Latin America: Change and Diversity

  • Robert C. Williamson


Even to those who have never been to its shores, the mention of Latin America conjures up a series of images and easy generalizations. Many foreigners, notably North Americans, see backwardness, dishonesty, disorder, even violence. The reality is far more complex. Indeed, Latin America is undergoing a rapid transformation. For instance, at the time of my first visit to Bogotá, Colombia, some forty years ago the city of two million had a number of inviting restaurants, an occasional concert, and no end of American movies. In 1993 when I returned to teach at the University of the Andes, skyscrapers towered over this city of six million, with bookstores, florist shops, a symphony orchestra, restaurants with a variety of cuisines, especially in the fashionable northern reaches of the city. As a film buff I continue to revel in the cinema clubs’ offerings from nearly every continent. Yet, there is a continuity from my visits decades earlier. The chozas (huts) of corrugated tin and wood still occupy interstitial areas, but are less evident than they were a generation earlier. Even more than earlier years, many areas of the city are at the visitor’s risk, as are some interstitial areas of North American cities. Yet, an upwardly mobile middle class is ever more visible.


Slave Trade Symphony Orchestra Interstitial Area North American City African Past 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Aline Heig, “Race in Argentina and Cuba, 1880–1930: Theory, Policies, and Popular Reaction,” in Richard Graham (ed.), The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1914 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), pp. 17–69.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anthony McFarlane, “African Slave Migration,” in Simon Collier, Harold Blakemore, and Thomas E. Skidmore (eds), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 138–142.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Martin W. Lewis and Kären E. Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jon S. Vincent, Culture and Customs of Brazil (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003), pp. 20–21.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Peter Wade, “Race and Nation in Latin America: An Anthropological View,” in Nancy P. Appelbaum et al. (eds), Race and Nation in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), pp. 263–282.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Néstor García Canclini, Culturas Híbridas: Estrategías para Entrar y Salir de la Modernidad (Mexico, DF: Editorial Gribalbo, 1990), p. 69.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Keith Jenkins, Re-thinking History (New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Julian H. Steward and Louis C. Faron. Native Peoples of South America (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959), pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Beatriz Manz, Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror, and Hope (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Caroline Moser and Cathy McIlwaine, Violence in a Post-Conflict Context: Urban Poor Perception in Guatemala (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2000).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert C. Williamson 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Williamson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations