Exporting Modernity: U.S. Foundations and Latin American Development, 1950-1980

Jan 01, 2009 | by
  • Description

During the month of August, 2009 I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center with the support of a Grant-in-Aid to conduct research for my dissertation, which examines the philanthropic activities of U.S. private foundations in Latin America during the decades of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. My project explores how foundation grants and programs aimed to modernize Latin American economies and accelerate their integration into a global economy and culture. The goal was not only to come away with an understanding of the types of projects the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) was involved with but also to examine the ideological assumptions behind the projects, to identify any limitations of the foundation's vision, and to sketch out how these limitations altered or changed initial assumptions. My first venture into the material available on development projects in Latin America underscores the complex political environment the RF was operating in and reveals how initial assumptions about modernization in 2 Latin America proved simplistic and lacked an understanding of the interrelatedness of social, economic, and cultural phenomenon.