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Panamanian intellectuals and the invention of a peaceful nation (1878-1931)

This thesis analyses the philosophical origin and development of a discourse that presented Panama as an ordered, peaceful and internationalist nation after its independence from Colombia in 1903. Tracing back this discourse to 1878, this thesis argues that Panamanian political and intellectual elites adopted, elaborated and combined ideas of Positivism, Conservatism, and Progressivism to shape distinct processes of nation-building and visions of modernity in the Isthmus until 1931. Furthermore, this thesis will analyse the role of print-capitalism, material culture, schools, public speeches and events in the divulging of these ideas and the formation of Panamanian identity and nationalism. Following this line of thought, the chapters of this thesis will study the different strategies that Panamanian nation-builders used to promote their discourses of civic nationalism: the creation of a pantheon of professional heroes and the forgetting of a military past; the appropriation of suffering; the education policies that aimed at creating a pedagogical elite in charge of providing practical and moral education to Panamanians; and the promotion of an internationalism in schools and international conferences and organisations. The thesis explores the extent to which these strategies helped to overcome the challenges to the construction of the Panamanian nation posed by the presence and interventionism of U.S. military and authorities in Panamanian territory, the unexpected results of modernisation during and after the building of the Panama Canal, the international criticism of Panamanian collaborationism with the U.S. (especially after the latter intervened in Panama’s independence from Colombia), and international developments such as World War I. In doing this, this doctoral thesis attempts to contribute to the discussion regarding the creation of Panamanian identity and challenge the predominant arguments that sustain that either Panamanian national identity was solely founded on the precepts of Liberalism or that it was a fabrication of the U.S.
Date January 2014
CreatorsDe la Guardia Wald, R.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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