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To Govern is to Educate: Race, Education, and Colonization in La Araucanía, Chile (1883-1920)


To Govern is to Educate explores the relationship between state-led education and immigration policies that framed the Chilean state’s colonization goals in La Araucanía. The overarching narrative of this project is to demonstrate the continuation of colonial projects within the framework of modernity. In the mid-nineteenth-century, young Chilean intellectuals imitated the grandeur of France, but by the 1880s, a new generation of thinkers turned their gaze toward Prussia, admiring its military successes and scientific innovations. The Chilean elite’s German turn led to the creation of a national curriculum that integrated German education methods and an immigration policy that targeted German and Austro-Swiss migrants to populate former native Mapuche lands (La Araucanía). This study uses public and Catholic mission schools in La Araucanía as case studies, analyzing how modern education assimilated Mapuche children into the race and class complex of Chilean society. Rather than cause the cultural and biological “disappearance” of the Mapuche population, education gave the first generation of Mapuche youths under Chilean colonization a legitimate and political voice. To Govern is to Educate demonstrates the modernity of colonialism and how the colonial project becomes contiguous in the making of modern Chile.

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