The USA – lack of imagination rather than expansionist ethos

Launch of the Centre for the Comparative Study of
the Americas (CECSAM)
Public Lecture
‘The Americas Compared: New Approaches to the Study of
the Western Hemisphere’
James Dunkerley, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London gave a public
lecture on Monday 22 February 2010 as part of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities
public lecture series.
The talk entitled, ‘The Americas Compared – New Approaches to the Study of the Western
Hemisphere’, claims that the USA is a name that appropriated the continent as much through
lack of imagination as through any expansionist ethos. The lecture investigated the entire
ideology of Americanness, which is only now coming under sustained questioning, with onesixth of the US population being of Spanish descent. This, together with enhanced political
confidence south of the Rio Grande, has opened up fertile new cultural and political flows.
The lecture reviewed endeavours to consider the Western Hemisphere more in terms of a
combined geo-social system (together with a considerable archipelago) rather than two selfdefining (and mutually suspicious sections): on the one hand the ‘USA’ and ‘Latin America’
on the other.
The lecture was held in the Wallace Lecture Theatre, Wallace Building, Swansea University all welcome.
For further information on public lectures, e-mail: [email protected] or telephone 01792
James Dunkerley is Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London. From 1998 to
2008, he was Director, successively, of the University's Institute of Latin American Studies,
the Institute for United States Studies, and then the Institute for the Study of the Americas. He
has also taught at the University of Notre Dame and New York University. Amongst his
publications are: Americana. The Americas in the World, around 1850 (2000); Power in the
Isthmus. A Political History of Central America (1988); Political Suicide in Latin America
(1992); and Bolivia: Revolution and the Power of History in the Present (2007). He is
currently preparing a politico-intellectual study of the North Atlantic world in the early 19th
century. Prof. Dunkerley has been awarded an OBE for services to Latin American Studies
and UK/Latin American relations.
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