Comparativ 32 (2022), Vol. 5

Comparativ 32 (2022), Vol. 5
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Spaces of Progress and Development: Planning in Rural and Urban Latin America (19th and 20th Century)

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Organization name
Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und Vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung
Comparativ Universität Leipzig Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics IPF 348001 Ritterstrasse 24 04109 Leipzig GERMANY e-mail:
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

Spaces of Progress and Development: Planning in Rural and Urban Latin America (19th and 20th Century)
Ed. by Teresa Huhle and Katharina Schembs

Table of contents

Editorial, pp. 535f.

Aufsätze | Articles

Katharina Schembs / Teresa Huhle
Spaces of Progress and Development in Latin America: An Introduction, pp. 537-546.

Antonio Carbone
Urban Green Space in Buenos Aires: At the Micro-historical Crossing of
Regional, National, and Global Aspirations (1870s–1880s), pp. 547-569.

The park of Palermo – officially named Parque 3 de Febrero – embodied the desires of the ruling elites more than any other place in Buenos Aires and promised to provide health and progress. Through a new concept of “civilized” nature, the park of Palermo was meant to reinforce Buenos Aires’ hegemony in the Argentine nation, while also fostering a connection to cities on the American and European continents, where similar parks were being inaugurated. Through the analysis of the discussion about the park the article reconstructs the park founders’ aspirations in positioning the city in the regional, national, and global context, on the one hand. On the other hand, it underlines the conflicts and shortcomings that were inherent to the project and its implementation.

Teresa Huhle
Modern Infrastructure as a Flagship of “Civilized” Nations: Envisioning
and Constructing New Healthy Spaces for Uruguayan Children
(1900s to 1930s), pp. 570-589.

A vast reform project put forth by the liberal batllistas, a name that goes back to two-time president José Batlle y Ordoñez (1903–1907, 1911–1915), brought the small republic of Uruguay the fame of being Latin America’s first welfare state. This image dates back to legislative projects such as the eight-hour working day (1915), but also to the construction of state infrastructure such as hospitals and open-air schools for children with a “predisposition” to tuberculosis. However, the image of a modern welfare state was also carefully orchestrated by the Uruguayan reformers who presented social policies as indicators of progress to international audiences. This paper looks at the intersection of the planning and construction of institutions for Uruguay’s citizens of tomorrow that followed the most “modern” scientific standards of hygiene, and the role that these spaces played in the reformers’ efforts to underline Uruguay’s rightful membership in the imagined community of “civilized” nations.

Frederik Schulze
Contested Peripheries: Nation Building, Regional Development, and
the Failure of the TVA Model in Latin America in the 1940s and 1950s, pp. 590-607.

Since the US New Deal, regional development has been seen globally as a promising way to modernize nation states. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and its river basin development generated a particularly strong interest among many governments of the Global South that aimed to develop their peripheries, which were often perceived as “backward”, to the benefit of the whole nation. In Latin America, this development model flourished in the 1940s and 1950s. While national centres sent their experts and engineers to peripheral regions, development hopes and plans to spatially reshaping the nation quickly encountered problems and resistance. Drawing on selected state river basin programmes in Peru, Mexico, and Brazil, this article explores the conflicts that erupted between politicians, engineers, and local populations. Furthermore, it shows that the TVA model served more as a symbol to legitimize political interests than as an accurate technical model to be implemented.

Georg Fischer
Showcasing a High-Modernist Landscape: Spatial Imaginaries and
Rural Development in Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1970s, pp. 608-625.

In 1974, the state government of Minas Gerais, Brazil, assisted by a number of public and private organizations, carried out a rural development intervention in the central-western Cerrado region. The Programa de Assentamento Dirigido do Alto Paranaíba (PADAP) consisted in resettling farmers of Japanese descent from southern to central Brazil, providing them with land, loans, infrastructure, and technical supervision in order to create a model region for the agrarian development of Brazil’s vast interior biome known as “Cerrado”. The aim of this article is to contextualize the PADAP and to explore the spatial imaginaries and implicit assumptions about Cerrado ecologies and landscapes which underpinned it. Moreover, it asks how the PADAP was embedded in processes of knowledge production that eventually facilitated the transfer of the project’s methods to larger geographical scales. The high-modernist landscape ideal was associated with capital-endowed colonists producing under the technical supervision of the state, whereas former Cerrado inhabitants were relegated to the status of “remnants” and had to reclaim agrarian citizenship by aligning their production techniques to the parameters of a new rural order.

Katharina Schembs
The Latinamericanization of Urban Planning: Public Housing and
Contacts with the Global South in Chile, Brazil, and Mexico (1960s–1980s), pp. 626-642.

While the first half of the twentieth century was characterized by the importation of urban planning models from Europe and the USA to Latin America, the 1960s represent a turning point: In the context of different development theories, local planners first started to emphasize structural similarities of Latin American cities that, according to their view, required more independent approaches to urbanism. Inspired by the Third-World-discourse and Dependency theory, urbanists towards the second half of the decade became increasingly interested in parallels with other countries of the Global South. They conceptualized cities as litmus tests of the developmental stage and as motors of economic progress. Focusing on the case studies of Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, the article analyses the initial planning euphoria in the early 1960s, especially in the field of public housing, the growing references to the “Third World” as well as the withdrawal of the state from urban planning in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rezensionen | Reviews

Mira L. Siegelberg: Statelessness. A Modern History, Cambridge/MA 2020
by Miriam Rürup, pp. 643-645.

Oliver Eberl: Naturzustand und Barbarei. Begründung und Kritik staatlicher
Ordnung im Zeichen des Kolonialismus, Hamburg 2021
by Stefan Kroll, pp. 646-648.

Jens Jäger: Das vernetzte Kaiserreich. Die Anfänge von Modernisierung und Globalisierung in Deutschland, Stuttgart 2020
by Eckart Conze, pp. 649-651.

Christoph Lorke: Liebe Verwalten. „Ausländerehen“ in Deutschland, 1870–1945, Paderborn 2020
by Laura Frey, pp. 652-654.

Silke Mende: Ordnung durch Sprache. Francophonie zwischen Nationalstaat, Imperium und internationaler Politik, 1860–1960, Berlin/Boston 2020
by Jürgen Erfurt, pp. 655-657.

Jochen Lingelbach: On the Edges of Whiteness. Polish Refugees in British
Colonial Africa During and After the Second World War, New York/Oxford 2020
by Markus Krzoska, pp. 658-660.

Karin Fischer /Christian Reiner / Cornelia Staritz (Hrsg.): Globale Warenketten und ungleiche Entwicklung. Arbeit, Kapital, Konsum, Natur, Wien 2021
by Christin Bernhold, pp. 661-663.

Adam Crymble: Technology and the Historian. Transformation in the
Digital Age, Champaign 2021
by Stefan Zahlmann, pp. 664-666.

Balász Trencsényi / Constantin Iordachi / Péter Apor (eds.): The Rise of
Comparative History, Budapest/New York 2021
by Corinne Geering 667-669.

Autorinnen und Autoren | Authors, pp. 670f.

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