Current Institutional Affiliation
Visiting Professor, History, Universidad de San Andrés

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Yale University
Americas Mapped: Mass Media and the Making of an “American” Geography during World War II

During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy expanded into an enormous public relations campaign that sought support for a "united continent" in an effort to prevent Axis incursion. The exportation of pro-U.S. mass media became a new tool for forging international relations in the Americas. For the first time, the idea of hemispheric unity extended beyond the political podium: Good Neighbor productions, which included magazines, radio programs, and maps, became avidly consumed cultural goods in South America. My research will not only piece together where, why and how geography travelled, but also ask what geographical arguments media communicated and how these media rose to extreme popularity in Argentina and Ecuador. My approach is uniquely situated at the intersection of history, geography and media studies, which allows me to argue that in this mass-media campaign to Latin America, geography began to expand beyond cloistered academic halls and textbooks to become the framework for political argumentation in radio, magazines and mass-produced culture. The image of a united American continent became a publicized geographical idea. What can these mass produced geography texts, their creation and consumption, tell us about how international relations function on the ground, in Ecuador and Argentina? What was the context that made these mass media so popular? What is the relationship between changing role of geography and the rise of mass media? Answering these questions will not only illuminate the consequences of geography for national and global histories, but also reveal how the rise of international mass media operated-and how it came to define-global relations in the 20th century.