Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Dr. Dina Berger to present "Before the Good Neighbor: Women Pan Americanists of Yesterday and Today" on Nov. 19

Dr. Dina Berger to present "Before the Good Neighbor:  Women Pan Americanists of Yesterday and Today" on Nov. 19

2015 Gannon Faculty Fellow Presentation: "Before the Good Neighbor: Civic Activism and the Origins of Inter-American Unity, 1907-1959," by Dr. Dina Berger. 

When: Thursday, November 19, 2015, noon to 1:30 PM.

Where: Piper Hall, Lake Shore Campus, Room 201

Simple lunch provided. Please rsvp to Carol Coyne ccoyne@luc.edu by November 16.

For nearly a century, women members of the Pan American Round Tables (PART) from Texas and Latin American have been leaders in the quest to bring about peace and prosperity in the hemisphere through education and public service. The group’s mission was rooted in “practical Pan Americanism,” a concept coined by John Barrett, director of the Pan American Union from 1907-1919, which made the aspiration of inter-American unity relevant and tangible for Americans. While progressive-era men in government and industry negotiated the economic and political terms of the emerging Pan American family, ordinary citizens could achieve practical results by promoting goodwill toward Latin America and its people. For internationalist-minded Texas women this meant learning Spanish, giving scholarships to Latin American women at Texas universities, organizing Pan American libraries, and hosting visiting diplomats at monthly luncheons. Acts like these became the model for civic activism within a more urgent Pan American movement signaled by the Good Neighbor policy and WWII. Before the Good Neighbor uncovers the origins of Pan Americanism, all too often attributed to a few exceptional men like Elihu Root and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and locates its enactment in non-governmental institutions like the Pan American Union and in women’s and men’s civic clubs like PART. By reframing our understanding of the Good Neighbor, this project decenters traditional top-down studies of hemispheric relations to document the seminal role played by non-elite actors, especially women, in shaping the course of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy in Latin America based on values such as democracy (peace) and capitalism (prosperity) through a rhetoric of cooperation that ultimately solidified U.S. hegemony in the region.

This event is sponsored by the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.