This two-day conference at Yale University in October of 2016 seeks to interrogate the role of experts and expertise during the Cold War in Latin America. Throughout the twentieth-century, traveling foreign experts in a variety of professional fields gained significant socio-political influence as part of broader processes of state formation and the internationalization of the region’s economy. They continued a longer tradition of foreign expertise in Latin America, dating back to colonial-era scientific expeditions. However, the global upheavals of the Depression, World War II, and then Cold War and the emergence of new transportation linkages such as the Pan-American Highway and air travel, gave new contours and urgency to foreign expertise in the region. Political ideologies and professional interests were made material through the creation of agricultural experiment stations, social science think tanks, and infrastructures such as dams, metros, defense systems, and housing projects, among others. National and foreign experts collaborated to build new institutions and economies; in the process, they forged networks that at times reinforced, and at times defied, the North-South and East-West axes imposed by international geopolitics.
The Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies; the MacMillan Center; the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund; the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; Yale Environmental History; the Yale Latin American Studies Speaker Series; and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.