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Grant number: FT-62004-14

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Eve E. Buckley
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)

Transforming Brazil's Desert: Drought, Poverty and Technocratic Tensions in Modern Latin America

"Transforming Brazil's Desert" examines a cohort of Latin American intellectuals and bureaucrats who hoped to mitigate poverty without provoking social rupture. It focuses on engineers and others who staffed Brazil's drought works agency from 1909-1975. These scientifically trained men worked on the front lines of poverty alleviation, building dams and other infrastructure in a region plagued by recurring drought and consequent famine. As proponents of rationally guided transformation, they were critical of landowning elites but often frustrated by landless farmers' disinterest in adopting technologies and work regimes that could increase their productivity. By examining the archival records of Brazil's drought works agencies, Transforming Brazil's Desert illuminates why various branches of applied science came to be viewed as essential for regional transformation at different times, and why technocratic development efforts of this kind often failed to achieve their ambitious goals.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science; Latin American History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 7/31/2014