In 1955, the SPVEA launched the Primeiro Plano Quinquenal in response to growing international interest in Amazonia's resources and internal pressure to address the region's chronic underdevelopment. The Plano was the largest modernization plan attempted in Amazonia until then. It aimed at transforming the region's rich ecosystem into the driving force of Brazil's development as well as a major raw material provider for global markets. The article examines this neglected episode of Brazilian developmentalism as an important experience preparing the entrance of Brazil in the so-called Great Acceleration. The Plano established a rational method and constructed a technoscientific infrastructure that did not just organize the modernization of the region as a whole but formed an Anthropocene culture in Amazonia. Via their planned approach to the modernization of Amazonia, the SPVEA planners introduced new representations, demands, and expectations of the Thomas MOUGEY 376Varia Historia, Belo Horizonte, vol. 34, n. 65 region which encouraged the exploitation of its biological reality and linked it to the advancement of Brazil. Thus, the article explores, some specificities of the Great Acceleration in the Global South and sheds new light on the political and cultural origins of the Anthropocene in Brazil. Keywords Great Acceleration, science, Amazonia.Resumo Em 1955, a Superintendência do Plano para a Valorização Econômica da Amazônia (SPVEA) lançou o Primeiro Plano Quinquenal, em resposta ao crescente interesse internacional nos recursos da Amazônia e à pressão interna para tratar do crônico subdesenvolvimento da região. O documento, o maior plano de modernização elaborado para a Amazônia até aquela data, visava a transformar o rico ecossistema da região em uma força propulsora do desenvolvimento brasileiro, bem como fazer dessa região uma grande fornecedora de matéria-prima para os mercados globais. Este artigo propõe-se a estudar esse episódio negligenciado do desenvolvimentismo brasileiro como uma experiência importante na preparação da entrada do Brasil na chamada "Grande Aceleração". O Plano estabeleceu uma metodologia racional e construiu uma infraestrutura tecnocientífica que não apenas organizaram a modernização da região como um todo, mas formaram uma cultura antropocênica na Amazônia. Ao propor uma abordagem planejada da modernização da Amazônia, os burocratas da SPVEA introduziram novas representações, demandas e expectativas regionais que favoreceram a exploração daquela realidade biológica e vincularam a região ao progresso do país. Dessa forma, este artigo investiga algumas especificidades da Grande Aceleração no Sul Global, com o objetivo de contribuir para iluminar as origens políticas e culturais do Antropoceno no Brasil.
In recent years historians have revisited the creation of the United Nations (UN) system by highlighting the enduring influence of Empire and recognizing the substantial role of cultural and scientific actors in wartime international diplomacy. The British biochemist Joseph Needham, who participated in the creation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was one of them. Yet, if historians have recognized his role as the leading architect of the sciences at UNESCO, they still fall short of engaging with the Chinese and imperial geography of his involvement with UNESCO. During the Second World War, Needham was stationed in war-torn China. As director of the Sino-British Scientific Cooperation Office, Needham not only organized Sino-British scientific cooperation against the Japanese invasion, but his mission inspired his engagement for a reform of international science and fueled an international campaign that led him to become the director of UNESCO’s Natural Science division after the war. By reconstructing his campaign in context, this article seeks to demonstrate how the imperial and transnational scientific networks of the wartime era fostered the creation of a scientific mandate for UNESCO. It situates Needham’s activism and ideas in the context of the Sino-Japanese war, imperial wartime technocracy, and China’s scientific nationalism. In so doing, it reveals a string of forgotten partners from China and the British Empire. Their conception of a reorganized international science and shared belief in modern science and its ideal of universality shaped Needham’s vision for science at UNESCO, while their activism contributed decisively to the success of his campaign. This inquiry hence participates in recent efforts to challenge the existing Eurocentrism corseting the historiography of the UN and expands the historiography of scientific internationalism beyond Europe and North America. Importantly, it also contributes to uncovering the technocratic ties established between Empire and the UN system from its onset.
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