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Carleton’s Annual Foro Latinoamericano Welcomes Noted Historian and Author Greg Grandin

April 16, 2012
By Alex Korsunsky '12

Noted historian and author Greg Grandin, whose books on Latin America have won praise from figures as diverse as the New York Times Book Review and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, will present the keynote address at Carleton College’s annual Foro Latinoamerico conference. Grandin’s presentation, entitled “American Exceptionalism is Dead, Long Live American Exceptionalism,” will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 20 in the Gould Library Athenaeum. This event is free and open to the public.

The 2012 Foro Latinoamericano, “Writing Latin American History,” focuses on the writing of Latin American history. Carleton has invited distinguished author and historian Greg Grandin to open the conference, who will address the methodological and political challenges faced by historians of Latin America. The political responsibility that marks the historian’s work in a region with a long and vexed relationship with the United States has been a distinct mark of Grandin’s writing.

Grandin is the author of numerous prize-winning books, including Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan 2009). Fordlandia traces Henry Ford’s failed attempt to create a vast rubber plantation in the Amazon. Ford sought not only to farm rubber on an industrial scale, but also to impose his vision of a virtuous Midwestern idyll on his Brazilian workers. However, disease ravaged the rubber trees, and the project was ultimately abandoned in failure. Fordlandia was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was also included on “best of” lists published by The New York Times, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and NPR, and named it the best history book of 2009.

Grandin’s other books are Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Empire (Metropolitan 2005), which traces the history of American imperialism and demonstrates the connections between this history and the war in Iraq; The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America During the Cold War (University of Chicago Press 2004); and Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation (Duke University Press, 2000), which won the Latin American Studies Association’s Bryce Wood Award for the best book published on Latin America in any discipline.

Grandin is a professor of history at New York University. He has also been published in The New York Times, Harper’s, The London Review of Books, The Nation, and The Los Angeles Times. Grandin has served as a consultant to the United Nations truth commission on Guatemala and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. His forthcoming book, co-edited with Gil Joseph, is titled A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War and will be published by Duke University Press in September.

The Gould Library is located on the Carleton campus off of College Street; it is also accessible via Highway 19 in Northfield. This event is sponsored by the Department of Latin American Studies. A full schedule of the 2012 Foro Latinoamericano can be found at For further information and disability accommodations, contact Mary Tatge at or at (507) 222-4252.