Europe and the United States in the Accounts of Latin American Travelers in the Nineteenth Century: Expectations and Frustrations

Saturday, January 4, 2014: 10:00 AM
Forum Room (Omni Shoreham)
Stella Maris Scatena Franco, Universidade Federal de São Paulo
During the nineteenth century, literate and privileged individuals from several Latin American countries traveled to Europe and to the United States for various reasons, including participation in government missions, and they also included those who had been exiled and those who travelled in order to study. In addition to the specific objectives of each traveler, to wander in Europe and North America meant, in more general terms, to be able to participate in intellectual debates, to learn about cultural and political issues, and to get to know customs in regions considered by them to be "civilized places". Studying the history of these people, visiting their monuments and places immortalized in literature were ways of approaching what they considered to be the most developed parts of the globe. However, in certain situations they saw their expectations frustrated, especially when faced with social and economic frameworks that were not foreshadowed in their idealizations, such as poverty or a lack of infrastructure. The reports of Latin American travelers are of interest in order to examine the contrast between expectations and frustrations resulting from the experiences of these writers during contact with the European and North American "other". The purpose of this presentation is to analyze the previously mentioned aspects through the study of reports of different authors who traveled to Europe and the United States in the nineteenth century. Among them are: the Argentineans, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Juan B. Alberdi; the Chileans, Izidoro Errázuriz and Benjamín Vicuña-Mackenna; as well as some women travelers such as the Cuban, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, the Brazilian, Nisia Floresta and the Argentinean, Eduarda Mansilla de Garcia.
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