Introduction to Latin American History Research Association of China
Latin American History Research Association of China is a mass academic society charged by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and attached to Institute of World History, CASS. It was established in 1979. The commanding institution of the society is the council elected by the representative meeting of its members and is made up of the director, associate director, secretory general, associate general and several trustees.
Due to historical reasons, the research of Latin American history began quite late in China. It was not until early 1960s when a few universities and academic institutes started the works of education and research in this discipline, yet the following Cultural Revolution long kept these works scattered and paused. A new era for academic research came after the Cultural Revolution. Traditional centers of the study of Latin American history, such as Peking University, Institute of World History, CASS, Institute of Latin America, CASS, Fudan University, Hebei University, Hubei University (formerly Wuhan Normal College), all considered that it is necessary to unify the limited, scattered and relatively weak research resources in China, make adaption and organization to them, so as to share information and improve the quality of academic research. In that context, The organization of Latin American History Research Association of China, a mass academic society to coordinate and lead research of Latin American history all over China since the end of 1978.
In December 1979, by the provocation of Peking University, Institute of World History, CASS, Institute of Latin America, CASS, Fudan University, Hebei University, Hubei University, Latin American History Research Association of China was established on a conference of world history studies in China at Hongshan Hotel, Wuhan; the first representative meeting and the first academic conference was also held (the members at that time was over 100).
The first representative meeting produced the regulation of the academy, and made decisions on the main tasks and commanding office. The meeting elected revered Professor Chunhui Li of Renmin University of China as the first president of the society. The secretariat located in Hubei University. The society aims to unite researchers and teachers on Latin American history all over China to study Latin American history, promote academic discussion in the discipline, enhance the sharing of information, develop the friendship between Chinese people and people of Latin America, make contribution to the modernization and the construction of spiritual civilization of China.
Ever since its establishment, the society has organized Latin American historians all over China to develop systematic and solid academic research as well as academic communication. The society links theory with practice, unite researchers and teachers on Latin American history all over China and promoted the development of the study of Latin American history through academic discussion, sharing of information, monographs and international academic activities. Up to now, the academy has held 11 annual academic conferences, and discussed issues of key importance in Latin American history such as social nature and national liberty movements, the independent movement of Latin America, the evaluation of Bolivar, the origin of the nations in Latin America, the economy and capitalism of Latin America. Publications edited by the society include Papers on Latin American History, Correspondence on Latin American History (journal of the society, which has been released 34 issues), Catalogue of Monographs and Papers on Latin American History in Chinese Libraries (1983, which records materials on Latin American history in main Chinese libraries in both Chinese and foreign languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Japanese, German and Italian), etc.
The activity of Latin American History Research Association of China has received keen international attention. The international academic communication of the society is very frequent. Dozens of scholars from the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina have paid visit to the society and workplaces of its members to give lectures, receive interview or take part in academic discussions. Many members of the society have been to the USA, Britain, Mexico, Spain, Portuguesa, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba and Chile for academic visit, lectures or international academic conferences. In 1992, the International Symposium on the Discovery of America by Columbus held by the society in cooperation of other institutes produced great influence at home and abroad.
In sum, the study of Latin American history is new in China. It started in the early 1960s, and recovered and made initial development from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Since the late 1990s, it has made rapid development in many aspects; but the academic standard of it is still insufficient in both depth and span. The society hopes to establish further contacts with scholars in this discipline at home and abroad, unite together and make efforts to promote the study of Latin American history in China and the friendship between Chinese people and people of Latin America.