In 1969, Nelson Rockefeller embarked on four ill-fated diplomatic tours of Latin America that inspired violent clashes between the state and the street. Contemporary observers and subsequent scholars have dismissed Gov. Rockefeller’s goodwill effort as an unmitigated failure. In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Ernesto Capello explored recently released documents, including selections from the thousands of solicitations sent to Rockefeller by ordinary citizens, which demonstrate the need to reevaluate Rockefeller’s Presidential Mission as a critical moment in the way Cold War Latin America imagined its neighbors to the north.
Ernesto Capello received his doctorate in Latin American history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and is Associate Professor of History at Macalester College. He is the author of City at the Center of the World: Space, History, and Modernity in Quito as well as numerous articles regarding transnational frameworks of citizenship. Currently an NEH fellow at the Library of Congress, he is developing two book projects, one concerning the idea of the equator in French and Ecuadorian geographical science, and one concerning hemispheric identities that crystallized during Nelson Rockefeller’s 1969 Presidential Mission to Latin America.
Report from the Field: Jason Steinhauer, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress
A webcast and podcast will be available here shortly.
The Washington History Seminar began its new semester on September 10 with a talk by Middle East scholar Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University. According to Khalidi, the defeat of Egypt and Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is often described as a deathblow to pan-Arabism, and it did indeed gravely undermine the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser. But he argues that the Egyptians, Syrians, and Palestinians had in fact already begun to shift towards narrower nation-state nationalism even before the 1967 war, which merely confirmed this reorientation.
Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia. He has taught at the Lebanese University and the American University of Beirut. He is a past president of the Middle East Studies Association. His books include The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (2006); and Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East (2009).
The weekly seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It is directed by Wm. Roger Louis of the National History Center and Christian Ostermann of the Wilson Center. It meets at 4 p.m. in the 6th floor Moynihan Board Room at the Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building at 13th and Pennsylvania, NW (Federal Triangle Metro Stop).
For more information, please contact the History Center’s associate director, Marian J. Barber, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On June 20, 2012 National History Center Director Wm. Roger Louis delivered a lecture at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.
Be sure to catch Professor Louis’ talk, entitled “Skeletons in Britannia’s Closet?” here.