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FZ-280211-21

David Phillip Cline
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA 92182-0001)
The Last Great Trip to Nowhere: A True Story of the Brazilian Jungle and the Final Gasps of the Victorian Age of Exploration

Research and writing of a book on the Matto Grosso anthropological expedition to Brazil (1930-1931).

"The Last Great Trip" engagingly tells the previously unknown story of the 1930-31 Matto Grosso Expedition up the Paraguay River in Brazil. Following in the footsteps of Roosevelt, Fawcett, and other "explorers" of the region, a group of wealthy businessmen, odd-ball expatriates (including a Cossack captain and a Latvian jaguar hunter), inexperienced filmmakers, and bumbling academics attempt to film a "first contact" movie with the Bororo. Virtually everything goes wrong -- from the research canoe capsizing with a year's worth of specimens, to Portuguese-speaking "natives," to jaguars refusing to be caught, to a shipload of jungle animals that no zoo in America could afford during the Depression. Yet despite characters straight of a jungle pulp novel, the group manages to create the first ever film using sound synced in the field, and the story is ultimately a profound meditation on developing -- and conflicting -- ideas about otherness, indigeneity, colonialism, and modernity.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History, General; Latin American Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2022 – 7/31/2023