Emerging out of a 2016 conference, Andra Chastain
and Timothy Lorek
have brought together Environmental History, Latin American Studies, and Science and Technology Studies in a single volume that reshapes scholarly understandings of Latin America’s Long Cold War. Rather than emphasize diplomatic, social or cultural histories of conflict, this volume emphasizes the roles of “experts” who cast themselves as apolitical technocrats just working on the ground. Chastain and Lorek’s book argues that experts and the networks in which they traveled significantly shaped geopolitical agendas, local cultures, and were in fact central to the history of the Cold War.
The essays in Itineraries of Expertise: Science, Technology, and the Environment in Latin America
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020) focus on Chile, Mexico, Cuba, and Peru, in order to explore how knowledge circulated regionally as well as locally and globally. Essay topics vary from the space race to the Green Revolution, and from the Santiago Metro to Ubre Blanca, Cuba’s most famous dairy cow. By focusing on itineraries rather than exchanges or knowledge transfers, the contributors emphasize the movement of technology, knowledge, and practice within the global south, and particularly decenter the United States from the Cold War narrative. With summative essays from such luminaries as Gil Joseph on Latin America’s Long Cold War, and Edin Medina and Mark Carey combining STS and Environmental Studies, this work will be of great use to graduate students, teachers, and scholars in all three fields. Other contributors include: Tore Olsson, Mary Roldán, Reinaldo Funes-Monzote, Steven Palmer, Thomas Rath, Pedro Ignacio Alonso, Hugo Palmarola, Mark Healey, Fernando Purcell, Emily Wakild, and Javiera Barandiarán.
Andra Chastain is an assistant professor of Latin American and world history at Washington State University Vancouver. Timothy Lorek is Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan.