Nationalizing Nature

Nationalizing Nature is my first monograph, published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press as part of their Latin American Studies Series. The book demonstrates how Brazil and Argentina employed national parks to develop and settle frontier areas, casting light on conservation’s crucial role in the territorial growth of the region. In the process, a distinct national park model–combining the preservation of nature and settler colonization–is highlighted.

From the press:

“Today, one-quarter of all the land in Latin America is set apart for nature protection. In Nationalizing Nature, 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.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Maps, and Tables
Note on Terminology and Orthography

Introduction: Boundaries of Nature
Chapter 1. Nationalizing the Border
Chapter 2. Playing Catch-Up
Chapter 3. A Park and a Town
Chapter 4. Land Conflict
Chapter 5. Surveillance and Evasion
Chapter 6. The View From Above
Epilogue: The Resilience of Boundaries

Bibliography and Sources

Writing for Nationalizing Nature was generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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