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Brazil Initiative Lecture. How to Become Good Neighbors: Educational and Cultural Relations Between the University of Michigan and Brazil (1938-1945)

Simone Kropf, Professor of the History of Sciences and Health in Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro

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In December 1938, during the Eighth International Conference of American States held in Lima, the University of Michigan announced the Brazilian Fellowship Program, combining funds from the university and from the Brazilian government. This came at a critical moment for Inter-American relations and the Good Neighbor Policy as the United States intensified its efforts to secure the cooperation of Latin American countries, given the rising war clouds in Asia and Europe. It was also a moment of strong disputes among Brazilian politicians within between those who supported Germany and those who supported the US. The Brazilian Fellowship Program was launched in 1939, and the University of Michigan claimed to be the first American university to establish exchange fellowships for graduate studies with Latin American countries. This presentation will discuss the intricate process of building this particular program of cultural and educational exchanges. At a moment when the US cultural diplomacy towards the “other American republics” was taking its first steps, this initiative mobilized various institutions, interests, and dynamics in the US and in Brazil. In examining the local practices of this particular experience of inter-American cultural relations, I will reflect on the negotiations, obstacles, tensions, and contingencies that characterized the transnational circulation of people and ideas in a time when Latin America was a laboratory for US cultural diplomacy.

Simone P. Kropf holds a PhD in History from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Brazil, and is a professor at the Graduate Program of the History of Sciences and Health at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in Rio de Janeiro. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS). She has written about the history of biomedical sciences in Brazil in 20th century (particularly regarding tropical medicine and Chagas disease), the history of cardiology, and the history of scientific and cultural relations between the United States and Brazil.
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - Room 555

April 2018

4:00pm - 5:30pm

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