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Professor defends academic value of Chavez’s controversial gift to Obama

April 27, 2009

Bruce Podobnik, associate professor of sociology, shared his thoughts with about the book Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez handed to President Obama at the Summit of the Americas earlier this month. Titled “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” the book was published by Eduardo Galeano in 1971 and remains controversial for its critical depiction of the United State’s role in the colonization of Latin America. Podobnik included the book in his course “Latin America in Cultural Perspective” last fall, but notes that the text presents a one-sided analysis, which he offset with Walter Rostow’s “The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto.” According to Podobnik, the importance of such a comparative analysis is that “the students get exposed to a polarized discussion that continues to go on today.” (New York, NY) Book Chavez Gave to Obama Is Used as Core Text on Many College Campuses


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