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The rising interest in Latin America in China isn’t solely evidenced by a growing number of Latin American studies programs at Chinese Universities. The well-known Journal of Latin American Studies, published in Chinese on a bi-monthly basis with abstracts in English, has long offered wide-ranging research of remarkable depth to an interested audience. With growing interest at universities with the support of provincial governments, there has been a sharp rise in publications: there is an effort to translate Western single-author works on Latin America into Chinese, with a preference for authors from within the region, and to bring edited and co-authored volumes into print circulation. Three of these edited volumes serve to illustrate the success of this effort.
走出“后院”的拉丁美洲 [Latin America leaving the ‘Backyard’]. Edited by Wu Changsheng. Beijing: Shijie Zhishi Publishing, September 2016. This is a collection of essays by renowned Latin America scholars, including Xu Shicheng, and various former ambassadors to the region. The title alone is noteworthy, for it speaks not only of the overcoming of the Monroe Doctrine but specifically gives Latin America agency in that process, while also rebutting the idea of China being the actor “Going Out” and Latin America being “arrived at,” as some Western scholars have argued. The views of bilateral developments in terms of cultural and political rapprochement, regional integration, and trade expansion are overall very positive, but little space is given to critical reflection on the challenges ahead. The principal recurring theme is the decline of the United States as a protagonist in the region, though several contributions also welcome the unfreezing of US-Cuba relations, underscoring the desire of the Chinese to grow in cooperation rather than in competition with third powers. Discussions on indigenous and urban cultures, and contemporary art and music round out this volume to offer a vibrant portrait of a post-hegemonic reality.
中国与拉美：山海不为远 [La distancia que nos une: reflexiones y vivencias entre China y América Latina]. Edited by Guo Cunhai & Lee Yun-tso. Beijing: China Pictorial Press, November 2016. This book bears witness to the success of the CECLA community of young scholars (mostly under 35) of China and Latin America. The volume offers ten highly personal experiences of lives that have learned to bridge the Pacific. The perspectives move beyond a Euro- (or US-)centric framing of our globalized world, and although the majority of the authors have a background in international relations, they steer the narrative away from the discussion of national interests and trade issues towards individual observations and lived knowledge. A glowing review of the book (in Chinese and Spanish) is available here: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/cE6HK4WNlXd8bxPAEsUR2Q.
拉美左翼和社会主义理论思潮研究 [Research Trends on the Latin American Left and Socialist Theory]. Xu Shicheng (principal author and editor). Beijing: Social Sciences Press, May 2017. This volume offers a thorough study of the history of social movements and leftwing politics in Latin America from the 19th century to the present day. It addresses early developments and traces their European origins, speaks of the movements regionally, including their connections to Soviet and Chinese communism in the 1960s, and dedicates special chapters to the 1990 Sao Paolo Forum, to Brazil, Cuba, and the ALBA countries. The volume celebrates the rich diversity of socialism in the region and though the authors recognize that the Bolivarian movement has waned, they view the societies of Latin America as an important source of learning about the challenges and risks of socialist movements, and also as examples of the destructive impact of neoliberalism on social fabric and on development for the benefit of the majority.