Cover: Erased: The Untold Story of the Panama Canal, from Harvard University PressCover: Erased in HARDCOVER


The Untold Story of the Panama Canal

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Product Details


$35.00 • £25.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674984448

Publication Date: 02/25/2019

Academic Trade

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

16 photos, 2 maps


Stimulating… Erased is in effect a justification of Latin America in the face of northern cultural and economic domination.—Andreas Campomar, The Spectator

More than a history of how the U.S. reduced Panama’s most populous and developed stretch of territory to tropical wilderness. It is an account of the rhetorical erasure of Panamanian civilization and modernity and the long-lasting political consequences this erasure had for the region… Helps readers reimagine the role of Panama in its own history.Choice

Erased is the most splendid of ghost stories. Tracing the hidden history of the depopulated ‘lost towns’ of the Canal Zone, Marixa Lasso reveals a traumatic transformation of the landscape as important in its impact as the construction of the Panama Canal. The result is a powerful and dramatic tale of lost histories that illuminates our understanding of Panama and its relationship to the United States.—Julie Greene, University of Maryland

Erased shows how the construction of the Panama Canal hid forced depopulation behind the artificial transformation of the landscape, building segregated urban centers on the myth of a pristine tropical landscape. The book challenges narratives of industrialization and urban change that have for too long neglected the history and the places of the people who built the basic infrastructure of modernity.—Pablo Piccato, Columbia University

Commandeering rafts, steamboats, or railroads, countless isthmian black settlers for centuries had brought the Caribbean and the South Sea together. In the 1910s, the Canal Zone turned these modern black urbanites into unwelcome refugees. Their towns disappeared under water or tropical vegetation. The Canal also wiped out the memory of vibrant black republican institutions, the foundational vanguard of global political modernity. This book expertly dissects the myth of Western Civilization, namely, how a unified capitalist world became two imaginary ones: an entrepreneurial, law-abiding, technically advanced white Canal Zone, on the one hand, and a violent, pardo, primitive tropical banana republic, on the other. Eye-opening.—Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, University of Texas at Austin

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