Literatures of the Panama Canal: The Archival Beginnings of a Book




Reynolds, Andrew

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Literatures of the Panama Canal questions the transnational role of literature in our understanding of the history and events that transformed social relations between Central and South America and the U.S. The construction of the Panama Canal, completed in 1914, was an experiment in U.S. economic supremacy, engineering might, and imperial expansion. The fact that France begun work on the canal in the 1880’s, and the U.S. subsequently finished the canal, shifted global authority from Europe to the U.S. In order for the canal to be completed, the U.S. had to create the nation of Panama and exert domineering political and economic force on Colombia as well as the new Panamanian nation. The 1903 Hay-Bunau Varilla treaty gave the U.S. rights to control and defend canal territory, effectively creating a Central American U.S. colony. Since the turn of the 20th century, Latin American and U.S. literature has represented the Panama Canal and its complex historical, political, and social dynamics. This project sets out to explore the tensions of canal literature in a comparative study of both American and Latin American writers alike. This project will bring together authors like Nicaraguan Rubén Darío, Chilean Pablo Neruda and Panamanian Joaquín Beleño and American writers Eric Walrond and Louise Bogan, among others.


Archival research and collection. Close reading of Panama Canal fiction from the U.S. and Latin America


2022 Faculty Research Poster Session and Research Fair, West Texas A&M University, Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages, Poster, Panama Canal, 1903 Hay-Bunau Varilla treaty


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