By L. Whitehead
This booklet of gathered essays through Laurence Whitehead, an eminent pupil of Latin the US, explores the constructions and impacts that bind jointly the quarter, laying off gentle in this giant and speedily altering tradition zone.
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Additional resources for Latin America: A New Interpretation
Far from being the India (or Asia) initially sought by the conquistadores, America was indeed a “New World” wide open to the transformative impact of European settlement. For the past half millennium the dominant agenda of resource seizure and land occupation, political organization, economic rationalization, and cultural innovation has been led by a succession of elites whose worldviews are traceable to, and still overwhelmingly influenced by, the evolving mental universe of the “West” (originally Iberia, then western Europe, and now predominantly the United States).
But in contrast to the United States such intellectual ambitions mostly ran far ahead of the capacity even to absorb, let alone to contribute to, modern science. In summary, then, independent Latin America was created either in reaction to, or under the influence of, the Enlightenment, and its new LATIN AMERICA AS A “MAUSOLEUM OF MODERNITIES” 31 rulers were structurally constrained to define themselves in relation to external idioms of progress and reform. ” Indeed, Bolivarian discourse was explicitly drawn from European Republicanism, but what is more important for the purpose of this argument is that the other, apparently more “traditional” justifications for the independence movement (what Brading labels “Creole patriotism,” or Guerra calls “sovereignty of the pueblos”)13 also reflected a universalistic outlook, which ensured receptivity to “modern” ideas and influences arriving from without.
Creole elites might challenge the privileges of Iberian colonists, but their ideas about alternative futures were far from unconstrained. Edmundo O’Gorman refers to this as an “inauthenticity or ontological imbalance” at the heart of the Latin American patriotic project (la actualización del ser americano). While it is true that the Creoles tried to create “a new American Andean, they only managed to establish a peculiar type of Spaniard, who was still a Spaniard of sorts [. ] One must not confuse political independence nor economic nor technological independence, nor even all three together, with the ontological independence presupposed by an original and autonomous development [.
Latin America: A New Interpretation by L. Whitehead