the U.S. to be the disseminator of all things developmental; imperialist
theories presume that the U.S. "center" imposes on the Latin
American "periphery" its "distinct" political, military,
and economic institutions; and dependency and world-systems theories
assume that the structure of the U.S. center keeps the periphery dependent
on it, thereby inhibiting it from ever becoming fully developed.1
In short, all the theories maintain the concept of a one-sided U.S.
penetration of Latin America.
While not abandoning these political-economic models,2
Joseph suggests scrutinizing the cultures of the foreign-local contact
zones for better insight into the distribution of power. "Popular
and elite (or local and foreign) cultures are produced in relation to
each other through a dialectic of engagement that takes place in contexts
of unequal power and entails reciprocal borrowings, expropriations,
and transformations," Joseph explains.3
In other words, power may be in the eye of the culture. The new theoretical
paradigm looks at the dynamic interaction and intersection of culture
and power. When historicizing this theory, it becomes clear that the
previous theories that usually dichotomize relations into exploiters
and victims or dominators and resisters begin to break down.
Several of the articles in the book speak directly to this analytical
paradigm, but I will discuss "Love in the Tropics: Marriage, Divorce,
and the Construction of Benevolent Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 1898-1910"
by Eileen Findlay. When the U.S. got involved with Puerto Rico in 1898,
officials wanted to remodel Puerto Rican society into a system that
resembled the United States, as U.S. officials considered the U.S. socioeconomic
and political system respectable and stable. Through legalizing divorce