Forty years ago last autumn, Cornell University Press published a revised and expanded dissertation, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (1).
As the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade approached, the past few years saw a great outpouring of scholarship on subjects related to the relationship between Britain, slavery, race and empire, with particular focus upon Britain's entry into participation in the slave trade and plantation agriculture, and upon the rise of popular opposition to slavery.
It would be easy, but facile, to dismiss emigration from Ireland to Argentina as a minor aberration in the history of both countries.
In a seminal article on Portuguese merchants published 35 years ago (1), David Grant Smith suggested (on p. 247) that emigrants from Madeira ‘constituted a sort of gentile Diaspora’, highlighting how family ties and friendships originating on this small Portuguese Atlantic island ‘endured and formed the basis for a network of commercial relationships’.
On the occasion of his famous address commemorating the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, delivered in Concord on August 1, 1844, Ralph Waldo Emerson highlighted America’s avoidance of slavery’s implications.
‘Look into his eyes: could you ever say “no” to a man like that?’ We were standing before a portrait of Emiliano Zapata; the woman who would have found it hard to say ‘no’ was a young, middle-class professional from Mexico City who had generously taken up the task of introducing her nation’s language and history to me.
Given the division of opinion over the nature of Cuban Revolution, it has always been hard to find a general work on the subject that does not merely tell half the story. However, Toni Kapcia has now provided us with a book which, while comprehensible to a general audience or a useful introduction for students, will nevertheless provide insights for the more specialist reader.
Exporting Japan examines the domestic politics and foreign policy concerns shaping Japanese expansion into Latin America through immigration and settlement in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
This year (2010), the world has seen a number of big earthquake disasters, like those that hit Haiti in January and Chile a month later. Disasters strike when least expected, and the death and destruction that follows represents critical tests of the ability of cities and nations to handle crises and to rebuild.
The growth of academic interest in the ‘Iberian Atlantic World’ during the last decade has also witnessed the expansion of scholarship on the presence of, and role played in it by, Judeoconversos (or ‘New Christians’): the descendants of Jews who were converted (often by force) to Christianity in the 14th and 15th centuries.