New Books From UW History Faculty
Our Indigenous Ancestors
A Cultural History of Museums, Science, and Identity in Argentina, 1877-1943
Our Indigenous Ancestors complicates the history of the erasure of native cultures and the perceived domination of white, European heritage in Argentina through a study of anthropology museums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Carolyne Larson demonstrates how scientists, collectors, the press, and the public engaged with Argentina’s native American artifacts and remains (and sometimes living peoples) in the process of constructing an “authentic” national heritage. She explores the founding and functioning of three museums in Argentina, as well as the origins and consolidation of Argentine archaeology and the professional lives of a handful of dynamic curators and archaeologists, using these institutions and individuals as a window onto nation building, modernization, urban-rural tensions, and problems of race and ethnicity in turn-of-the-century Argentina. Museums and archaeology, she argues, allowed Argentine elites to build a modern national identity distinct from the country’s indigenous past, even as it rested on a celebrated, extinct version of that past. As Larson shows, contrary to widespread belief, elements of Argentina’s native American past were reshaped and integrated into the construction of Argentine national identity as white and European at the turn of the century. Our Indigenous Ancestors provides a unique look at the folklore movement, nation building, science, institutional change, and the divide between elite, scientific, and popular culture in Argentina and the Americas at a time of rapid, sweeping changes in Latin American culture and society.
Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945
Framing the Audience explores the cultural politics of the Great Depression and World War II through the prism of art appreciation. Isadora Helfgott interrogates the ideological and political motivations for breaking down barriers between fine art and popular culture. She charts the impact that changes in art appreciation had on the broader political, social, cultural, and artistic landscape.
Framing the Audience argues that efforts to expand the social basis of art became intertwined with—and helped shape—broader debates about national identity and the future of American political economy. Helfgott chronicles artists’ efforts to influence the conditions of artistic production and display. She highlights the influence of the Federal Art Project, the impact of the Museum of Modern Art as an institutional home for modernism in America and as an organizer of traveling exhibitions, and the efforts by LIFE and Fortune magazines to integrate art education into their visual record of modern life. In doing so, Helfgott makes critical observations about the changing relationship between art and the American public.
Hunting Nazis in Franco's Spain
In the waning days and immediate aftermath of World War II, Nazi diplomats and spies based in Spain decided to stay rather than return to a defeated Germany. The decidedly pro-German dictatorship of General Francisco Franco gave them refuge and welcomed other officials and agents from the Third Reich who had escaped and made their way to Iberia. Amid fears of a revival of the Third Reich, Allied intelligence and diplomatic officers developed a repatriation program across Europe to remove these individuals and return them to Germany where occupation authorities could further investigate them. Yet, due to Spain’s longstanding ideological alliance with Hitler, German infiltration of the Spanish economy and society was extensive, and the Allies could count on minimal Spanish cooperation in this effort.
In Hunting Nazis in Franco’s Spain, David Messenger deftly traces the development and execution of the Allied repatriation scheme, providing an analysis of Allied, Spanish, and expatriated Germans’ responses. Messenger shows that by April 1946, British and American embassy staff in Madrid had compiled a census of the roughly 10,000 Germans then residing in Spain and had drawn up three lists of 1,677 men and women targeted for repatriation to occupied Germany. While the Spanish government did round up and turn over some Germans to the Allies, many of them were intentionally overlooked in the process. By mid-1947, Franco’s regime had forced only 265 people to leave Spain; most Germans managed to evade repatriation by moving from Spain to Argentina or by solidifying their ties to the Franco regime and Span-ish life. By 1948, the program was effectively over.
Drawing on records in American, British, and Spanish archives, this first book-length study in English of the repatriation program tells the story of this dramatic chapter in the history of post–World War II Europe.