Call for Papers

American (Inter)Dependencies
New Perspectives on Capitalism and Empire, 1898-1959
April 3-5, 2014 at New York University

In the spring of 2014 we will convene an international conference at New York University to investigate the coproduction and dynamic interrelation of the U.S., Latin American, and global economies in the half-century between the Spanish-American War and the Cuban Revolution.

This pivotal period saw broad transformations in ideas, institutions, and practices of capitalism and imperialism in the western hemisphere and around the world. Historians have conventionally approached these transformations through analytical frameworks such as dependency and diffusion, depicting a one-way flow from a powerful North to a powerless South. To challenge such top-down analysis, we aim to bring together scholars of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean to explore the multidirectional processes, reciprocal impacts, and global dimensions of inter-American economic relations.

Drawing methodologically from the new cultural history, the new international history, and the history of capitalism, we will explore how transnational ventures in areas including finance, agricultural policy, resource extraction and exchange, transportation, and industrialization shaped not only the political economy of development in twentieth century Latin America, but also the political economy of U.S. capitalism. At the same time, we will consider how social groups and political actors appropriated, contested, and redirected imperial, state, and corporate power through their own experiments in coalition building, the organization of labor, the regulation of capital, economic interventionism, and alternative forms of governance. We are especially interested in exploring how the strategies, structures, and alignments that took shape in the western hemisphere in this period have organized global capitalism under U.S. hegemony.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Economic sovereignty, nationalism, and multilateralism
  • Economic and social rights (including labor, public health, housing, consumption)
  • Developmentalisms and modernization
  • Commodity production and trade
  • Forms of hemispheric “security”
  • International law and institutionalized bodies of knowledge
  • Inter-imperial competition and rivalry

The call for papers is now closed. Questions should be addressed to the conference organizers at 

American (Inter)Dependencies has received generous support from the NYU Humanities Initiative, the NYU History Department, the New York City Latin American History Workshop, and the NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.