Tag Archives: readings/research

Guillermo O’Donnell

“Guillermo O’Donnell: (1936-2011) Argentine political scientist. He earned a law degree in Argentina and a PhD from Yale University. He taught at universities in South America, Europe, and the United States (principally Notre Dame), and has written many books on Latin American authoritarianism and democracy and the transition from one to the other. His pathbreaking analysis of ‘bureaucratic authoritarianism’ as a specific type of military rule found especially in Latin America from the 1960s to the 1980s contributed greatly to the understanding of comparative politics.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Astor Piazzola

“Astor Piazzola: (1921-1992) Argentine composer. Born in Buenos Aires, he lived in the Bronx, New York, until he was 15, then returned to Argentina to play the bandoneon (a type of accordion) in a tango band led by Anibal Troilo (1917-1975). From 1944 he led his own groups. His interest in classical music led to study with Nadia Boulanger (1954-55) and the development of his own compositional style, infusing elements of jazz and modern music into tango. Not always initially popular with tango fans, his music is now recognized as having revived the genre and greatly expanded its artistic potential.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Magic Realism

Magic Realism: (Sp, lo real maravilloso) A term introduced by Alejo Carpentier, in his prologue to El reino do este mundo (1949; tr The Kingdom of This World, 1957). The Cuban novelist was searching for a concept broad enough to accommodate both the events of everyday life and the fabulous nature of Latin American geography and history. Carpentier, who was greatly influenced by French surrealism, saw in magic realism the capacity to enrich our idea of what is ‘real” by incorporating all dimensions of the imagination, particularly as expressed in magic, myth, and religion.

In the hands of [Gabriel] Garcia Marquez and other writers of the Boom period, magic realism became a distinctly Latin American mode, an indigenous style for their explorations of history, culture, and politics. This narrative technique has influenced writers around the world.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, 30 September 2022, Hispanic Heritage Month Week III: One Hundred Years of Solitude

On the third Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2022, here is a reading on One Hundred Years of Solitude, the masterpiece of Magical Realism from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Have you read it? When I was a high school senior, my somewhat older but infinitely more sophisticated girlfriend gave me a copy. I read it, and as you can imagine, understood none of it. I keep meaning to get back to it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

United Fruit Co.

“United Fruit Co.: U.S.-based fruit company. It was founded in 1899 in the merger of the Boston Fruit Company and other companies that sold bananas grown in Central America, Colombia, and the Caribbean. Minor C. Keith, its principal founder, gained extensive land rights in Costa Rica in return for constructing railroads. United Fruit became the largest employer in Central America, developing vast tracts of jungle lands and building one of the largest private merchant navies in the world. Attacked in the Latin American press as el pulpo (‘the octopus’), the company was widely accused of exploiting workers and influencing governments during the era of ‘dollar diplomacy’ in the early to mid-20th century. It later policies were more enlightened, and it transferred portions of its landholdings to individual growers. In 1970 United Fruit merged with AMK Corporation to form United Brands Co., which changed its name in 1990 to Chiquita Brands International, Inc.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Mario Vargas Llosa with a Rhetorical Question

“At what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up?”

Mario Vargas Llosa, Conversation in the Cathedral ch. 1 (1969)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Che Guevara

“Che Guevara: originally Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (1928-1967) Theoretician and tactician of guerilla warfare and prominent figure in Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba (1956-59). Born to a middle-class family in Argentina, he completed medical studies in 1953 and subsequently traveled widely in Latin America, eventually settling in Guatemala. The overthrow of Guatemala’s President Jacobo Arbenz persuaded him that the U.S. would always oppose leftist governments and that only violent revolution would end the poverty of the Latin American masses. He left Guatemala for Mexico, where he met Castro and joined his cause. After the Cuban revolution he held several posts as one of Castro’s most trusted aides; handsome and charismatic, he served as one of the revolution’s most effective voices. He left Cuba in 1965 to organize guerilla fighters in the Congo and later Bolivia. Captured and shot by the Bolivian army, he immediately achieved international fame and the status of a martyred hero among leftists worldwide.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 23 September 2022, Hispanic Heritage Month Week II: Fidel Castro

For the second Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2022, here are a reading on Fidel Castro along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. And yes, I do understand that Fidel Castro is a controversial figure. Controversy is the food of inquiry, and in any case, Castro is an integral part of modern Latin American history.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Taino

“Taino: Arawak Indians of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. They also inhabited Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of Cuba. The grew cassava and corn, hunted birds and small animals, and fished. They were skillful at working stone and wood. Their society consisted of three tiers—nobles, commoners, and slaves—and they were ruled by hereditary chiefs and subchiefs. Their religious beliefs centered on a hierarchy of nature spirits and ancestors. They became extinct within 100 years of the Spanish conquest.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Pablo Picasso on God as an Artist

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.”

Pablo Picasso, quoted in Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso (1964)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.