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Networks and Trans-Cultural Exchange

Slave Trading in the South Atlantic, 1590-1867

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Edited by David Richardson and Filipa Ribeiro da Silva

Winner of the 2015 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award

Studies of the South Atlantic commercial world typically focus on connections between Angola and Brazil, and specifically on the flows of enslaved Africans from Luanda and the relations between Portuguese-Brazilian traders and other agents and their local African and mulatto trading partners. While reaffirming the centrality of slaving activities and of the networks that underpinned them, this collection of new essays shows that there were major Portuguese-Brazilian slave-trading activities in the South Atlantic outside Luanda as well as the Angolan-Brazil axes upon which historians usually focus. In drawing attention to these aspects of the South Atlantic commercial world, we are reminded that this was a world of change and also one in which Portuguese-Brazilian traders were unable to sustain in the face of competition from northern European rivals the dominant position in slave trading in Atlantic Africa that they had first established in the sixteenth century.

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Edited by Stephen Finley, Margarita Guillory and Hugh Page Jr.

In Esotericism in African American Religious Experience: “There is a Mystery” …, Stephen C. Finley, Margarita Simon Guillory, and Hugh R. Page, Jr. assemble twenty groundbreaking essays that provide a rationale and parameters for Africana Esoteric Studies (AES): a new trans-disciplinary enterprise focused on the investigation of esoteric lore and practices in Africa and the African Diaspora. The goals of this new field — while akin to those of Religious Studies, Africana Studies, and Western Esoteric Studies — are focused on the impulses that give rise to Africana Esoteric Traditions (AETs) and the ways in which they can be understood as loci where issues such as race, ethnicity, and identity are engaged; and in which identity, embodiment, resistance, and meaning are negotiated.

Crisis and Contradiction

Marxist Perspectives on Latin America in the Global Political Economy

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Edited by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

Since the late-1990s much of Latin America has experienced an uneven and contradictory turn to the Left in the electoral arena. At the same time, there has been a rejuvenation of Marxist critiques of political economy. Drawing on the expertise of Latin American, North American, and European scholars, this volume offers cutting-edge theoretical explorations of trends in the region, as well as in-depth case studies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Venezuela. Essays in the volume focus on changes to class formation in Latin America and offer new insights into the state-form, exploring the complex relationship between state and market in contexts of late capitalist development, particularly in countries endowed with incredible natural resource wealth.

Contributors are: Dario Azzellini, Emilia Castorina, Mariano Féliz, Juan Grigera, Nicolas Grinberg, Gabriel Hetland, Claudio Katz, Thomas Purcell, Ben Selwyn, Susan J. Spronk, Guido Starosta, Leandro Vergara-Camus, and Jeffery R. Webber.

Marxism in a Lost Century

A Biography of Paul Mattick

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Gary Roth

Marxism in a Lost Century retells the history of the radical left during the twentieth century through the words and deeds of Paul Mattick. An adolescent during the German revolutions that followed World War I, he was also a recent émigré to the United States during the 1930s Great Depression, when the unemployed groups in which he participated were among the most dynamic manifestations of social unrest. Three biographical themes receive special attention -- the self-taught nature of left-wing activity, Mattick’s experiences with publishing, and the nexus of men, politics, and friendship. Mattick found a wide audience during the 1960s because of his emphasis on the economy’s dysfunctional aspects and his advocacy of workplace councils—a popularity mirrored in the cyclical nature of the global economy.

The Chinese Cornerstone of Modern Banking

The Canton Guaranty System and the Origins of Bank Deposit Insurance 1780-1933

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Frederic Delano Grant, Jr.

Modern bank insurance is traced to its roots in The Chinese Cornerstone of Modern Banking: The Canton Guaranty System and the Origins of Bank Deposit Insurance 1780-1933. Frederic Delano Grant, Jr. provides new understandings of the Canton System, collective responsibility for debt at Canton, and the history of deposit insurance.

The Canton Guaranty System inspired radical reform in New York in 1829 – the ancestor of all modern deposit insurance. Yet it was never the success imagined, and soon failed. In the Opium War, the Chinese government as implicit guarantor was forced to pay its debts in full on 23 July 1843. The afflictions of the Chinese system, including moral hazard, too big to fail, and unenforced laws, remain familiar today.

A New Kind of Public

Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948

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Graham Cassano

In 1936, director John Ford claimed to be making movies for “a new kind of public” that wanted more honest pictures. Graham Cassano’s A New Kind of Public: Community, solidarity, and political economy in New Deal cinema, 1935-1948 argues that this new kind of public was forged in the fires of class struggle and economic calamity. Those struggles appeared in Hollywood productions, as the movies themselves tried to explain the causes and consequence of the Great Depression. Using the tools of critical Marxism and cultural theory, Cassano surveys Hollywood’s political economic explanations and finds a field of symbolic struggle in which radical visions of solidarity and conflict competed with the dominant class ideology for the loyalty of this new audience.

The Postcolonial Orient

The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincialising Europe

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Vasant Kaiwar

In The Postcolonial Orient, Vasant Kaiwar presents a far-reaching analysis of the political, economic, and ideological cross-currents that have shaped and informed postcolonial studies preceding and following the 1989 moment of world history. The valences of the ‘post’ in postcolonialism are unfolded via some key historical-political postcolonial texts showing, inter alia, that they are replete with elements of Romantic Orientalism and the Oriental Renaissance. Kaiwar mobilises a critical body of classical and contemporary Marxism to demonstrate that far richer understandings of ‘Europe’ not to mention ‘colonialism’, ‘modernity’ and ‘difference’ are possible than with a postcolonialism captive to phenomenological-existentialism and post-structuralism, concluding that a narrative so enriched is indispensable for a transformative non-Eurocentric internationalism.

Plebeian Power

Collective Action and Indigenous, Working-Class and Popular Identities in Bolivia

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Álvaro García Linera

In addition to his role as Evo Morales’s vice-president, Álvaro García Linera is one of Bolivia’s foremost intellectuals. With a theoretical trajectory beginning in efforts to combine Marxism and Indianism, then developed in reaction to the neoliberal turn of the 1980s and in contact with the mass social movements of recent years, García Linera's Plebeian Power can be read as both an evolving analysis of Bolivian reality through periods of great social change, and as an intellectual biography of the author himself. Informed by such thinkers as Marx, Bourdieu and René Zavaleta, García Linera reflects on the nature of the state, class and indigenous identity and their relevance to social struggles in Bolivia.

English translation of La potencia plebeya: Acción colectiva e identidades indígenas, obreras y populares en Bolivia published by Siglo del Hombre Editores and CLASCO in 2007.

Atlantic Biographies

Individuals and Peoples in the Atlantic World

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Edited by Jeffrey A. Fortin and Mark Meuwese

This volume uses a biography-as-history approach to illuminate the interconnectedness of the peoples of the Americas, West Africa, and Europe. Contributors highlight individuals' and people's experiences made possible by their participation in the creation of an Atlantic world, where conflict, cooperation, neccessity and invention led to new societies and cultures.

Composed of chapters that span a broad chronological, topical and thematic range, Atlantic Biographies highlights the uniqueness of the Atlantic as a social, political, economic, and cultural theater bound together to illustrate what the Atlantic meant to those subjects of each chapter. This is a book about people, their resilience, and their resolve to carve a niche or have a broader impact in the ever-changing world around them.

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José M. Aricó

In a work centred on Marx's harsh biography of Simón Bolívar, José Aricó examines why Latin America was apparently 'excluded' from Marx's thought, challenging the allegation that this expressed some 'Eurocentric' prejudice.
Aricó shows how the German thinker's hostility towards the Bonapartism and authoritarianism he identified in the Liberator coloured his attitude towards the continent and the significance of its independence-processes.
Whilst criticising Marx's misreading of Latin-American realities, Aricó demonstrates contemporaneous, countervailing tendencies in Marx's thought, including his appraisal of the revolutionary potentialities of other 'peripheral' extra-European societies. As such, Aricó convincingly argues that Marx's work was not a dogma of linear 'progress', but a living, contradictory body of thought constantly in development.

English translation of the Marx y América Latina edition, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010.