William G. Acree, "Staging Frontiers: The Making of Modern Popular Culture in Argentina and Uruguay" (U New Mexico Press, 2019)

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Swashbuckling tales of valiant gauchos roaming Argentina and Uruguay were nineteenth-century Latin American best sellers. But when these stories jumped from the page to the circus stage and beyond, their cultural, economic, and political influence revolutionized popular culture and daily life.

In Staging Frontiers: The Making of Modern Popular Culture in Argentina and Uruguay (University of New Mexico Press), William Acree guides readers through the deep history of popular entertainment before turning to circus culture and rural dramas that celebrated the countryside on stage. More than just riveting social experiences, these dramas were among the region’s most dominant attractions on the eve of the twentieth century. Staging Frontiers further explores the profound impacts this phenomenon had on the ways people interacted and on the broader culture that influenced the region. This new, modern popular culture revolved around entertainment and related products, yet it was also central to making sense of social class, ethnic identity, and race as demographic and economic transformations were reshaping everyday experiences in this rapidly urbanizing region.

Staging Frontiers is the winner of the 2020 Best Book in the Nineteenth Century Award from the LASA Nineteenth Century Section. The book has just been published in Spanish as well (Prometeo Editorial, 2021).

Candela Marini is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Spanish at MSOE University.

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