Crystal Eastman, "New Analytical Tools:
Raising Questions about Old Ideas"

3

marriage, officials thought they could mold Puerto Ricans' way of life into one that more closely resembled that of the U.S. Far from encouraging more women to marry, the ability to divorce inspired a social response of many women flocking to the courts and demanding divorces from deadbeat husbands. This is what Steve Stern would call "reverse colonization;" a phenomena whereby the colonized use the colonizers' institutions in ways that suit the needs of the colonized and not the colonizers.4 Indeed, women's use of the divorce laws was twofold: it not only unleashed a silent backlash against the U.S. goals, but also against the Puerto Rican men-women used the courts to voice desires of better gender-relations. Looking closely at how the U.S. impositions on Latin American society really played out in this contact zone reveals in this case that women did not fall prey to the U.S. imperial designs, but rather utilized its institutions to their own advantage. This metanarrative is the kind of complex power struggle that needs to be looked at in U.S.-Latin American relations in order to supplement and further our understanding-theories that assume the U.S. to be the sole arbiter of power preclude this narrative, which is why Joseph's theory is useful to the study of Latin American history.

Deconstructing the U.S. interest in Latin America

In his article "The Enterprise of Knowledge: Representational Machines of Informal Empire," Ricardo Salvatore offers another theoretical approach to the question of how historians may analyze the United States presence in Latin America. Salvatore suggests that U.S. interests in Latin America were shaped by what he calls the "enterprise


4. Stern, 53.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6