Project Profile:

Visualizing the Americas


Description: Visualizing the Americas examines the history of capitalism through the production and consumption of a single commodity, the banana. In contrast to the official archives of the U.S.-based fruit companies (now known as Chiquita and Dole) that observed the Americas from their headquarters in Boston and New Orleans, Visualizing the Americas recovers local ways of seeing and self-sculpting, providing historical resources for current and future political struggles in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project brings together a photographic and documentary counterarchive of materials relating to poor and marginalized Central American banana workers—mestizo, black West Indian, and Amerindian—as well as the white managers from the United States who oversaw the cultivation and export of the fruit. Visualizing the Americas preserves records that are integral to the histories of the communities in which the multinational banana companies operated, and makes these materials readily accessible to anyone in the world.


  • Kevin Coleman, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Pedro Castillo, The Rafael Platero Paz Archive, El Progreso, Honduras
  • José Castillo, The Rafael Platero Paz Archive, El Progreso, Honduras
  • Oswaldo Castillo, The Rafael Platero Paz Archive, El Progreso, Honduras
  • Philippe Bourgois, Professor of Anthropology and Director of Center for Social Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Shelley Hawrychuk, Chief Librarian, University of Toronto Mississauga Library
  • Chris Young, Coordinator, Digital Scholarship Archives & Special Collections, University of Toronto Mississauga Library
  • Martin Drewe, Head of Platform Services, Adam Matthew Digital
  • Patricia LaCivita, Collection Development Coordinator, University of Toronto Scarborough Library
  • Nelly Cancilla, Digital Scholarship & Liaison Librarian, University of Toronto Mississauga Library
  • Mary Beth Atkinson, Digital Scholarship Technician, University of Toronto Mississauga Library
  • Mike Serafin, Library Technologies, University of Toronto Mississauga Library
  • John Soluri, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History, Salem State University
  • Glenn Chambers, Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University
  • Clay Rodery, Illustrator
  • Jane Lyle, Editor

Funders: SSHRC

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