Adriana Petra, LICH-CEL/UNSAM-Conicet, “Latin America and the Communist World in the 1950s: Ideas, Networks and Cultural Geographies”

The purpose of this chapter is to survey the ideas and conceptualizations of Latin America that ran through the region’s communist milieux during the first half of the twentieth century, and in particular those taken up by intellectuals. From the anti-imperialist leagues formed in the early 1920s, through the long panamericanist moment during the anti-fascist period, up to the renewal of anti-imperialism in the first years of the Cold War, intellectuals who supported communism took up and developed a range of ideas about Latin America, ideas that were notably always adopted in relation to a broader geography, which mapped onto the contours – shifting, imprecise and multidimensional – of the communist world. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the symbolic map within which many communist intellectuals located and thought the Latin American experience was permeated by an association, evident in the limits of this periodization, with Asia. I will therefore focus on the first years of the 1950s, where I see the formation of a Latin Americanist imaginary among certain communist intellectuals in the region (María Rosa Oliver, Jorge Zalamea, Diego Montaña Cuellar, Jorge Amado, among others) which combined an “Americanist” tradition, rooted in a liberal progressive heritage.