This dissertation centers on the place natural history occupied in Mexican science and the ideas of the members of the Sociedad Mexicana de Historia Natural (SMHN). I propose that between 1865 and 1914, Mexican intellectuals who joined the Sociedad Mexicana de Historia Natural or participated on its margins, maintained a traditional, teleological understanding about the close links between the natural and social world. However, in this period they also embraced the use of scientific inquiry to enhance their understanding of the natural world in order to guide the country toward order and progress, similar to that enjoyed by other Western societies, especially France and the US. Influenced by Humboldt, Comte, Lamarck, and Spencer, Mexican scientists encouraged the study of natural history, believing that there was a strong and reciprocal relationship between the natural and social world. Mexican scientists had clear goals for this research: First, to learn how nature worked in order to maintain an equilibrium in the use of natural resources. Second, natural history could provide knowledge of how to use natural resources (flora, fauna, minerals), as well as improve the environment (climate, soil, air, water, geography) and the Mexican people (race, public health), which scientists believed would help to construct a modern and progressive country. Indeed, according to SMHN scientists, nature played a key role in the economic and social development of the country. For them, knowledge of the natural world would allow them to construct a progressive, civilized, and modern country similar to other powerful Western nations. In this vein, this dissertation examines what SMHN scientists thought about natural history and the management of resources to improve the country's economy and public good during the period from 1865 to 1914. This period is relevant because it constituted a turning point in the study of natural history in Mexico, linked to a long period of stable, authoritarian government known as the Porfiriato, the most important formative period of industrial expansionism in Mexico, increasing international investment in mining and railroads, a rise in agricultural exports, and other endeavors with a massive impact on the natural world.
|Advisor:||Cushman, Gregory T.|
|Commitee:||Arias, Santa, Corteguera, Luis, Gregg, Sara, Schwaller, Robert|
|School:||University of Kansas|
|School Location:||United States -- Kansas|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American history, Environmental Studies, Science history|
|Keywords:||Mexican science, Natural history, Sociedad mexicana de historia natural|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be