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Showcasing a High-Modernist Landscape: Spatial Imaginaries and Rural Development in Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1970s

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In 1974, the state government of Minas Gerais, Brazil, assisted by a number of public and pri-vate organizations, carried out a rural development intervention in the central-western Cerrado region. The Programa de Assentamento Dirigido do Alto Paranaíba (PADAP) consisted in reset-tling farmers of Japanese descent from southern to central Brazil, providing them with land, loans, infrastructure, and technical supervision in order to create a model region for the agrar-ian development of Brazil’s vast interior biome known as “Cerrado”. The aim of this article is to contextualize the PADAP and to explore the spatial imaginaries and implicit assumptions about Cerrado ecologies and landscapes which underpinned it. Moreover, it asks how the PADAP was embedded in processes of knowledge production that eventually facilitated the transfer of the project’s methods to larger geographical scales. The high-modernist landscape ideal was associated with capital-endowed colonists producing under the technical supervision of the state, whereas former Cerrado inhabitants were relegated to the status of “remnants” and had to reclaim agrarian citizenship by aligning their production techniques to the parameters of a new rural order.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComparativ: Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und Vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung
Pages (from-to)608-625
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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