Frederico FreitasAug 26, 2022
Iguazu Falls and National Parks at the Brazil-Argentina Border
Cambridge University Press 2021
In Nationalizing Nature: Iguazu Falls and National Parks at the Brazil-Argentina Border (Cambridge UP, 2021), Frederico Freitas uncovers the crucial role played by conservation in the region’s territorial development by exploring how Brazil and Argentina used national parks to nationalize borderlands. In the 1930s, Brazil and Argentina created some of their first national parks around the massive Iguazu Falls, shared by the two countries. The parks were designed as tools to attract migrants from their densely populated Atlantic seaboards to a sparsely inhabited borderland. In the 1970s, a change in paradigm led the military regimes in Brazil and Argentina to violently evict settlers from their national parks, highlighting the complicated relationship between authoritarianism and conservation in the Southern Cone. By tracking almost one hundred years of national park history in Latin America’s largest countries, Nationalizing Nature shows how conservation policy promoted national programs of frontier development and border control.
The book received an honorable mention in the Bryce Wood Book Award (Latin American Studies Association) as an outstanding book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities published in English, and an honorable mention in the Sérgio Buarque de Holanda Prize (Latin American Studies Association’s Brazil Section) for the best book in the social sciences on Brazil.
Elena McGrath is an Assistant Professor of History at Union College.