Cultural Imperialism in Old Republic Rio de Janeiro: The Urban Renewal and Public Health Project

  • Teresa Meade


A UNESCO study in 1959 noted that, ‘it has been the lot of Brazil, ever since colonial times, to organize its economy in such a way as to serve foreign interests rather than those of its own population’.1 Whereas the emphasis of the UNESCO study, as with many since that time, was on the economics of imperialism, less has been written on the cultural dimensions of imperialist penetration, especially as regards the way in which imperialism has been ideologically justified within the dominated nation. This essay takes up that discussion by exploring the role of science, specifically public health, as the means through which cultural imperialism functioned in Rio de Janeiro, one of Latin America’s foremost cities, and until 1960 the capital of the continent’s largest country.


Center City Yellow Fever Urban Renewal Public Health Campaign Cultural Imperialism 
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© Teresa Meade and Mark Walker 1991

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  • Teresa Meade

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