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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Modern Brazil: A Very Short Introduction

A change in Brazil’s national populist government

As we approach 15 November, a national holiday marking the end of the Brazilian Empire and proclamation of the Brazilian Republic in 1889, and also a day of municipal elections, many Brazilians may be contemplating what has happened to their country and where it might be heading.

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Inca Apocalypse by R. Alan Covey

The apocalypse of the Inca empire [timeline]

The Inca Empire rose and fell over the course of a millennium, driven to its demise by internal strife and Spanish conquistadors. This timeline highlights a few key events from the rise of the Inca Empire to its apocalypse.    Header image by Eliazaro via Pixabay

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Hegemonic comeback in Mexico? The victory of López Obrador

On 1 July, Mexicans elected a new president. The results confirmed what the polls had been predicting for months: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, won by a landslide of over 50% of the vote—more than 30 points over the second place candidate, Ricardo Anaya of the National Action Party (PAN).

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Mexican Women’s Self-Expression through Dress – Episode 43 – The Oxford Comment

Our host for this episode is William Beezley, Professor of History at the University of Arizona and Editor in Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. He moderates a roundtable discussion with historians Stephanie Wood and Susie Porter about Mexican women’s self-expression through textiles and dress throughout history to the present day.

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The economic relationship between Mexico and the United States

Mexico and the United States share a highly integrated economic relationship. There seems to be an assumption among many Americans, including officials in the current administration, that the relationship is somehow one-sided, that is, that Mexico is the sole beneficiary of commerce between the two countries. Yet, economic benefits to both countries are extensive.

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Going back to instrumental lessons

Three existential questions are useful to all of us: “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?” The publication of The Integrated String Player got me thinking about these questions in regards to my trajectory as a cellist. I decided to go back to school, so to speak. This is my report.

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ORE Latin American History

When the kids outsmarted the dictators

Decades before the internet was invented, young Argentines documented police brutality without iPhones, met and discussed their movement without social media, and even protested repression without marches. How? Through another of the most powerful and subversive media ever devised: rock music.

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Can microbiology tell us exactly what killed the Aztecs?

The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to Mexico in the 1620s marked the beginning of the end for the indigenous people. With an estimated population of between 15 and 30 million at this point, this dropped dramatically to only two million by 1700: the result of battles, famine, drought, and perhaps most significantly, infectious diseases. The following Q&A investigates how microbiology contributed to the ruin of the once-flourishing Mesoamerican culture.

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The Bolivarian (r)evolution: the perpetual liberation of Venezuela

Ignoring both domestic and international protests, Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro has recently overseen the creation of a Constituent Assembly with the power to dissolve parliament, rewrite the constitution, and remove any remaining checks on his power. But this should not be interpreted merely as a power grab by yet another desperate ruler. History’s invisible hand is at work, playing out a recurring theme that has haunted Venezuela since its formation by Simón Bolívar.

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Finding reliable information on Latin America in the Internet flood

Recent political rhetoric filled with such hot button words as “drugs,” “immigrants,” “the Wall,” and “terrorists” serves in place of diplomacy that represents the interests of the United States while remaining respectful toward other nations. This blather is the result of loose-lipped politicians who prefer media quips to thoughtful commentary about policy. Although the United […]

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Singing resistance on the border

At an early age, Américo Paredes was preoccupied with the inexorable passing of time, which would leave an imprint in his academic career. Devoting his academic career to preserving and displaying Mexican-American traditions through thorough analysis and recording of folk-songs, it is clear that Paredes kept his focus on beating back the forces of time and amnesia. Indeed, Paredes’ lessons are still very much relevant today.

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Bodily identity and biotypology in Brazil

What does your body shape say about you? When typing this question on any online search engine one will find dozens of examples and images of models of varying bodily classifications as well as the relationship of bodily shape with many different types of physical and mental health and even personality. Rectangle, triangle, round, hourglass, slender, pear, apple, etc, are widespread categories used to label the body

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Brinksmanship does little to resolve crisis in Venezuela

For over eighty days, the opposition has challenged the government of Nicolás Maduro and sought his ouster through direct street actions. Dramatic images of masked protestors violently clashing with the Venezuelan National Guard or the Bolivarian Police dominate western media reporting on the country. The mainstream US media creates the impression that the entire country is in open revolt and Maduro only holds on to power through the use of sheer repression.

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Puerto Rico in crisis

The US territory of Puerto Rico is currently experiencing its most severe and pro­longed economic downturn since the Great Depression (1929–33). Between 2006 and 2016, the island’s economy (measured as Gross National Product in constant 1954 prices) shrank by 15.2%, while total employment fell by 28.6%. The elimination of federal tax exemptions under Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code in 2006 dealt a serious blow to the island’s manufacturing industry.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

How simple, rural products changed Argentina’s history

With globalization and industrialization came both freedom and dependency, as Argentina shed the persistent stereotype that the country was simply a collection of farms and ranches. Rural and urban life blurred into a hybrid culture that thrived on export commodities and domestic consumption. To further illustrate how the urbanization of simple rural products shaped the culture and history of Argentina, we compiled some facts that help demonstrate how globalization had such an impact on Argentina from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th.

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