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Article

Michele McArdle Stephens

The Huichols are an indigenous group inhabiting the west Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Durango, and Zacatecas, who maintain a culture distinct from Mexican society at large. Since their conquest by the Spanish in 1723, the Huichols have selectively adapted elements of Spanish and Mexican political and social norms in order to serve their best interests, whether that be the protection of their lands from usurpation, the disappearance of their culture through assimilation, or the destruction of their religion by conversion. For the Huichols, land and territory have spiritual significance, which governs their actions and reactions. A loss of land would result in a destruction of their culture and identity. Culturally unified through their religion and language, the Huichols demonstrate a political disunity by which leaders of the different Huichol towns acted in ways that were most beneficial for their communities, often without regard for how their actions may impact other Huichol towns. Ironically, it is this disunity that has helped them weather centuries of warfare, modernization, land alienation, and intrusion by national, federal, and multinational entities.

Article

Pablo Yankelevich

In the Latin American milieu, Mexico stands out as a host nation for exiles. It is somewhat paradoxical that a country with very restrictive migration policies was always willing to receive victims of political persecution, and later expanded this behavior to include victims of ethnic, religious, and gender persecution, generalized violence, and natural disasters. Explaining this paradox involves considering the transformations that the 1910 Revolution introduced into Mexico’s domestic and international politics and how these transformations impacted abroad, above all in the Latin American space, projecting the idea of a nation committed to the construction of political order and just and democratic societies. Political asylum and the Refugee Status Determination are the legal instruments by which Mexico has welcomed foreigners in conditions of extreme vulnerability. The widespread use of these instruments forged the image of Mexico as a nation of exiles. Many victims of persecution entered the country under the protection provided by the instruments of political asylum and refugee status; undoubtedly, many more did so by circumventing migratory obstacles thanks to generous governmental conduct in situations of political persecution. A journey through the most important experiences of exiles in Mexico must start with the first Latin American exiles persecuted by dictatorial regimes in the 1920s, before turning to the case of the Spanish Republicans after the Civil War in the late 1930s, and then immediately incorporating European victims of Nazism during World War II. During the Cold War a second stage of exile began with the arrival of Americans persecuted by McCarthyism in the United States, and later by the influx of thousands of Latin Americans victims of new military dictatorships. This cycle ended at the beginning of the 1980s when large contingents of Guatemalans crossed the border with Mexico to protect themselves from a war of extermination launched by the army of that country. The size and the social composition of this exile obliged Mexico to draft policies for the reception of victims of persecution that led to adjustments in national legislation and strategies for collaboration with the United Nations. In the final decades of the 20th century, the redemocratization processes in Latin America led to a marked decrease in the number of victims of political persecution. Nevertheless, since the beginning of the 21st century Mexico has faced new challenges, no longer in terms of political asylum but in terms of refuge. The increasing flows of foreign migrants who, irregularly, transit through Mexican territory to reach the border with the United States and the migration enforcement policies implemented by the US government have generated a considerable increase in requests for refugee status in Mexico. This phenomenon, unprecedented in the history of the reception of victims of persecution, leaves Mexico facing an enormous challenge in terms of humanitarian protection for foreigners who flee their countries to preserve their freedom and protect their lives.

Article

Twentieth-century science and technology in Brazil were marked by the building of new institutions of higher education, research, and research funding as well as by the professionalization of scientific practice in the country. Most of these changes were state driven and state funded, while some support came from foreign philanthropic foundations and states and, on a smaller scale, from the private sector. The mid-20th-century was when most activity took place, for instance the founding of the University of São Paulo, as a reaction of the state of São Paulo to national political changes in 1930, and the establishment of funding agencies such as Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), as initiatives of the federal government. Throughout the century the institutionalization of science moved from a strictly pragmatic model toward the acknowledgement of science as the professional activity required for the production of new knowledge. In Brazil the development of science has been marked by a succession of ups and downs closely following economic cycles and political times, albeit not perfectly synchronously. Therefore, a major brain drain began in 1960 during a democratic regime, and the 1964 military dictatorship restrained civil rights while supporting science from 1970 on. Chronological limits in this history are not turning points. On the one hand, as the 21st century began Brazilian academia suffered further ups and downs closely related to political and funding crises, which have worsened since President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office in 2019. On the other hand, the huge impact of the 20th-century changes in Brazilian academia should not detract from the production of science and technology in previous centuries.

Article

Thiago Lima Nicodemo, Mateus Henrique de Faria Pereira, and Pedro Afonso Cristovão dos Santos

The founding of the first universities in the first decades of the 20th century in Brazil emerged from a context of public education reforms and expansion that modified the relationship between intellectuals and the public sphere in Brazil. The representation of national pasts was the object of prolific public debate in the social sciences and literature and fine arts through social and historical essays, pushed mostly from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, such as Gilberto Freyre’s, The Master and the Slaves (Casa Grande e Senzala, 1936) and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda’s Roots of Brazil (Raízes do Brasil, 1936). Just after the 1950s, universities expanded nationally, and new resources were available for academic and scientific production, such as libraries, archives, scientific journals, and funding agencies (namely CNPQ, CAPES and FAPESP). In the field of history, these effects would have a greater impact in the 1960s and 1970s with the consolidation of a National Association of History, the debate over curricula and required content, and the systematization of graduate programs (thanks to the University Reform of 1968, during the military dictatorship). Theses, dissertations, and monographs gradually gained ground as long social essays lost their prestige, seen as not befitting the standards of disciplinary historiography as defined in the graduate programs such as a wider empirical ground and more accurate time frames and scopes. Through their writing in more specialized formats, which moved away from essays and looked into the great Brazilian historical problems, historians played an important role in the resistance against the authoritarian regime (1964–1985) and, above all, contributed to a debate on the role of silenced minorities regarding redemocratization.