544 results found
From 1920 to 1990, around 500,000 US incarcerees received free plastic surgery during their incarceration. The majority of the surgeries — which included facelifts, rhinoplasty, chin implants, blepharoplasties, breast implants, etc. — were performed for purely cosmetic reasons, under the broad banner of prisoner rehabilitation. The underlying notion was to assist marginalized individuals in assimilating into society by capitalizing on prevailing beauty biases. New York was an early prison plastic surgery pioneer, alongside other rehabilitative offerings, but these programs were not without controversy. Concerned, in 1968, Governor Nelson Rockefeller charged the Department of Crime Control Planning to investigate the long-term outcomes of various recidivism programs, a project that spanned five years and covered 231 methodologies. This research report outlines the early emphasis on prisoner beautification, and the broader shift in carceral policies from rehabilitative to punitive, based on a review of records in the Rockefeller Archive Center pertaining to correctional reform, access to healthcare, and civil rights issues. This report summarizes my preliminary findings from the archives, and adds additional context to my book, Killer Looks: The Forgotten History of Plastic Surgery In Prisons, (Prometheus Books, 2021), which explored the history of criminal reform through the lens of beauty and bias. Using records, the majority unearthed from the Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Gubernatorial Records, along with records from the Bureau of Social Hygiene, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund archives, I discuss rehabilitative ideals and lookism, intermingled with political wrangling and efficacy in twentieth-century New York. My work deals with correctional healthcare and surgery, but more broadly, it is about the shift from a rehabilitative to a punitive approach to crime. As contemporary discourse returns to the importance of rehabilitation, the insights presented in this research will foster current conversations and enable us to learn from the past.
Intervention Programs of Public Health: Rockefeller Fellowship, Dr. Adetokunbo Lucas, and the Development of Public Health in Nigeria, 1963-1986November 20, 2023
This paper looks at conversations around global exchanges through fellowship programs for public health development by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), focusing particularly on Dr. Adetokunbo Lucas. Studies about the history of transnational scholarships designed by RF have often centred on Western/Asian recipients with little or no significant discourses on fellows of African descent. By focusing on Dr. Lucas and the University of Ibadan, this paper examines how campus-based politics, fuelled and shaped by larger Cold War politics, interfered with the implementation process of the global public health agenda of the RF in Nigeria.
Making Experts, Sustaining Families: The Rockefeller Foundation’s Mexican Fellowships as a Social Program for the Middle ClassNovember 2, 2023
Drawing from a sample of forty fellows sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation's Mexican Agricultural Program, with case studies coming from dossiers on ninety-one individuals in several different fellowship programs, this report looks at the families left behind and brought along by the Mexican experts whose training was financed by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF). Alongside uncovering geopolitical subtexts and intellectual legacies left by US philanthropic foundations, historians can also scrutinize what is arguably the most tangible impact made by the RF in countries like Mexico: namely, the consequences of its educational investment in young people's material and social worlds. This report contends that the RF's philanthropic efforts to form highly-skilled human capital for the Global South also functioned as a kind of family welfare program for up-and-coming Mexican experts. RF officers closely scrutinized not just their fellows but their wives and children, and the RF expended considerable resources on both financing whole families and in monitoring their collective well-being. However, there are also important differences in terms of the support available for men and women due to RF officers' beliefs about the impossibility of married women being professional experts.
Beginning in 1914, the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Commission (which became the International Health Board in 1916 and the International Health Division in 1927) committed itself to the project of eradicating yellow fever. Its efforts were modeled on the sanitary techniques deployed by US sanitarians in Havana in 1901 and, more importantly, during the construction of the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914, with mosquito control preeminent among them. William C. Gorgas, who led these campaigns and then came to work for the Rockefeller Foundation, argued for a key center approach to yellow fever eradication that targeted the remaining urban endemic foci of infection, with the assumption that once these seed beds of the disease were eliminated, yellow fever would fade from the planet. But as the IHB conducted campaigns in South America, Central America, and West Africa during the late 1910s and 1920s, they discovered that yellow fever's ecology and epidemiology were more complicated than they had assumed, and that a "key center" approach would not work to eradicate the disease. By the 1930s, and particularly with Fred Soper's discovery of sylvan or jungle yellow fever, the Rockefeller Foundation gave up on their eradicationist dream.
This research paper is composed of four parts. The first one presents Nelson Rockefeller's mission to Latin America in 1969 and details his official report to President Richard Nixon. In the second part, I highlight the main aspects of the new foreign policy designed by the Nixon administration toward Latin America. The third part points out several primary sources related to the mission that could help academics improve their current understanding of the Latin American Cold War. Lastly, the final section of this paper evaluates the results of this new policy.
A Missed Rebirth: The Rockefeller Foundation's Involvement in the Economic and Social Development of Sardinia after the Second World WarOctober 2, 2023
The stipend from the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) under the Research Stipend Program has provided me with an opportunity to clarify one of the most forgotten pages of the late phase of the "Sardinian Project" i.e., the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) in the studies for the economic and social rehabilitation and development of the Italian Island of Sardinia in the early 1950s. The issue has been particularly debated in the contemporary history of Sardinia, as well as in the political debate at that time because, despite the initial great interest, the involvement of the American institution (and other international players) did not take place. On the contrary, the economic "re-birth" of Sardinia was possible mainly through the so-called "Rebirth Plan," approved by the local and national governments in June 1962, twelve years after the "missed rebirth."Over the past seventy years, two main positions have emerged in this regard. One agrees that the RF was never involved "for a lira or a dollar" in the planning of Sardinia's socio-economic development. The second one states that the American foundation was, to some extent, directly involved, at least in the preliminary phase. However, to date, both theories have failed to look directly and deeply into the historical record for a more precise and objective reconstruction. This report summarizes the first results of my research conducted at the RAC in September 2022, which aims to gain a better knowledge of this page of local history, that possesses underrated - and largely unknown - national and international implications.
A Thought Collective without Collective Style? The Western European Activities of the SSRC's Committee on Transnational Social Psychology 1963–1971September 19, 2023
This paper investigates parts of the trajectory of the Committee on Transnational Social Psychology, which was established in 1963 by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) with the aim of internationalizing US experimental social psychology. It challenges previous depictions of the Committee as a Fleckian thought collective, by incorporating sociologist Ludvik Fleck's additional concept of style of thought. Specifically, this report traces the ways in which the Committee's activities in Western Europe disrupted the intellectual integrity it started out with, suggesting that processes of Europeanization, as well as a previously unacknowledged structural influence of the SSRC, prevented the Committee from taking the form of a consistent thought collective.
The Why, the What, the How: Disney, the Population Council, and the Pre-Production of "Family Planning"September 6, 2023
Family Planning, a short, animated film made by Walt Disney Productions in 1968, is a touchstone for historians of global population. Since Matthew Connelly's Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population (2008) re-energized the field, the film has become a fixture in histories of population control; an irresistible opportunity to namecheck Donald Duck and inject some levity into otherwise sober accounts. Analysis has concentrated on salient features of the film: its construction of an ethnically generic "everyman," its consumerist message, and its coyness about contraception. It typically figures as one of the most significant products of a sustained effort to mobilize mass media in the service of international family planning.Our research mobilizes previously neglected lines of evidence, especially unpublished documents held by the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), to shed new light on hidden negotiations and contestations. In drawing from the materials at the RAC — and beyond — we aim to contribute to an increasingly concerted effort to embed questions about media and communication more centrally in histories of reproductive politics.
The unprecedented growth of Russian/Slavic/Eurasian area studies programs in North America during the Cold War was a direct consequence of massive government support, including from military and intelligence agencies, which turned these programs into some of the most influential and sustained areas of research activity in the English-speaking world. The boom in Russian/Eurasian area studies underscored the paucity and inadequacy of the previous scholarship, which was primarily represented by a small number of individual researchers, driven by their own idiosyncratic interests and agendas. If prior to the Second World War, the more systematic studies of the Eurasian space, produced in Germany, Austria-Hungary and France, enjoyed steady government support, the production of knowledge about Eurasia in the United States had to rely on funding from selected universities and private benefactors who came predominantly from the world of industry, finance, and commerce.
Pastoral Agriculture: John B. Griffing, Agricultural Missionaries, and Transnational Agricultural DevelopmentAugust 9, 2023
This report examines the life and career of John B. Griffing to understand the larger transnational project of rural development in the twentieth century. Griffing had an eclectic career that took him to various parts of the United States, China, and Brazil. While Griffing's papers are scattered across multiple institutions and countries, collections from the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) were particularly useful in tracing the evolution of Griffing's ideas about rural development over time. At least two themes emerge when studying his career. The first is his views on religion and rural development. As the son of a small-town dairy farmer and grandson of a Methodist minister, Griffing found a way to blend these two influences by working as an "agricultural missionary" where he promoted agricultural improvement as a tool for spreading Christianity in China. His later work in Brazil focused less on proselytizing but he continued to champion the rural church as an effective center for agricultural change. The second theme is Griffing's emphasis on extension work and the importance of reaching rural youth through programs such as 4-H clubs. For Griffing, club work (which focused mostly on boys) was an effective way to cultivate a form of rugged masculinity, while also spreading new agricultural crops and practices to their parents.
“Developing” Intellectuals in Cold War Burma: The Production of The Atlantic's 1958 Country SupplementJuly 28, 2023
This report features part of an article I am working on about development, soft power, and Cold War competition in 1950s Burma and Indonesia, from the perspective of Burmese and Indonesian intellectuals and artists. It tells the backstory of the production of The Atlantic's 1958 supplement on Burma, one of several country supplements the Ford Foundation produced throughout the 1950s as part of its Intercultural Publications project. James Laughlin's reports in the Ford Foundation archives reveal the fascinating backstory of the issue and the agency of intellectuals within Cold War development programs, while pointing to the neglected role of "culture" in the history of development.
On April 6, 1971, Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller delivered a formal talk to New York's Colony Club titled, "Amateur Collecting at Home and Abroad." Mrs. Rockefeller had visited Japan for the first time in 1951, where she spent six weeks in Tokyo with her husband, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, who served as an unofficial cultural attaché to Douglas MacArthur's Japan Peace Commission. Like his mentor— former High Commissioner for Refugees of the League of Nations, and first US Ambassador to Israel— Dr. James G. McDonald, Mr. Rockefeller spent most of his time as part of the commission interviewing political, economic, and cultural authorities to find ways of improving cultural relations between the two countries. As a result, John devised a model based on bilateral cultural exchange—a two-way street . Toward that end, he later planned and built a conference center, the International House of Japan, where scholars and public officials from Europe and the United States exchanged ideas with their Japanese counterparts. These luminaries included the likes of Arnold Toynbee and Eleanor Roosevelt. Rockefeller's Japanese collaborator in that venture was an internationally minded journalist, Shigeharu Matsumoto. The Rockefellers and Matsumotos formed their own two-way relationship spanning the rest of their respective lives, as well as those of their children.While this study emphasizes the evolution of Blanchette Rockefeller's interest in Asia and the subsequent founding of the Asian Cultural Council, it bears understanding how such a study fits within the field of Asian cultural exchange during the twentieth century.
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