More than other Atlantic societies, Latin America is shackled to its past. This collection is an exploration of the binding historical legacies--the making of slavery, patrimonial absolutist states, backward agriculture and the imprint of the Enlightenment--with which Latin America continues to grapple.
Leading writers and scholars reflect on how this heritage emerged from colonial institutions and how historians have tackled these legacies over the years, suggesting that these deep encumbrances are why the region has failed to live up to liberal-capitalist expectations. They also invite discussion about the political, economic and cultural heritages of Atlantic colonialism through the idea that persistence is a powerful organizing framework for understanding particular kinds of historical processes.
"Adelman has assembled an impressive group of historians to address the issue of why Latin America's past looms so heavily in the present…This collection deserves attention from both policymakers and scholars." -- Foreign Affairs
"An exceptional anthology that tackles a classic problem in Latin American studies with a plethora of fresh insights. It transcends traditional narratives of the region's colonial past as destiny to analyze the interaction between historical continuity, disruption, and contingency. A book that is scholarly sound, intellectually satisfying, and a great pedagogical tool." -- Jose Moya, Associate Professor of History, UCLA
"This superb collection of essays, brilliantly framed by Jeremy Adelman's introduction, offers consistently insightful and thought-provoking confrontations with the colonial past of Latin America. Colonial Legacies makes bulky course packets obsolete -- an essay a week from this book will make every discussion worth attending." -- John Coatsworth, Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University
"Students of world history will find the opening chapters of interest, as the authors reject Eurocentricism in favor of an Atlantic view embracing the complexities of three diverse continents. Other essays round out the collection and pull it in different, but generally appropriate ways." -- Journal of World History