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Colossus in Decline? U.S. Relations with Latin America

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Peter Smith

Peter Smith

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin American Studies, University of California, San Diego

Is the United States losing influence over Latin America? Widely known as the “Colossus of the North,” our country has long held a commanding position throughout the hemisphere — in economic, political, even cultural terms. Instruments of primacy have ranged from military intervention to political persuasion and, more positively, to the “soft power” associated with the popular appeal of American society (sports, film, music, etc.). Is this relationship now changing? Why and in what ways? Does it result from chronic U.S. inattention or from underlying structural factors? How might it affect the national interests of the United States — and of Latin American nations? What might the future hold?


Peter H. Smith is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He has earned degrees from Harvard (B.A.) and Columbia University (Ph.D.), and he has held faculty positions at Dartmouth College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent books include Democracy in Latin America, 2nd edition (2012), Talons of the Eagle, 4th edition (2013) and Modern Latin America, 8th edition (2014), all published by Oxford University Press. This past year Mr. Smith received an achievement award from the Latin American Studies Association for his “lifetime contribution to the study of Latin America and to the advancement of the profession.”

Assigned Reading

Smith, Peter, Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World, 4th edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), especially Parts III and IV.


A reception will be held at 5:00 pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4435

Colossus in Decline Poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public