Steven J. Hirsch

Professor of Practice, International and Area Studies
PhD, George Washington University
research interests:
  • Labor and Political History in Twentieth-Century Peru
  • Anarchism in Peru and the Andean Countries
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1088
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-899
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    Steven J. Hirsch is interested in labor and political history in twentieth-century Peru and in anarchism in Peru and the Andean countries.

    Recent Courses

    Andean History: Culture and Politics

    Since pre-Columbian times, the central Andean mountain system, combining highlands, coastal and jungle areas, has been the locus of multiethnic polities. Within this highly variegated geographical and cultural-historical space, emerged the Inca Empire, the Viceroyalty of Peru - Spain's core South American colony, and the central Andean republics of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Taking a chronological and thematic approach, this course will examine pre-Columbian Andean societies, Inca rule, Andean transformations under Spanish colonialism, post-independence nation-state formation, state-Indian relations, reform and revolutionary movements, and neoliberal policies and the rise of new social movements and ethnic politics. This course focuses primarily on the development of popular and elite political cultures, and the nature and complexity of local, regional, and national power relations.

      Anarchism: History, Theory, and Praxis

      This course analyzes the origins, historical trajectories, and influence of anarchism from its classical period (1860s - 1930s) until the present. It examines the major personalities, complex ideas, vexing controversies, and diverse movements associated with anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, individualist anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarchist feminism, green anarchism, lifestyle anarchism, and poststructuralist anarchism. In doing so, it explores traditional anarchist concerns with state power, authority, social inequality, capitalism, nationalism, imperialism, and militarism. It also analyzes anarchism's conception of individual and collective liberation, mutual aid, workers' organization, internationalism, direct democracy, education, women's emancipation, sexual freedom, and social ecology. Special attention will be given to past and contemporary globalizing processes and their relation to the dissemination and reception of anarchism in the global South.

        International Relations of Latin America

        This course examines Latin American foreign relations in the world from the 1820s to the present with a primary emphasis on the period since 1945. Focusing on inter-state and transnational relations, it seeks to historically contextualize and analyze long term patterns and trends between Latin American states and between Latin America and the United States, Europe, and the global South. Given Latin America's shared experience with imperialism and more recently with neo-imperialism, special attention will be paid to the ways Latin America has sought to manage and/or resist foreign domination, especially U.S. hegemonic pretensions. To this end it will analyze patterns of inter-American conflict and cooperation. When, why, and under what conditions Latin America articulated an independent foreign policy, forged anti-imperialist blocs, embraced U.S. sponsored diplomatic efforts and military alliances, and pursued Latin American unity and solidarity will be closely examined. To better understand the continuities, discontinuities, contradictions, and complexities of Latin American foreign policy, this course will also assess the influence of changing regional and national political cultures from both a theoretical and a historical perspective. In doing so, it explores how elite culture, the balance of domestic social forces, ideological and economic development, and shared cultural identities and meanings informed national political cultures and how these in turn shaped Latin American foreign policies.

          Labor and Labor Movements in Global History

          Moving away from a traditional national approach to labor history, this course explores the connections between work, types of workers, workers' movements, labor ideologies, and labor politics from a global historical perspective. It focuses on the period from the mid-19th century until the present. This temporal focus corresponds to the first (c.1860-1930) and second (c.1980-present) ages of globalization. Global phenomena such as expanding world trade, international labor markets, industrialization, urbanization, colonialism, imperialism, capital and labor mobility, and the spread of radical ideologies will be analyzed to assess their impact on the nature of work, labor relations systems, labor organization, and workers' collective action. This course will introduce students to key topics and themes in global labor history. These themes are varied and complex and range from working-class formation, immigration, state-labor relations, labor regimes, patterns of racialized and gendered work, competing labor ideologies, and transnational and transcontinental relations between workers in different regions of the world. The history of Latin American workers and labor movements will receive special attention.

            Selected Publications 

            Hirsch, Steven and Lucien van der Walt (eds.), Radical Encounters: Anarchists, Marxists, and Nationalists in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870s-1940s, (Routledge, forthcoming 2019). 

            “Anarquismo, subalternidad y repertorios de la resistencia en el norte de Perú, 1898-1932,” en Historias de Anarquistas: Ideas y Rutas, Letras y Escenas,” eds. Alejandro de la Torre y Miguel Orduña, México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, 2018.

            “Anarchism, the Subaltern, and Repertoires of Resistance in Northern Peru, 1898-1922,” in No Gods, No Masters, No Peripheries: Global Anarchisms, eds.Barry Maxwell and Raymond Craib, Oakland: PM Press, 2015.

            “Anarchist Visions of Race and Space in Northern Perú, 1898-1922,” in In Defiance of Boundaries: Anarchism in Latin American History, ed. Geoffroy de Laforcade and Kirwin Shaffer, Gainesville: University Press of Florida (2015).

            “Without Borders: Reflections on Anarchism in Latin America,” Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y El Caribe, 22;2 (Julio-Diciembre 2011), 6-10.

            Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940: The Praxis of National Liberation, Internationalism, and Social Revolution, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010 (co-edited with Lucien van der Walt).

            “Anarchism,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Latin American Studies, Geoffroy de Laforcade, co-author, Ed. EIC, New York: Oxford University Press, December 2015.

            “Anarchist Trails in the Andes: Transnational Influences and Counter-Hegemonic Practices in Peru’s Southern Highlands, 1900-1928”