2017 October Reviews

Bogota, Colombia

TIM WATSON. “The Caribbean Career of John Willis Menard.” The Journal of Caribbean History 50.2 (2016): 171-188.

This article traces the intellectual itinerary of the Nineteenth century African American poet and journalist John Willis Menard across nodal points of the Caribbean region of the time, both before and after the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865. According to the article’s author, our own Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English, Tim Watson, “From his emigrationist fact-finding mission to Belize in 1863 to his association with Cubans and Bahamians in Key West in the 1880s, Menard’s life and writings only make sense in a Caribbean context.” The latter is the key point of this article and what makes it relevant to those working on Caribbean literature and intellectual history: it reconstructs the literary trajectory, the family history, and the vast network of Menard in a Caribbean context that encompassed Jamaica and Belize, but also Key West and Louisiana. This understanding of Menard’s Caribbean connections “gives impetus to the ongoing efforts to link African American, Caribbean, and Atlantic studies together,” and offers an essential view on how the circulation of intellectuals and culture largely contributed to shape the future vision of the region.

Abstract: The emigrationist beliefs of his early political career led African American poet and journalist John Willis Menard to Belize and Jamaica in the mid-1860s, where he was caught up in the events surrounding the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 and deported back to the United States. Menard’s long subsequent career as a writer, US federal employee, editor, and politician can only be properly understood by seeing his sojourns in Louisiana and, especially, in Florida as intimately connected to his Caribbean experiences. His poetry, family history, and his connections to African American and Cuban rebels are analyzed in this Caribbean context.

Keywords: Nineteenth century; African Americans; Belize; Careers; Deportation; Florida; Jamaica; Journalists; Louisiana; John Willis Menard; Poets; Rebellions; United States.

URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:bsc:&rft_dat=xri:bsc:ft:iibp:00489057

GENNY CARRILLO, FELIPE URIBE, ROSE LUCIO, ALBERTO RAMIREZ LOPEZ, MARCELO KORC. “The United States-Mexico border environmental public health: The challenges of working with two systems.” Pan American Journal of Public Health 41.e98 (2017).

There are alarming deficiencies in healthcare, disease surveillance, and environmental data collection required to address the needs of the border population in the United States-Mexico border. The report highlights the results from 30 international stakeholders who were interviewed in both countries from 2014 to 2015, who create and disseminate information regarding health and environmental data for analysis. Results indicated differences in metrics for data collection on morbidity indicators and urged for a stronger collaboration between the countries for the development of a uniform system to collect and generate health and environmental knowledge for the border.

Abstract: This report shares the challenges and opportunities encountered by a binational project that examined the availability of environmental and public health information for the United States–Mexico border area. The researchers interviewed numerous national and binational agencies on both sides of the border, endeavoring to develop a framework to advance the knowledge of academic and public health professionals in the area of environmental border health. However, the lack of standardized indicators and metrics in both countries validates the emergent need to establish a viable framework for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of environmental information. Recommendations for next steps are included.

Keywords: Border areas; Border health; Bilateral cooperation programs; Environmental health; Delivery of health care; Mexico; United States.

URL: http://iris.paho.org/xmlui/handle/123456789/34162

K.E. DYER. “‘Surviving is not the same as living’: Cancer and Sobrevivencia in Puerto Rico.” Social Science and Medicine, 132.20-9, 2015.

This qualitative study explores the concepts of survivor/survivorship terms from the Puerto Rican cultural context as well as the influence of advocacy groups in the Island. Dyer’s fieldwork provides an analysis of cancer depictions that demonstrate the vital role of spirituality, family, religion and helping others during post-treatment life as well as the emergence of a “biocitizenship,” and beneficial impacts of cancer for post-treatment life. In addition, this study also captures the political intricacies and challenges of Puerto Rican life given the island’s designation as an unincorporated territory of the United States, which undoubtedly intersects with the illness experience of cancer.

Abstract: “Cancer survivorship” is an evolving concept that has been elaborated to a large extent in the mainland U.S. through the work of national advocacy organizations, and it has served as a source of cohesion for many people who have experienced cancer. However, anthropologists and other social scientists have argued that dominant meanings of survivorship—such as the idea of “cancer as a gift” or the role of positive thinking in influencing the disease course—reflect distinctively American cultural values, and survivorship outside the U.S. has remained largely unexplored even while the concept has gained some traction globally. This paper explores how the concepts of “survivorship” and “survivor” are engaged in the setting of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the U.S., and how well they are seen to explain the nature of post-treatment life. Ethnographic fieldwork for this study was conducted over 12 months split between two field visits (2 months and 10 months) between June 2010 and March 2012 in San Juan, the capital city, and Ponce, a smaller city on the southern coast. This paper is based on interviews with 23 participants treated for cancer as young adults. Participants drew from many of the prevailing discourses of survivorship —such as transformation and the importance of optimism— as well as from what they understood to be distinctive aspects of Puerto Rican culture and identity, in the crafting of a local understanding of post-treatment life. Support organizations played a key role in shaping roles and expectations associated with having had cancer, and in solidifying particular views of survivorship more broadly.

Keywords: Cancer; Dominant discourses; Ethnography; Puerto Rico; Survivorship.

DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.02.033

KEVIN P. GALLAGHER. “China Steps into the Latin American Void Trump Has Left Behind.” Foreign Policy, 2017.

As Latin America faces an unpredictable relationship with the United States under the Trump administration, China took no hesitation to show its continued engagement in Latin America. According to Gallagher, China’s investment in the region spurred economic growth between 2003 and 2013 but also contributed to the de-industrialization of some economies. It will be up to Latin American governments to decide what relationship they will carve out with the Chinese government in light of an American void in the region.

Excerpt: Countries of the region are understandably wary of negotiating anything with a government that has denigrated them and called their citizens “bad hombres” and worse. Enter China, which just days after the election released a new white paper calling Latin America and the Caribbean a “land of vitality and hope.” The plan promises to implement earlier pledges of trade and investment, but without the U.S.-strings attached in terms of deregulation and name-calling. China has pledged to increase trade with the region by $500 billion and foreign investment to $250 billion by 2025. And, to show they mean it, China’s two development banks, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, now provide more development finance to Latin America than the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) — combined! — each year.

Keywords: China, Latin America, United States, Trade and Investment.

URL: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/06/china-steps-into-the-latin-american-void-trump-has-left-behind/

JENNIFER LAMBE. “Drug Wars: Revolution, Embargo, and the Politics of Scarcity in Cuba, 1959-1964.” Journal of Latin American Studies 49.3 (2017): 489-516.

In the early sixties in Cuba, drug scarcity became a significant effect of Cold War politicization of health throughout the Americas. This article charts the emergence of pharmaceutical scarcity as a political touchstone and popular language in the early sixties in Cuba, as US politicians, Cuban officials, drug companies, and individuals on both sides of the Florida Straits interacted with “the unprecedented absence of well-known drugs.” Understanding these actors as a transnational ‘therapeutic culture,’ following Arthur Daemmrich in his study of ‘pharmacopolitics,’ Jennifer Lambe traces those transnational struggles over medical provisioning, analyzing how, on a structural level, this history encompasses the transition in Cuba from “a capitalist pharmaceutical regime to a socialist one.” Thus, the article’s author concludes that “As a generation reared on brand-name medications gave way to one that spoke a language of generics, pharmaceuticals also become a privileged arena for the elaboration of new social mores and revolutionary body politics.”

Abstract: The Cuban Revolution of 1959 ushered in many radical changes, both socioeconomic and political. Yet the macropolitical upheaval of the period also manifested in concrete ways in the lives of ordinary Cubans. The sudden scarcity of everyday medications, closely linked to diplomatic tensions with the United States, was one such outcome. This article traces the transnational battles provoked by the sudden disappearance of US prescription drugs from Cuban shelves. It seeks to understand pharmaceutical shortages not only as a political side effect but also as a social reality, which provided a venue for the articulation of new forms of sociability and body politics.

Keywords: Cuba; Embargo; Pharmaceuticals; Cold War; Medicine.

DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X16001851

THAYSE LEAL LIMA. “Translation and World Literature: The Perspective of the ‘Ex-Centric.’” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 26.3 (2017): 461-481.

This article explores the ways in which Brazilian intellectual Haroldo de Campos’s theory and praxis of translation contests the inequality and asymmetry of the international literary network of scholars and translators, speaking from a context that has historically received foreign cultural concepts and literary theories more than exported its own ones. Best known for founding the Brazilian Movement of Concrete Poetry in the 1950s, he coined the term “transcriaçaõ” (transcreation), which became a key concept in his theorizations of translation as a cultural and literary practice. Thayse Leal Lima charts De Campo’s concept of transcreation and its connections to the Concrete Poetry Movement and to Walter Benjamin’s “The Task of the Translator,” and she then studies how this concept interacts to recent approaches to the notion of untranslatability (e.g. Lydia Liu and Emily Apter). The article also analyzes how De Campo puts his ideas on translation into practice in his rendering of Goethe’s Faust and Octavio Paz’s Blanco. Leal Lima reads “the practices of dialogic intertextuality and co-authorship in each of these works as expressions of alternative modes of literary exchange and circulation that seek to break from hegemonic and hierarchical patterns of global literary relations.” The latter is perhaps what makes this article ultimately indispensable for those working on literary and translation studies: it offers a perspective on those disciplines from a corpus forged in this side of the Atlantic that brings new light to notions such as literary value, autonomy, and recognition of target literatures versus source ones, traditionally understood from, and analyzed with, European Western perspectives.

Abstract: Before his death in 2003, Brazilian poet, critic and translator Haroldo de Campos had produced a robust body of work on translation theory, which consistently addressed the problem of subordination of target literatures to their source. His audacious concept of “transcreation” championed that translation should be a creative re-invention instead of a mere reproduction of texts. In this article I demonstrate that De Campos’s translation theory subverts the hierarchical categories and values that have structured the field of world literature. Positioning himself as an intellectual from an ‘ex-centric’ literary culture, situated outside of the centers of global circulation, De Campos critiqued the unequal weight usually assigned to translated and original texts, author and translator, established and ascending traditions. His theory effectively illustrates how power differentials between diverse literary contexts affect the ways in which world literature is conceived. I argue that De Campos’s response to the standing inequality that characterizes translational exchanges involved a literary solution. As a creative act in its own right, imbued with the values of originality and difference, transcreation offered an aesthetic answer to the problems of authenticity, influence, and literary dependence.

Keywords: Translation; World literature; Haroldo de Campos; Transcreation; Untranslatability; Anthropophagia.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569325.2017.1351335

J.C. RIVILLAS, F.D. COLONIA. “Reducing causes of inequity: Policies focused on social determinants of health during generational transitions in Colombia.” Global Health Action 10.1 (2017).

This article reviews literature based on recent policy implementations made by the Colombian government in efforts to holistically address social determinants of health guided by the World Health Organization’s Commission of Social Determinants of Health. The authors use five social determinants of health components to analyze: the Decennial Public Health Plan; The National Health Observatory and the Observatory for Monitoring Health Inequality (ODES Colombia); the inter-sectoral CSDH-WHO (CISP); and the design of tools to guarantee the institutional and local impact of national policies in addition to the Health Equity Strategy (PASE a la Equidad en Salud). These inclusive policies have been directed towards key life changes among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable population such as children, youth, lower income families and the elderly.

Abstract: Health inequalities often result from social inequities, and those, in turn, are generated by social determinants of health (SDoH). Hence, to reduce health inequalities, it is necessary to consider all health-related determinants. Disadvantages arise even before birth, and they tend to accumulate throughout an individual’s life. Thus, policy actions intended to overcome these health inequalities should take place before birth and continue throughout life. This review aimed to describe the first steps of that Colombia has taken to reduce health inequalities during generational transitions through an inter-sectorial coordination upon SDoH. The review was guided by the question ‘What are the implemented policy responses aimed to reduce health inequalities during generational transitions in Colombia, and what can be considered in order to improve inter-sectorial coordination?’ Given the novelty of this area of research, the existent literature is presented more as narrative, rather than systematic review. Seven policies focused on five SDoH have been taken as examples. These policies show how Colombia plans to reduce health inequalities by acting upon these five SDoH: (1) early childhood development, (2) opportunities for education and first employment, (3) improved housing conditions, (4) social protection for families, and (5) vulnerable populations (e.g. elderly population). Additionally, more specific cases are examined in more detail that take place during sensitive periods in a person’s life, such as pregnancy, birth, early childhood, entry to higher education, first time job search, family building, elderly years, and so on. The evidence represents Colombian’s first steps toward reducing health inequalities during generational transitions. Elimination of health inequalities becomes feasible when governments recognize the importance of bringing opportunities to the worst-off populations, as well as the pivotal role of properly and well-coordinated inter-sectorial actions.

Keywords: Social determinants of health, Health inequalities, Health in all policies, Inter-sectorial coordination, Generational transitions, Colombia.

DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1349238

HEATHER SUTTON AND INDER RUPRAH (EDS). Restoring Paradise in the Caribbean: Combatting Violence with Numbers. (IDB Monograph; 513). New York: Inter-American Development Bank, 2017.

High level of crime and violence in the Caribbean is one of the main challenges facing the region. This new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) seeks to answer the following questions: What are the size and dimensions of the crime problem? How is the Caribbean similar to or different from the rest of the world? Who are the victims? What are the drivers of crime, and hence the areas that provide the best opportunities for intervention? What are the societal costs? The study’s central hypothesis is that the Caribbean suffers from high levels of interpersonal violence relative to the rest of the world. The method highlights voices of victims in contrast to crime data, which is most often cited in academic work. The research focuses on victimization of citizens in five Caribbean countries: The Bahamas; Barbados; Jamaica; Suriname; and Trinidad and Tobago.

Abstract: While citizen security has become an ever-increasing concern for many Caribbean countries, the magnitude of the problem has not been matched with an equally robust response in terms of research. This volume analyses new data collected in household and business victimization surveys. These surveys allow us to understand crime from a primary source - the victims themselves. As such, this study goes beyond much of the existing literature, which relies primarily on police data. It contributes new information to our understanding of crime patterns, victim profiles, drivers of particular types of crime, and directions for crime reduction in the region.

Keywords: Caribbean, Victimisation, Crime, Violence, Prevention, Citizen security, Evidence-based Policy, Cost of crime.

URL: https://publications.iadb.org/handle/11319/8262

Books and Monographs

ROSA ILEANA BOUDET. Cuba: actores del XIX. Santa Monica: Ediciones de la Flecha, 2017. 467 p.

ISBN 978-0-9884486-6-7

More on this book: http://www.edicionesdelaflecha.com

This book is a comprehensive study of the lives and work of the most prominent actors and actresses in Cuba, ranging from the middle of Eighteenth century with the representation of the first Cuban play written on the Island —Santiago Pita’s El príncipe jardinero y fingido Cloridano— to the beginning of the Twentieth century. The volume covers from the famous actors and companies that arrived from Spain (Andrés Prieto, Antonio Hermosilla, Antonio Rosal, and María Sabatini) to the rising and fading of Cuban leading performers, such as Adela Robreño, Luisa Martínez Casado, Eloísa Agüero y Serrano, Pablo Pildaín, and Paulino Delgado, who premiered hundreds of plays across the island and overseas, and whose performances largely contributed to the establishment of Cuban Theater. As it delves into the intricacies of playwrights and plays, it also offers a parallel view on the stage of each time, and on the long and difficult path those actors and actresses travelled in professionalizing and honoring their careers. This volume is the most accurate, documented, and complete study on Cuban actors prior to the founding of Teatro Alhambra. The book will be of interest to students and scholars working on theater, performance, and cultural studies.

PEDRO FORTES, LARISSA BORATTI, ANDRÉS PALACIOS, AND TOM GERALD DALY. (EDS.) Law and Policy in Latin America. Transforming Courts, Institutions, and Rights. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. XXXVIII, 354 p.

ISBN 978-1-137-56693-5

More on this book:
DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-56694-2

This volume offers an introduction to law and policy responses to contemporary problems in Latin America, such as human rights violations, regulatory dilemmas, economic inequality, and access to knowledge and medicine. The contributors present in its 19 chapters original analyses on Inter-American Court of Human Rights, institutional design, financial regulation, competition, discrimination, gender quotas, police violence, orphan works, healthcare, and environmental protection, among others. It will be of interest to students and scholars working on policymaking, law, development, and environmental studies.

MARIA GUADALUPE ARENILLAS AND MICHAEL LAZZARA (EDS). Latin American Documentary Film in the New Millennium. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016. XVII, 302 p.

ISBN 978-1-137-49522-8

More on this book:
DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-49523-5

This book studies Latin American documentary film as it has been evolving in the new decades of the Twentieth century. Covering a broad range of countries, styles, and creative practices, the volume highlights especially topics such as the “subjective turn” of the 1990s and 2000s, “the ethics of the encounter between the filmmaker and the subject/object of his or her gaze; and the performance of truth and memory, a particularly urgent topic as Latin American countries have transitioned from dictatorship to democracy.” This volume will be of interest to students and scholars working on film and media studies, and cultural industries.