Accepted Paper:

Modernisation in late-nineteenth century Latin America: myths and realities  


John Fisher (University of Liverpool)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper provides an introduction to the case studies of the impact of Positivism upon educational reform in specific countries. It (re-)evaluates the conventional historiographical assumption that Latin America was transformed in the late-nineteenth century by this process.

Paper long abstract:

It continues to be assumed generally that in the first half-century or so after Independence the dysfunctional states of Latin America were characterised by political, social, and economic chaos, whereas thereafter a gradual process of 'modernisation' - embracing not only foreign investment, the improvement of internal and external transport links, and immigration but also educational reform - brought in its train peace, order (the key Positivist terms) and stability. The paper casts a critical eye over these assumptions.

Panel P25
Positivism and education reform in late nineteenth-century Latin America