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Big Water: The Making of the Borderlands Between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay

edited by Jacob Blanc and Frederico Freitas
foreword by Zephyr Frank

University of Arizona Press, 2018


Cloth: 978-0-8165-3714-3

eISBN: 978-0-8165-3829-4

OA eISBN: 978-0-8165-4173-7

About the Book
Big Water explores four centuries of the overlapping histories of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (the Triple Frontier), and the colonies that preceded them. Examining an important area that includes some of the first national parks established in Latin America and one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, this transnational approach illustrates how these three nation-states have interacted over time.
From the Jesuit reductions in the seventeenth century to the flows of capital and goods accelerated by contemporary trade agreements, the Triple Frontier region has proven fundamental to the development of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, as well as to the Southern Cone and South America itself. Although historians from each of these three countries have tended to construct narratives that stop at their respective borders, the contributors call for a reinterpretation that goes beyond the material and conceptual boundaries of the Triple Frontier. In offering a transnational approach, Big Water helps transcend nation-centered blind spots and approach new understandings of how space and society have developed throughout Latin America.
These essays complicate traditional frontier histories and balance the excessive weight previously given to empires, nations, and territorial expansion. Overcoming stagnant comparisons between national cases, the research explores regional identity beyond border and geopolitical divides. Thus, Big Water focuses on the uniquely overlapping character of the Triple Frontier and emphasizes a perspective usually left at the periphery of national histories.

Shawn Michael Austin
Jacob Blanc
Bridget María Chesterton
Christine Folch
Zephyr Frank
Frederico Freitas
Michael Kenneth Huner
Evaldo Mendes da Silva
Eunice Sueli Nodari
Graciela Silvestri
Guillermo Wilde
Daryle Williams
About the Author
Jacob Blanc is a lecturer in Latin American history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. His work has appeared in the Journal of Latin American Studies, the Journal of Peasant Studies, and the Luso-Brazilian Review. Frederico Freitas is an assistant professor of Latin American and digital history at North Carolina State University and an investigator at the Visual Narrative Initiative. His work has appeared in HIb: Revista de Historia Iberoamericana.
“Contains rigorous but easy-to-read scholarship that makes for an excellent introductory text about the Triple Frontier region.” – Julia Sarreal, American Historical Review

“Excellent, and timely, edited collection.”—H-Net Reviews

“Collectively, the essays that make up Big Water show that the insights of borderlands history stand to apply transcontinentally and toward understandings of global interconnectedness.”—Choice

"(This book) highlights the region’s unique characteristics and leaves the reader wanting to learn more about this overlooked but important borderlands. Hopefully it spurs further studies that move away from the urban metropolises of the Southern Cone and transcend national boundaries."—Longue Duree, Hispanic American Historical Quarterly

“A seminal, multidisciplinary study of the less understood but ever-so-important corner of South America known as the Triple Frontier. Big Water analyzes the many dimensions of the region’s past through sound borderlands, environmental, economic, and social history lenses.”—Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma

Making, South America, Historiography, Latin America, Social Science, History
Open Access Information

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0