Disciplinary Conquests: U.S. Scholars in South America, 1900-1945.

AuthorRothera, Evan C.
PositionBook review

Salvatore, Ricardo D. Disciplinary Conquests: U.S. Scholars in South America, 1900-1945. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Ricardo D. Salvatore, plenary professor at Universidad Torcuato Di Telia in Buenos Aires, has written and edited many books about Latin American history. His monograph Wandering Paysanos: State Order and Subaltern Experience in Buenos Aires during the Rosas Era offers an excellent exploration of the lower classes during the dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas. In addition, he edited Crime and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society Since Late Colonial Times, with Gilbert M. Joseph and Carlos Aguirre, and Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, with Gilbert M. Joseph and Catherine C. LeGrand. In other words, he is an expert on the history of Latin America, particularly the relationship between South America and the United States.

In Disciplinary Conquests: U.S. Scholars in South America, 1900-1945, Salvatore argues that the United States "rediscovered" South America during the first half of the twentieth century. This tome analyzes five scholars--archaeologist Hiram Bingham, historian Clarence H. Haring, political scientist Leo S. Rowe, geographer Isaiah Bowman, and sociologist Edward A. Ross--to explore "disciplinary conquests" [how scholars engaged with distinct elements of South America]. "In a region free from direct US military and political intervention," he asserts, "information gathering and knowledge production constituted cumulative acts of possession, through which the United States apprehended, systematized, and rendered legible the realities of South America" (1-2).

Disciplinary Conquests explores elements of each scholar's career. Bingham won laurels for "rediscovering" the city of Machu Pichu. His subsequent Yale Peruvian Expedition was an impressive scientific endeavor, but also "an enterprise of conquest, a moment when business and scholarship united in the construction of the US informal empire" (77). From his perch at Harvard, Haring, "developed the idea of a comprehensive and parallel history of the hemisphere" (107). He also helped develop the sub-discipline of Hispanic American history. As a colonial administrator in Puerto Rico, political scientist Rowe developed the principle of "education in self-rule" for the Caribbean. On the other hand, after spending time among South American academics, he argued "intellectual cooperation" should...

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