This dissertation investigates the political and literary phenomenon of Pan Americanism in the early twentieth century. While this period in the history of the Americas is now defined by U.S. military and economic imperialism in the Hemisphere, it was also a time when visions of Hemispheric unity flourished. The Washington-based Pan American Union (now the Organization of American States) facilitated cultural exchanges through international conferences and publications, all with the stated intent of fostering transnational cooperation. However, I argue that this supposed exchange inscribed Latin America as an object of academic study. The resulting Pan American archive, as I term it, provided U.S. readers with knowledge about all things Latin American, from the archeological work done at Machu Picchu, to the history of corn production in Mexico, to the latest eugenics research in Cuba. By exploring how this knowledge was created, my dissertation aims to understand how writers employed and resisted the power inherent in this body of knowledge. William Carlos Williams, Alejo Carpentier, Carleton Beals, Walker Evans, and Ana Castillo, to varying degrees, internalized and resisted the archive’s representation of Latin America as an object of study. In each of the works I examine, the archive has been raided and its store of knowledge redeployed in ways that call into question the nature of Hemispheric relations. I consider the extent to which poems, novels, and documentary writing reinforced the stated Pan American agenda of the period and the extent to which they critiqued, satirized, or exposed its latent imperialist practices. Given that scholars in American Studies are thinking increasingly about the transnational and Hemispheric connections between cultures of the Americas, it is worth exploring how writers and academics of this period themselves imagined an interconnected Pan American community.; As the first project to recover the Pan American archive and place it in conversation with the literary production of the period, this dissertation demonstrates the way in which writers and academics fashioned an idea of Latin America in the early twentieth century.; I begin by examining the growth of archaeology during this period, exploring the way in which the popular obsession with Mesoamerican cultures was adapted by the U.S. avant-garde as a way of distancing themselves from European traditions and linking themselves with thoroughly “American” art forms. Within this context, I consider William Carlos Williams’s prose work of the 1920s, especially “The Destruction of Tenochtitlan.” While Williams often criticized other U.S. artists for their appropriations of indigenous American culture, his own efforts belie the condescension inherent in archaeologizing Latin American as well as the contradictions of Pan Americanism.; The next section of the dissertation explores the discipline of eugenics and the ways in which scientists attempted to extend U.S. constructions of race throughout the Hemisphere. In order to understand the contested values of this discipline, I consider the first Pan American Conference on Eugenics held in Havana in 1927 and the way in which Alejo Carpentier’s novel ¡Écue-Yamba-Ó! (1927-33) responded to the ideas behind the conference. I argue that Carpentier engaged the discourse of the eugenics movement and reframed that discourse by presenting Afro-Cuban culture as an alternative vision of transnational community counter to the one being articulated by the Pan American Union. I further explore the precarious U.S.-Cuba relationship in my next chapter as I consider the way in which documentary writing was used to represent both Cuba and the U.S. South and sites of economic underdevelopment. Focusing on Carleton Beals and Walker Evans’s collaboration of text and photography, The Crime of Cuba (1933), I reorient conventional understandings of 1930s documentary from its focus on the U.S. South and argue that the origins of the form can be traced to a much broader interest in representing underdevelopment throughout the Americas.; Finally, I reappraise the idea of Pan Americanism from the end of the twentieth century in order to understand why the term has been abandoned as a way to think about transnational relations in the Americas. I do this by reading Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters (1986) as a response to the history of writing about Latin America. I argue that the open structure of her novel resists the way that knowledge about Latin America has been organized and offers a Chicana feminist revision of the transnational. As my dissertation looks back, much in the way Castillo does, at the Pan American Era, I use this group of texts as an occasion to reconsider the Hemispheric turn in American Studies and appraise the politics of Latin American Studies within the U.S. academy.; Rather than celebrating or vilifying Pan Americanism, this dissertation explores the way in which Pan Americanism employed academic study and textual representation as a means of controlling the Hemisphere. More than battlefields or diplomatic conferences, it was the archive which the U.S. amassed during this period that shaped its relationship with Latin America.