Call for Papers: Transnational and Global Histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left

Here’s an interesting call for papers for not one, but two conferences on Latin American history in a global context, both organized by LSE’s Tanya Harmer and Alberto Martín Álvarez of the Instituto Mora in Mexico City.

A long description of both conferences follows; interested applicants should be aware that the deadline for applying is July 3, 2015, with a one page proposal in either Spanish or English and a brief academic CV, sent either to Harmer ( or  Álvarez (

The LSE and the Instituto Mora are issuing calls for papers for two related international workshops that they are organising in 2016.  Funded by the British Academy’s Newton Mobility Fund, taking advantage of combined research expertise at both institutions, and linked to the established New Left Network led by Alberto Martín Álvarez and Eduardo Rey, the workshops aim to explore different perspectives on Latin America’s Revolutionary Left.

Although both workshops are part of the same broader project to examine global and transnational histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left (otherwise known as the New Left of the Armed Left), it is anticipated that proposals will be made to one workshop or the other rather than both. Details of the workshops and the themes they wish to explore are as follows:


LSE, LONDON, 26-27 February 2016

Our knowledge of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 is growing. New archives, oral histories and published testimonies have driven history forward and encouraged new research. However, we still know relatively little about the global dimensions of the Revolutionary Left or New Left in Latin America. We know that revolutionary left-wing militants shared feelings of solidarity, collective belonging and common purpose across continents. Members of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left also travelled to Europe (East and West), Africa, Asia, and North America, where they found inspiration, and participated in revolutionary developments. We also know that Latin America’s Revolutionary Left received moral, intellectual, cultural and financial support from counterparts and sympathetic groups abroad. Yet where and how these relationships and networks originated, how they functioned and with what consequences is less clear.

With the aim of providing a forum for discussion and showcasing new research, this international workshop will explore the relationships that Latin American revolutionaries forged across continents in the late twentieth century. By focusing on revolutionary networks and transnational relationships between Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America, the workshop will broaden our collective understanding of the global Cold War. Topics of particular interest include:

  • Third World revolutionary networks between Latin America, Africa and Asia
  • Latin America’s Revolutionary Left in Europe
  • Geographies, contact zones and cities of revolutionary encounter
  • Legitimization and de-legitimization of revolutionary violence
  • Solidarity and exile


Latin American left-wing armed organisations shared repertoires of action, strategies, symbols and ideologies. Socialism, revolution and armed struggle became identities of these groups, which rose to become important political actors during the last decades of the 20th century. Despite strong political and ideological similarities between left-wing organisations, our understanding of the processes of construction and diffusion of this “intellectual culture of revolution” in Latin America is nevertheless still limited. Some authors (Colburn) ascribe the diffusion of ideas regarding radical change in the Global South to the predominant role of local revolutionary intellectuals who studied in European or North American universities. However, the evidence coming from Latin America appears to point to a much more complex panorama. The culture of revolution was constituted in each country as an amalgamation between local revolutionary traditions and global intellectual influences. Meanwhile, the direct interaction between left-wing organisations and activists from different countries appears to have been of fundamental importance in the construction of a transnational imagined community of global scope. Additionally, beyond the influence of concrete political ideologies, the construction of left-wing political identities was closely linked to specific currents of political mobilisation that arose both as a result of national cycles of protest and because of a particular international context marked by the Cuban Revolution and the Vietnam War, among other globally historic events. All of which points to the need for adopting a transnational perspective when studying Latin America’s revolutionary culture in the second half of the 20th century. The objective of this workshop is precisely to open up space for discussion and reflection on this topic. We are therefore calling for proposals for papers that concentrate on the following themes:

  • Revolutionary ideology, its origins, sources and influences
  • Universities and the intellectual culture of revolution
  • Students and revolutionary movements
  • The creation and diffusion of repertoires of action among the armed left
  • Processes of left-wing political identity construction

Those interested in taking part in either workshop should send a 1 page proposal in either Spanish or English and a brief academic CV to those leading the project: Dr Tanya Harmer ( and Alberto Martín Álvarez ( by 3 July 2015.

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