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The Art of Solidarity

The Art of Solidarity
Visual and Performative Politics in Cold War Latin America

Examining artistic production in solidarity movements throughout the Cold War era, this multidisciplinary anthology reveals the tremendous role that art and performance have played in the quest for social justice in the Americas.

October 2018
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320 pages | 6 x 9 | 28 b&w photos | Hardcover has a printed case, no dust jacket |

The Cold War claimed many lives and inflicted tremendous psychological pain throughout the Americas. The extreme polarization that resulted from pitting capitalism against communism held most of the creative and productive energy of the twentieth century captive. Many artists responded to Cold War struggles by engaging in activist art practice, using creative expression to mobilize social change. The Art of Solidarity examines how these creative practices in the arts and culture contributed to transnational solidarity campaigns that connected people across the Americas from the early twentieth century through the Cold War and its immediate aftermath.

This collection of original essays is divided into four chronological sections: cultural and artistic production in the pre–Cold War era that set the stage for transnational solidarity organizing; early artistic responses to the rise of Cold War polarization and state repression; the centrality of cultural and artistic production in social movements of solidarity; and solidarity activism beyond movements. Essay topics range widely across regions and social groups, from the work of lesbian activists in Mexico City in the late 1970s and 1980s, to the exchanges and transmissions of folk-music practices from Cuba to the United States, to the uses of Chilean arpilleras to oppose and protest the military dictatorship. While previous studies have focused on politically engaged artists or examined how artist communities have created solidarity movements, this book is one of the first to merge both perspectives.

  • Introduction: Transnational Pathways of Empathy in the Americas (Jessica Stites Mor and Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas)
  • Part I. Preparing the Ground, Holding Ground, 1944–2015
    • Chapter 1. “My Art Speaks for Both My Peoples”: Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico (Melanie Anne Herzog)
    • Chapter 2. Traditions of Resistance, Expressions of Solidarity, and the Honduran Coup (Katherine Borland)
  • Part II. Resistance and Liberation, 1960–1974
    • Chapter 3. Ignácio de Loyola Brandão’s Zero and the Aesthetics of Resistance in 1960s Brazil (Javier González)
    • Chapter 4. Canto Libre: Folk Music and Solidarity in the Americas, 1967–1974 (Ashley Black)
  • Part III. Cultural Economies of Solidarity, 1970–1987
    • Chapter 5. “¡Estamos Hartas!”: Feminist Performances, Photography, and the Meanings of Political Solidarity in 1970s Mexico (Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda)
    • Chapter 6. “Amor Solidario”: Revolutionary Lesbianism in Mexico City, 1977–1987 (Lucinda Grinnell)
  • Part IV. Solidarity Action beyond Movements
    • Chapter 7. Solidarity in Spectatorship (Kevin Coleman)
    • Chapter 8. What Is Solidarity Art? (Jacqueline Adams)
  • Epilogue (Ernesto Capello)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Index

Kelowna, British Columbia

Stites Mor is an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


Suescun Pozas is an associate professor of history at Brock University. She is a former president of the Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, founding director of Seedling for Change in Society and Environment, and cofounder of the Seedling for Change Press.


“The collection makes inroads into documenting multidisciplinary artists whose works have motivated movements, connected people and ideas, and enacted localized and broad-based change.”
H-Net Reviews

“The most dynamic and methodologically creative book I have read in any language on the cultural Cold War in the Americas…a book that will set new standards on how we understand Cold War Latin America.”
Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies

“[The Art of Solidarity] provides thought-provoking case studies of the role of art in solidarity movements.”
The Americas

“[The Art of Solidarity] offers a new angle to solitary studies by emphasizing visual culture and performance art…The collection as a whole will be of special interest to scholars engaged with Latin America, solidarity, the Cold War era, art and performance studies, labor, gender and sexuality, transnational history, activism, and human rights.”
Hispanic American Historical Review

“Taken as a whole, The Art of Solidarity is reaching in the right direction, toward a consideration of empathy and also affects...Scholars interested [in] arts activism, social movements, human rights, and transitional justice should consider this anthology for their research and teaching.”

“This book makes a unique and useful contribution to scholarship on social movements, solidarity, and art activism. The focus on the way that arts can contribute to creating solidarity, and the time frame covered, gives the collection a distinctive perspective.”
Edward J. McCaughan, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University, author of Art and Social Movements: Cultural Politics in Mexico and Aztlán

“This edited volume will make a significant addition to a number of disciplines and literatures. Historians—of Latin America, art, literary and photography studies, sociology, Latin American studies, performance studies—will have a stake in this volume, in terms of theorizing in relation to the category of solidarity and demonstrating how solidarity is a social relationship, historically situated, that is significant to unpack in order to consider it as a transnational and deeply local engagement with social change.”
Alan Eladio Gómez, Arizona State University, author of The Revolutionary Imaginations of Greater Mexico: Chicana/o Radicalism, Solidarity Politics, and Latin American Social Movements


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3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca