Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Guaraní nationalism: The Paraguayan Chaco frontier between Liberalismo and Febrerismo, 1904–1936
by Chesterton, Bridget Maria, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2007, 279; 3299706
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation explores political and cultural change in Paraguay as a result of elite and subaltern experiences and writing on the Chaco frontier 1904-1936. My research demonstrates how notions of Paraguayan nationalism were shaped by military events, scientific exploration and missionary work in the region. Moreover, this dissertation considers how subaltern experiences on the Chaco frontier fractured elite Liberal notions about the use and importance of the Guarani language and the memory of Francisco Solano López. This dissertation is framed by three events in Paraguayan history: the 1904 Liberal Revolution, the outbreak of the Chaco war in 1932 and finally the 1936 Febrerista Revolution. By using the Chaco frontier as a lens to view how Paraguayans imagined their nation, I am able to trace evolving notions of Paraguayan nationalism.

Through the examination of a wide variety of sources including scientific, historical, political and educational journals, newspapers, school textbooks, missionary reports, correspondence from soldiers serving on the Chaco frontier and finally poetry and plays, I have traced how Paraguayan nationalism reflected such concerns as the use of the Guarani language and the memory of Francisco Solano López. While Liberal elites during the pre-war period viewed the Guarani language as a hindrance to national development and Solno López' memory was vilified, post-war Febreristas radically altered these notions by glorifying both the Guraní language and Solano López' memory.

Furthermore, this dissertation traces how missionaries and scientists during the pre-war period labored to make the Chaco frontier discursively “like” eastern Paraguay. By uncovering similarities between the land and the people of the Chaco frontier these religious and scientific pioneers argued how similar the Chaco frontier was to eastern Paraguay. After the war, when the region was fully under the control of the Paraguayan military and state, these same missionaries and scientist declared that the land and the people of the Chaco frontier were not “like” eastern Paraguay and Paraguayans, but that they were part of the larger nation-state. Ultimately, my dissertation considers how fissures in Paraguayan nationalism were brought to the surface by events and actions on the Chaco frontier.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gootenberg, Paul
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history
Keywords: Chaco, Chaco frontier, Febrerismo, Frontier, Guarani, Liberalismo, Nationalism, Paraguay, Solano Lopez, Francisco
Publication Number: 3299706
ISBN: 9780549436096
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