The Idea of Latin America

The term Latin America supposes that there is an America that is Latin, which can be defined in opposition to one that is not. This geo-political manifesto revisits the idea of Latinity, charting the history of the concept from its emergence in Europe under France’s leadership, through its appropriation by the Creole élite of South America and the Spanish Caribbean in the second half of the nineteenth century, up to the present day.Reinstating the indigenous peoples, the enormous population of African descent and the 40 million Latino/as in the US that are rendered invisible by the image of a homogenous Latin America, the author asks what is at stake in the survival of an idea which subdivides the Americas. He explains why an American Union similar to the European Union is at this point unthinkable and he insists on the pressing need to leave behind an idea of Latinity which belongs to the Creole/Mestizo mentality of the nineteenth century.

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