Paper Topic Proposal
History of Modern Latin America
Profesor Javier Morillo-Alicea
November 5th, 2002
I will write my paper on the influence that Argentinian nationalistic self-image had on the ignition of dirty war and regional violence during Peronism and the military coup.
In Prisoner without a name, cell without a number, Timberman indicates that for the government and all major terrorist groups in Argentina “this barbarism… must be eradicated before it is possible to enter Civilization” (20) I believe he intentionally paraphrases Sarmiento’s idea that there is a barbarous portion to Argentina, an alien portion that doesn’t “naturally” belong to it, and thus must be cleaned in order to hold a national “soul”. This argument justifies the militia that intends to exterminate every person related to the political opposing their own, anyone who protests publicly against them, and all “those who remember their names”. (50)
My argument develops from a hint Timberman leaves in the end of his book. He suggests on a passing note that Argentina, being the most advanced nation of Latin America, was overcome with the same Nazi paranoia that once overcame the most advanced nation of Europe. I have a vague intuition from our previous readings that nationalism, at the same time it delineates the citizens of a nation in a “horizontal camaraderie”, also isolates the population as a group against all other groups not recognized as “our nation”.
For this, I am looking forward to read several articles on the pre-peronist development of nationalism and the “standardized” imagined nation in Argentina, and on the racial melting-pot ideology. Argentine media coverage on the political issues of the time would be helpful if available.
The already assigned readings including: Keyth/Haynes, Sarmiento, Anderson and Knudson.
Rock, David. Authoritarian Argentina: The Nationalist Movement, Its History and Its Impact. (University of California, 1993)
Joseph, Galen. “Taking Race Seriously: Whiteness in Argentina’s National and Transnational Imaginary. (Whiteness in the Field)”, Identities, Sept 2000 v7 i3 p333-72
Abstract: Middle class portenos (the inhabitants of Buenos Aires) display their ambivalence about the whiteness of Argentina and their own belonging to the nation through their use of the intermittently racializing discourse of “seriousness.” The discourse of “seriousness” is used to talk about the status of Argentina’s political, economic, and cultural “development” and Argentina’s place in the global hierarchy of nations. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1994-1997), this essay analyzes the contradictions of porteno articulations and disarticulations of their own Argentine-ness in relation to racial identity. The analysis centers on how portenos’ assessments of President Carlos Menem’s representative-ness reflect the instability of racial norms in contemporary Argentina. Portenos’ ambiguous position in their own national and transnational imaginary – privileged within Argentina but marginal in the world – is reflected in their use of racial categories and racializing discourses.
Delaney, Jean H. “Imagining El ser Argentino: cultural nationalism and romantic concepts of nationhood in early twentieth-century Argentina”, Journal of Latin American Studies, August 2002 v34 i3 p625-59
Abstract: This article reexamines early twentieth-century Argentine cultural nationalism, arguing that the movement’s true significance rests in its promotion of a vision of Argentine nationhood that closely resembled the ideal of the folk nation upheld by German romanticism. Drawing from recent theoretical literature on ethnic nationalism, the article examines the political implications of this movement and explores the way in which the vigorous promotion of the ethnocultural vision of argentinidad by cultural nationalists served to detach definitions of Argentine identity from constitutional foundations and from the ideas of citizenship and popular sovereignty. It also challenges the accepted view that Argentine cultural nationalism represented a radical break with late nineteenth-century positivism. Positivist ideas about social organicism, collective character and historical determinism all helped paved the way for the Romantic vision of nationhood celebrated by the cultural nationalists.
Spektorowski, Alberto. “The Ideological Origins of Right and Left Nationalism in Argentina, 1930-43”, Journal of Contemporary History, v29, i1 (Jan 1994), 155-184
Metz, Allan. “Leopoldo Lugones and the Jews: the contradictions of Argentine nationalism”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Jan 1992 v15 n1 p36-61
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to present the opinions of the Argentine intellectual, Leopoldo Lugones, regarding the Jews and the reasons for his seemingly contradictory attitudes towards them that mirror both the general precariousness of Jewish existence in Argentina and the contradictions of Argentine nationalism. Moreover, these writings also reveal other related aspects of Lugones’ thought and provide a partial overview of Argentine nationalistic thought from the beginning of the twentieth century to the late 1930s, thereby offering insights into the nature and evolution of Argentine nationalism in reaction to Jews and other immigrant groups.
Carlson, Eric S. “The Influence of French “Revolutionary War” Ideology on the Use of Torture in Argentina’s “Dirty War””, Human Rights Review, April-June 2000 v1 i4 p71
Extract: In this article, I explore the influence of the French mission on the Argentine Armed Forces, specifically as it relates to El Proceso’s campaign of mass torture  from 1976-1982. In doing so, I shall outline what I consider the three essential components of the fused French/Argentine ideology: the holy mission of the soldier; the demonic nature of the enemy; and the inadequacy of the legal system to deal with a struggle between the two.
Schneider, Arnd. Futures Lost: nostalgia and identity among Italian immigrants in Argentina. (Peter Lang, 2001)
Extract: Schneider deems Argentine identity to be extremely fragile; a consequence of the dominant position of the melting-pot ideology and the attempts by the Argentine state to overcome the particularities of immigrant cultures offering a standardized idea of Argentina through education. This, he argues, has impeded the individual’s anchorage for his or her identity in a specific tradition.