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Republics of KnowledgeNations of the Future in Latin America$
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Nicola Miller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176758

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176758.001.0001

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Engineering Sovereignty

(p.181) 9 Infrastructure
Republics of Knowledge

Nicola Miller

Princeton University Press

This chapter recounts the Latin American countries that welcomed foreign innovation and expertise for technically demanding infrastructure projects. It mentions how the American continent's first railways were built by Spanish American engineers under contract to the respective states, contrary to the common belief that British or US American companies always led the way. It also focuses on the visibility and intensity of public concern about the relationship between science and sovereignty in late nineteenth-century Latin America. The chapter reviews the overlooked history of resistance in Latin American countries on handing over infrastructure projects to private companies, especially if they were foreign owned. It disputes conceptions of the role of the state and provides further evidence for the argument that free-market liberals did not have their own way in nineteenth-century Latin America.

Keywords:   Latin America, foreign innovation, infrastructure projects, free-market liberals, US American companies

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