Race, development, and national identity in Panama
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After reversion of Canal ownership from the U.S. to Panama in 1999, the construction of Panamanian national identity became deeply tied to notions of development. This thesis explores how the discourse of development is created, circulated and negotiated through important Panamanian cultural institutions. It shows how race and raced bodies became the dominant site for the negotiation of Panamanian national identity in the post-Reversion era. This discourse of development promotes the “myth of mestizaje”—a myth that the nation is homogeneous and without racial difference. Through the example of Panama, we perceive the cracks in the global notion of development as “common sense” and uniformly experienced.