Philanthropy during the Cold War, 1958-1985: A Case Study for Brazilian History in the United States and the Social Sciences in Brazil

Jan 01, 2013 | by
  • Description

The study of Latin America as a field in American institutions of higher education can be traced back to the beginnings of the twentieth century, however, it was not until the Cold War era that the field would experience its "boom" years. Several factors have contributed to this expansion in the field (and subsequent specialization in area-studies): among them are federal funds, which emanated directly from governmental policy. Defeating the Russians in the "space race" led to increased public spending on higher education. Under Title VI, of the NDEA Act of 1958, the U.S. government doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to language and area studies programs across universities all over the United States, with its main aim to acquire the necessary knowledge to fight communism across the globe and better secure American interests. Increasing university and college enrollment (of "baby boomers") also played a role in expanding the field and in the subsequent area specialization that ensued. For better or worse, "the Boom years" in area studies, and particularly in Latin American studies, might not have been possible had it not been for the help of both private foundations and government funding.