. More...

Starts: Oct 27, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: Looking back and looking forward: national identity and language attitudes amongst migrants in Montreal

Dr Ruth Kircher (Liverpool Hope University) - Quebec is Canada’s only province with a francophone majority, and French there thus faces the challenge of English not only as the global lingua franca but also as the language of upward mobility in the country at large. It is generally assumed that the future of French in Quebec will be determined in the province’s urban centre, Montreal, which is home not only to many francophones but also to significant communities of anglophones and allophones – people whose mother tongue is neither English nor French. More...

Starts: Oct 27, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Seminar: The Dangers of Reclaiming Land in Colombia: the Experiences of Yomaira Mendoza and Enrique Cabezas

In 2011 the Colombian government passed the Victims and Land Restoration Law in order to grant reparations to the victims of the armed conflict and restore the land that the victims had been forcibly displaced from. In 2012, the Colombian Peace Process held in Cuba and headed by the Santos administration was initiated. In spite of the peace process, the situation remains extremely dangerous for community leaders involved in land restitution processes in Colombia. Following relentless persecution and threats, some of them have had to leave the region and the country. Two leaders who are currently living in exile - Yomaira Mendoza and Enrique Cabezas - are visiting the UK to share their experiences. More...

Starts: Oct 28, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Seminar: Race, Religion and Culture in Brazilian Social Thought: Some Highlights

Roberto Motta (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) - Brazilian social thought (Pensamento Social Brasileiro, as the discipline is known in Brazil), has dealt, for the last 14 decades, with the study of Brazil’s historical and cultural specificity. In other words, why has Brazil not developed along lines similar to those which prevailed in Western Europe and North America?  Why are we not the United States? Racial explanations have been proposed at least since the end of the nineteenth century. Religious explanations had also been offered even earlier in the same century, in terms at times strikingly similar to some of Max Weber’s explanations in his thesis on the Protestant Ethic.  Such explanations are still very much present in recent and current Brazilian thought, albeit mainly in secularized versions. In contradistinction to the Westernizing paradigm, there is in Brazil the “Tropicalista” interpretation which simply denies the absolute validity of Western models of development.

Starts: Oct 30, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Panel Discussion: Assessing the US Midterm Election Results

Featuring post-election commentary by: Professor Philip Davies (Director, British Library Eccles Centre on North American Studies) and three UCL-IA US specialists - Professor Jonathan Bell, Dr Tony McCulloch, and Professor Iwan Morgan.  The speakers will also answer questions from the audience. More...

Starts: Nov 6, 2014 5:30:00 PM

IHR Latin American History Seminar Series: War and independence in Spanish America, 1810-26

Anthony MacFarlane (Warwick) - The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and UCL-Institute of the Americas would like to invite you to attend this event, part of the IHR's Latin American History Series. For further information, registration and queries, please contact the IHR directly.

Starts: Nov 11, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: Total War: Mexico and Europe 1914

Alan Knight (Oxford) - This paper, originally given as the Luis González lecture at the Colegio de México in early 2014, compares the (neglected) military dimension of the Mexican Revolution to the First World War in Europe, using the concept of 'total war' as the bridge; it defines 'total war' (in two distinct senses) and argues that, notwithstanding the dismissive comments of some historians of Mexico - for whom the armed revolution was a chaotic fiesta de balas, a 'carnival of bullets' - the revolution involved very costly mass conventional warfare. The argument, involving both demographic and military analysis, concludes that, in Mexico as in Europe, total war profoundly affected society, leaving a legacy of violence, veteran activism, and an incipient 'social pact' that underpinned the social reform and state-building of the 1920s and '30s. More...

Starts: Nov 19, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: Tea Party Activism: the politics of organization in a leaderless movement

Dr Robert Busby (Liverpool Hope) - Ever since it burst on the US political scene in 2009-10, the Tea Party movement has challenged the norms of American politics. In this talk, political scientist Robert Busby explores one of the most interesting facets of this movement - the paradox of its need for organization like any political force and its claims to be leaderless in contrast to the establishment-nature of the two main parties. 

Starts: Nov 20, 2014 5:30:00 PM