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Color Line and the Assembly LineManaging Race in the Ford Empire$
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Elizabeth D. Esch

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285378

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285378.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Breeding Rubber, Breeding Workers

Breeding Rubber, Breeding Workers

From Fordlandia to Belterra

(p.119) Four Breeding Rubber, Breeding Workers
Color Line and the Assembly Line

Elizabeth D. Esch

University of California Press

From 1925 to 1945 the Ford Motor Company engaged in an experiment in social engineering at its new rubber plantations in the Amazon, Fordlandia and Belterra. This chapter demonstrates how fully in line with the aspirations of Brazilian politicians and modernizers Ford’s intervention was. Further, the company’s belief in the racial improvability of Amazonian people structured the very location and construction of the plantations. Specifically influenced by what it perceived as the racial potential of the people in the region, Ford first recruited single men and then whole families to the plantations. Social and biological reproduction of children replaced attempts to improve rubber tappers who resisted Ford’s importation of its “one best way.”

Keywords:   social reproduction, colonialism, cabaclo, imperialism, Fordlandia, Belterra

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