Conference on Latin American History 1
The panel brings together Brazilian and U.S. researchers who examine U.S. cultural diplomacy towards Latin America from a historiographical perspective that focuses on transnational/global networks and processes of knowledge circulation. Presentations will take account of how changing technologies, ideas, identities and practices shaped the specifics of each case study. The papers stress the importance of cultural diplomacy as a key element for shaping political and ideological relations between countries and regions. This perspective can be contrasted with the more traditional view that takes cultural diplomacy as a secondary aspect of "real" diplomacy, understood as one involving strictly foreign relations. The periodization of these studies is important. The period around WWII and the immediate postwar period is a particularly fruitful area for study. Some historians have asserted that the U.S. diplomacy towards Latin America that started in the 1930s (under Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor" policy) was somehow a "laboratory" for ideas and policies that were later implemented within the Cold War context, even though through different mechanisms and with different logics.
The proposed panel intends also to foster discussions on the key role played by science and medicine in the dynamics of cultural diplomacy, and, more specifically, on the broad process defined as the "Americanization" of Brazilian society. It also aims to compare and contrast studies that focus on different agencies of U.S. cultural diplomacy, encompassing both philanthropic and governmental agencies, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, and the Division of Cultural Relations of the State Department.