Colloquium on Latin American Debt Crisis of 1982

St. Hilda’s College/Latin American Centre/Global History of Capitalism Project
University of Oxford
26-27 April 2019

In the last ten years there has been an increasing amount of historical work published on the international finances of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as on the growth of the Eurodollar market, frequently making use of recently available banking archives in Britain, continental Europe, the United States, and Latin America itself.  The result is, with hindsight, that many of our assumptions about the reasons for the crisis of 1982, the behaviour of lenders, Latin American business and governments, and the long-term outcomes, are now being revised by a ‘new’ generation of historians with access to the archives. One example of this is the attention now being paid to the internationalisation of Latin American banks, their role in contributing to the environment that led to the crisis, and the impact upon them. While the coverage of individual Latin American countries is somewhat uneven, there have been important recent case studies on Argentina, Chile and Mexico. There has also been broader work published on sovereign debt defaults, the growth of the Eurodollar market, the lending strategies of European banks, the behaviour of Latin American governments and their relations with the banking community, the international financial institutions, and the role of management consultants in the reorganisation and internationalisation of banking institutions.

The purpose of this colloquium is to bring together three groups of people to interchange ideas about the financial and business history of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s in retrospect, taking advantage of the fact that some of the ‘new’ generation of historians, as well as several academics who wrote on the debt crisis and advised on policy in the 1980s, are currently in Oxford.

Subjects that might form a basis for discussion include:

a. The behaviour of banks, financial institutions and governments prior to 1982.

b. The immediate impact of the crisis and the response of governments in Latin America.

c. How non-financial business sectors in Latin America coped with the uncertainties caused by changing government policies, inflation, and recession during the 1970s and 1980s.

d. The impact on European and North American banks, and their attempts to negotiate with Latin American governments.

e. The role played by international financial institutions, central banks, and developed-world governments.

f. The long-term outcomes of the crisis.

We particularly welcome proposals from doctoral students and early career researchers as well as more established colleagues. Applications should comprise a 1 page abstract/summary (no more than 400 words) and one page short CV. We have some limited funds to support travel costs and accommodation of speakers.

Further information and proposal submissions please send to:

Deadline for proposals: 10th March 2019

Rory Miller – University of Liverpool
Martin Monsalve Zanatti – Universidad del Pacífico, Lima
Sebastian Alvarez – St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University
C. Edoardo Altamura – Graduate Institute, Geneva and Lund University