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Kirwin Shaffer

Kirwin Shaffer

NIAS Fellow

Project title

The World through Anarchist Eyes: Latin American Anarchism and Global History

Research question

How did global, national, & local forces interact to shape Latin American anarchists’ portrayals of global events to create an anarchist “world view” for local, regional, & hemispheric consumption?

Project description

Kirwin Shaffer is researching the global history of the twentieth century, written through the eyes of anarchists in Latin America. It explores how they described and analyzed global events from the lenses of the Global South and from the bottom-up.

The research is very timely as we see new directions in Global History that challenge traditional top-down, Eurocentric and US perspectives on global history topics. As such, the project is less interested in how anarchists examined events and issues where they lived and operated and more interested in how they described the world as they looked out upon it.

Shaffer’s project illustrates how anarchists across Latin America understood and portrayed key events (the Russian and Mexican Revolutions, feminist and suffrage movements, global labor strife, European/North American/Japanese imperialism and neocolonialism, the Great War, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the rise of fascism, anti-fascism, and the Spanish Civil War) from anti-state, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, and anti-religion perspectives that were shaped both by local and national forces where they lived and operated as well as transnational and global forces via interactions with anarchists across the Americas.

Selected publications

  • A Transnational History of the Modern Caribbean: Popular Resistance across Borders. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer, 2022.
  • Anarchists of the Caribbean: Countercultural Politics and Transnational Networks in the Age of US Expansion. Cambridge University Press, 2020/2022.
  • Anarchist Cuba: Countercultural Politics in the Early Twentieth Century. PM Press, 2019.