News from Project B02

Simon Gerards Iglesias in Berlin
Simon Gerards Iglesias in Berlin
The online lecture marked the end of his scholarship for a research stay in Berlin.

This year Simon Gerards Iglesias had received a scholarship from the Ibero-American Institute (IAI) of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for a research stay as a visiting scholar in Berlin. On 16 June 2020, he concluded his scholarship with a lecture on his dissertation project, which he is working on in project B02. In his historical research, Gerards Iglesias examines the relations between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Argentina in the period 1919 to 1943 from a transnational perspective. In addition to the research staff of the Ibero-American Institute, a number of scholars from Latin America participated in the colloquium lecture, which, due to Corona, had to take place as a video conference.


Contact:
Simon Gerards Iglesias
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67204
E-Mail: sgerards@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels (photo: Steven Keller)
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels (photo: Steven Keller)
Delia González de Reufels explains in an interview why Latin America has become the hotspot of the Covid 19 pandemic and how the countries are pursuing different strategies to cope with it.

The Covid-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly in Latin America. What's your take on the situation?

The WHO has only recently declared Latin America the new hot spot of the pandemic, and the situation is really frightening. Unlike in Ecuador, where the first case occurred as early as the end of February in connection with a visit to a relative of a woman living in Madrid, corona infections were not recorded in many countries until mid-March. This meant that people generally had more time to prepare for the outbreak than Europe and the USA, for example. However, this valuable time was often not used or could not be used.

How do you explain this?

It may sound trivial, but one of the explanations is that in the face of an impending pandemic, it is not possible to suddenly remedy all the failures of the past in the health sector. The Corona crisis exposes the weaknesses of health systems and general infrastructure, as well as the extent of corruption. At the same time, the crisis exacerbates existing social inequality, political problems and tensions. To name but one infrastructural shortcoming: not all households are supplied with drinking water everywhere. Those who have to fetch water meet neighbours there and will inevitably come into contact with many people. Decades of cutbacks in the health sector - and Mexico is a good example of this - also have a direct negative impact. In Mexico, public spending on health has remained the same despite a growing population. For years, they have amounted to just under 3% of the national budget. If you compare this with the expenditure of other countries in the hemisphere, only Guatemala and Venezuela spend less on health. This is in stark contrast to the importance Mexico used to attach to the health sector. After all, the country had invested heavily in public health and social security since the 1940s.

Another reason why the pandemic has hit many Latin American countries so hard is the populism of individual governments. Here, no attempt was made to counter the pandemic in a timely and targeted manner; rather, the danger of the corona virus was played down for a very long time. This also applies to Mexico. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador briefly reached into his jacket pocket at a rally in response to a question and took out two images of saints. He held them up and claimed to feel well protected. He explained that nothing could happen to him. In doing so, he actually evaded the question of government measures against the pandemic and gave the simple Mexicans the signal to be one of them; he did not concern himself with the scientific findings on the new virus. Recently, he has again refused to be tested for Covid-19 because he shows no symptoms. At the same time, the President signals: "This government sees no reason to do anything and, for example, to increase the testing capacities. We can see the terrible consequences of this attitude these days.

The virus has also spread with dramatic consequences in Brazil, where the pandemic as a whole was negated by President Jaïr Bolsonaro. The province of Amazonia, which is medically undersupplied, has suffered a dramatic loss of life, particularly among the indigenous populations. But even in a city like Sao Paulo, graves have become scarce in recent days, and the cemetery administration has been instructed to exhume those who died a long time ago and to store the bones in containers until further notice. This should make room for the many new dead. At the same time the true dimensions of the crisis are being obscured. The decision taken by the Ministry of Health to no longer publish infection numbers speaks for itself. However, it could not be maintained because it was criticised equally strongly at home and abroad. And Mexico did not always provide all the figures either, as was shown by the reports of medical personnel. These staff were often unable to reconcile their own observations with the figures published for the capital city of Mexico, for example.

Are there any counter-examples, i.e. governments in Latin America that have taken the crisis seriously and adopted good practice from other countries?

In the CRC's project B02 we look at Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, which are considered pioneers in the field of social policy and public health. And indeed, all three countries took far-reaching measures at a very early stage that fit in with what we know from Europe and are obviously oriented towards these instruments. However, in the southern hemisphere, the virus broke out in the autumn and the peak of the outbreak will be in winter. That will shape the crisis, but all three countries are operating quite successfully:

For example, since the first case was reported in mid-March according to official authorities, Uruguay has had surprisingly low infection rates and few deaths. According to official figures, the death rate here is 0.65 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is mainly attributed to the good condition of the health system, in which governments have continuously invested over the last ten years. The early closure of borders, schools and air traffic and the banning of major events may also have been decisive, but there were no curfews. Now, gradual relaxation is to take place, and the low infection rates have encouraged the government of President Luis Lacalle Pou to do so.

The situation is somewhat different in Chile, where almost 3000 people have died so far. Strict initial regulations continue to apply here, schools and universities remain closed. Santiago residents are only allowed to leave their homes two days a week, and then only with a pass and to do their shopping. These strict
Regulations affect the precariously employed particularly hard and are also problematic because they have fallen in a period of violent protests. In the social media it has already been suspected that the virus would suit the government of Sebastián Piñera. Unemployment, which is already rising, is further increasing social inequality, while at the same time the infection figures are still at a high level, so that easing is unlikely to be announced in the foreseeable future. The peak of the corona crisis is also still to come in Chile. Meanwhile, the unsuccessful health minister has been replaced, whose lack of intervention in the pricing of medicines had also been criticised in previous protests.

Argentina has been very successful so far, as the almost 30,500 infections (as of June 14, 2020) show, although the infection figures in Buenos Aires are currently on the rise again. The strict measures that the country has taken since 20 March can be considered the reason for the success in fighting the virus so far. In the field of public health, the Peronist government of Alberto Fernández has acted quickly and decisively. Right at the beginning of the crisis, it had declared its intention to build ten new hospitals in and around Buenos Aires. This was a very ambitious announcement in view of the foreign debt that the country has to pay and which also sets limits on the aid that can be given to the workers. However, it was probably a reaction to the news from China, where, given the dynamics of the outbreak, new hospitals were quickly built and the additional treatment places were apparently needed. Recognizing that urban density, as in Wuhan or New York City, is a major factor in the spread of the disease, the government has paid special attention to the Buenos Aires metropolitan area. The outbreak here has prompted the government to extend the "social distancing" measure until June 28, although other regions with lower infection rates may act more flexibly. For a period of 65 days, La Pampa did not count any new cases, and it was only in these days that the sixth infected person was reported at all, who immediately went into quarantine. So here too we see the application of the measures already practised in China.

Looking at the statistics of reported cases, it is striking that the countries of Latin America are affected to very different degrees.

There is obviously a connection between not testing and not knowing. At present, for example, the number of infections in Peru is rising rapidly, but it must be assumed that the number of unreported cases is much higher, which also affects the number of deaths. People die without being tested. This is also the case in Nicaragua. It is completely unclear how many people there have fallen ill with Covid-19 and how many have died of it. In the death certificates, pneumonia is given as the cause of death because the patients were simply not tested. This also means that they do not appear in the statistics. Instead, the government, which two years ago was the target of massive protests, is declaring that it is following the Swedish model. However, the alleged adoption of the Swedish model is an attempt to hide the fact that they do not have the necessary infrastructure and resources for a different approach.

Mexico had similar plans ...

Mexiko's president had also stated that the crisis would be managed without measures that were harmful to the economy. This is due to the fact that many people in the country are precariously employed or work in the informal sector. What do all the street vendors, the domestic workers do in lockdown? Those who have no savings cannot afford to stay at home. In a federally organized state like Mexico, however, the governors of the 32 states are of great importance, as the Corona crisis has shown. They have ordered lockdowns, closed schools and universities. But in some cases the infection rates were already very high.

What are the economic consequences for Latin America?

Arrangements such as those made by Germany, for example, with very generous support packages for the economy and workers, are something most countries cannot afford. Unemployment is therefore very high, although it is known that the unemployed in the informal sector do not appear in the statistics. As a result, the countries will slide into recession, and then it will become clear whether this will shake the faith in democracy and possibly attract other actors. In Brazil there was already concern that the military could be called in as a stabilizing factor. That would be fatal in a country that has experienced such a long and brutal military dictatorship, which has still not been dealt with.

Are there any other characteristics of the course of the pandemic in Latin America?

An important aspect is that these countries often fail to protect medical personnel consistently. In the long term, this will lead to an erosion of the efficiency of health care provision. There have been shocking reports from the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico City - which colleagues have confirmed to me - when hospital staff were instructed not to wear face masks or the like in order not to unsettle the citizens. There was concern that panic might break out among the population because they might understand that the pandemic is more dangerous than the government claims. The staff is still unprotected now because there is no protective clothing and masks in sufficient numbers. Doctors and nurses report that they have to find it themselves and buy it privately or use masks several times.

The government regards the population not as mature citizens, but as a people that must be manipulated.

Yes, that can also be seen from the fact which countries are prepared to give a precise insight into the figures of the outbreak. In Brazil, there have also been accusations that the situation in Amazonia is verging on genocide. Because indigenous populations are not protected by the authorities from contact with smugglers and gold-washers and other invaders into their territory. The population there was and is medically undersupplied, has no access to resources and no lobby. This is also very worrying.

Absolutely, but unfortunately it fits the priorities of the government.

That's right. Brazil under Bolsonaro aims very strongly at an economic development and penetration of the Amazon at the expense of the population living there. Marching towards a human and ecological catastrophe.

How does the Corona pandemic affect your research?

I wanted to fly to Chile in March for archival work. But I had to cancel the trip.

Travel will be difficult for many more months. What consequences does this have for your project?

We were lucky that we went on archive trips at a very early stage and reviewed and collected a lot of material. But on the other hand, now that we are evaluating our sources, gaps are appearing which we would like to close. The only question is, how can we do this? After all, European collections of sources are now becoming accessible again. But there remain the Latin American archives, which we cannot consult at present. This is definitely a burden, especially since there is no certainty for planning. We cannot assume that we will be able to close the gaps in the coming year. When the archives will be open again and when we can travel is unfortunately completely uncertain.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzáles de Reufels
Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzáles de Reufels
Interview with Delia González de Reufels on the protests against the Chilean government and the first results of her research visits to Santiago de Chile.

For a very long time Chile was regarded as a very stable and economically successful country. But suddenly there are mass protests and violence, especially by the security forces. How did this happen?

The current trigger was an increase in public transport prices. This may seem incomprehensible, but Chile already has the most expensive transport system in South America. In addition, in the metropolitan region of Santiago with its eight million inhabitants, the distances are very long. Not everyone can live where they work. The transport system is therefore used by many on a daily basis and a considerable part of their income is spent on this alone. After all, who uses public transport? Chileans with top incomes, of which there are many, are not dependent on it. There are a lot of people with small and middle incomes in the Santiago area and the price increase hits them very hard. But the dissatisfaction is also directed against the lack of socio-political interest of the current government, which in its second term of office has no new visions for a more socially just Chile. This has disappointed many who had hoped for initiatives in core areas such as pensions, education, health care and health insurance.

Despite the country's great economic success, if you look at the macro data, not all sections of the population seem to have benefited. Or why is it that many parts of the population are so poor?

This is an interesting finding. At the macro level, Chile is a very rich and prosperous country, it is an OECD member and has been spared major economic crises. But in the end you have to ask yourself who is actually benefiting from these developments. A very large part of the population generates only a minimum income and has to bear rising costs for local transport, rent and heating. Water supply is also expensive. Chile also has to bear many economic consequences of the military junta's policy, which came to power in 1973 through a bloody coup. For example, energy companies can raise the price of heating oil in winter. These are the results of the economic reforms that took place during the dictatorship and that were not revoked afterwards. This has led to great inequalities. Large sections of the population have the impression that they struggle but do not participate in the country's prosperity. This rage has now unloaded and is unlikely to subside as quickly.

What does the Chilean social system look like? Can't it absorb poverty?

As one of the pioneers of social policy, Chile developed and implemented many measures very early on. But it also downscaled and withdrew programmes and redefined who benefited from these measures. Even though there have been many new socio-political interventions, the military dictatorship continues to have an effect here as well. Because politics has never really devoted itself to poverty reduction, Chile - like many other Latin American countries - has many poor people. Poverty was condoned and therefore persisted.

How do you explain that? Since the military dictatorship was not dependent on the masses to be elected? Because you could ignore them?

Yes, and because, on the one hand, the military dictatorship has made clientele politics and, on the other, it has opened itself to neo-liberalism and reformed the economy accordingly. The argument that a dictatorship can carry out efficient reforms because it does not have to assure itself of the voters' approval and coordinate processes in parliament etc. also played a role here. As a result, people have been left behind. Although the country stands out on the macroeconomic level by South American standards and is considered very stable, it has been fermenting below the surface for a long time. Despite everything, the country is still very attractive, with many immigrants coming from neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries. Chile has also recorded an influx from Haiti in recent years, which is predominantly male and very noticeable in Santiago. The Afro-Caribbean population has not been found in Chile until recently. The country is also now confronted with the challenge of offering Spanish as a foreign language, which up to now has not had to be taken into account in immigration. The country is not prepared for this, and many Chileans are critical of this new immigration.

With regard to your research, you were now on site yourself and did research in archives. What did you find there?

I was in the National Library in Santiago, which has excellent collections from the 19th century, which is the time I also consider in my research. I was also in the National Archives, which houses a variety of relevant sources. In the archives, I tried above all to get an idea of the socio-political ideas of key actors, to read their publications, and to get acquainted with those with whom they exchanged ideas. I was able to close important gaps and also work with serial sources that are important for my research interests. For example, journals, but also individual works that cannot be found in the National Library in Spain either.

What kind of journals are these?

For example, I have worked a lot with a specialist journal for Chilean doctors. The doctors got together very early and founded a journal in Santiago based on the European model. Chile is still a strongly centralised country, and at that time there was only one medical training centre: the Escuela de Medicina at the University of Santiago. All medical graduates therefore knew each other and wanted their own journal to communicate what was going on in Chile and other countries, what was published in European journals and above all to discuss what Chilean medicine was doing and how the country's medical education should be changed. So scientific as well as disciplinary interest was brought into this medium. The exciting thing for me is that this journal became such an important forum for the exchange of doctors. The role of medicine in society was also discussed here. This journal still exists today, but with a clear focus on scientific topics. It has been published without interruption, even during the time of the military dictatorship, and has become a place where doctors have negotiated what needs to be improved in Chile in order for people to be healthier. These considerations have also been incorporated into the country's social policy instruments.

Can you predict the first results of your research project on Chile?

Yes, in the field of social policy we are dealing with actors who we also encounter in Europe, but who, in the absence of other actors in Chile, are becoming more important and are taking different paths.

You mean, the doctors?

Yes, they didn't make any progress with their demands and suggestions - so they got themselves elected to the congress and took office as members of parliament with the claim to make politics in their sense. In the congress, they themselves introduced proposals for laws and voted on them. This is something we see throughout the 20th century. Thus the later Chilean President Salvador Allende was a doctor, worked as a health minister and wrote 1939 with the volume "La Realidad Médico-Social Chilena" one of the important books about Chile's social problems. With this work Allende has politically distinguished himself. This is no coincidence, but the result of the great proximity of medicine to politics, which was established in Chile in the 19th century.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
In a workshop with publisher Sharla Plant the editorial board finalised its plan for the next 18 months and developed ideas for further volumes.

At the beginning of December, the editors of the new CRC Palgrave Macmillan book series "Global Dynamics of Social Policy", Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels, Kerstin Martens and Marianne Ulriksen met with Palgrave publisher Sharla Plant in Bremen. It was jointly agreed that three volumes would be published next year:

  • Carina Schmitt (Ed.): Social Protection in the Global South
  • Lutz Leisering (Ed.): A Hundred Years of Social Security in Middle-Income Countries
  • Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann & Alexandra Kaasch (Ed.): International Organizations in Global Social Policy


Subsequently, the draft of an edited volume was discussed, which will tell a short history of socio-political turning points worldwide in about 40 short articles. The contributions are exclusively provided by members of CRC 1342 and are based on results of its 15 projects. The volume will be published in the first half of 2021.

After the editors had decided on a design for the Palgrave CRC series, Sharla Plant met in the afternoon with around a dozen authors who presented their ideas for further volumes in individual discussions. These ideas will be finalised in the coming months.

Dr. Olivier Burtin
Dr. Olivier Burtin
The historian Olivier Burtin from the LMU was a guest at the CRC 1342 and explained the generosity of veteran care as a result of numerous causal mechanisms.

At the beginning of November Olivier Burtin, historian at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, was a guest at the CRC 1342. Burtin gave a guest lecture at the Socium and took part in the conference "Causal Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Policy Dynamics" on the following days.

Burtin investigates the development of the US-American social program, which exclusively favours war veterans and has an annual budget of about 220 billion US dollars. Burtin interpreted the social program for war veterans as the result of several causal mechanisms:

  • The USA was involved in many wars
  • The wars were fought almost exclusively outside the country, which hardly affected the civilian population, unlike the soldiers - this gap gives moral weight to the claims of the veterans
  • Veteran organizations are established and influential political forces
  • Social benefits for veterans have a long tradition
  • Until the middle of the 20th century, the US army consisted almost exclusively of white men, a group with great political weight
  • And, finally, politicians were reluctant to cut benefits for veterans so as not to jeopardize their chances of success in elections.

 


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 and Palgrave McMillan are publishing a new book series. The first volumes will be released in early 2020.

The CRC 1342 and Palgrave McMillan launched this series in order to publish research findings produced within CRC 1342, as well as from external colleagues.

This series welcomes studies on the waves, ruptures and transformative periods of welfare state expansion and retrenchment globally, that is, across nation states and the world as well as across history since the inception of the modern Western welfare state in the nineteenth century. It takes a comprehensive and globalized perspective on social policy, and the approach will help to locate and explain episodes of retrenchment, austerity, and tendencies toward de-welfarization in particular countries, policy areas and/or social risk-groups by reference to prior, simultaneous or anticipated episodes of expansion or contraction in other countries, areas, and risks.

One of the aims of this series is to address the different constellations that emerge between political and economic actors including international and intergovernmental organizations, political actors and bodies, and business enterprises. A better understanding of these dynamics improves the reader’s grasp of social policy making, social policy outputs, and ultimately the outcomes of social policy.

The editors of the series are the CRC 1342 members Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels and Kerstin Martens, as well as Marianne Ulriksen (University of Southern Denmark/University of Johannesburg).


Contact:
Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58561
E-Mail: frisina@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Dr Teresa Huhle
Dr Teresa Huhle
Teresa Huhle has searched Montevideo's libraries and archives to find out which international influences and relationships have influenced the development of Uruguay's health policy.

Teresa, you were on the road for your project in the spring. Where have you been exactly?

I was in Uruguay for eight weeks, more precisely in the capital Montevideo. My work on the Uruguay case study will take a total of four months of archival work - so this trip was the first half. But two years ago, before the CRC started, I had already been there and made my first explorations, so I was able to start right away this time.

Which archives did you look at?

I mainly worked in the National Library. There is also archive material there, but I mainly worked with old journals. There are also inheritances, old maps, photos ... But in the end I spent most of my time with journals.

Are these scientific journals?

Yes, scientific or government journals that are essential for my work on the development of health care in Uruguay. The Ministry of Health was founded there in 1932, but there had been two important government institutions before that: The Asistencia Pública Nacional and the Consejo Nacional de Higiene. Both institutions had their own journal, which I evaluate. Within the framework of the CRC, we are also investigating transnational influences on national social policy, and there is a lot about this in the journal. For example, it deals with conferences and exploratory trips by high-ranking representatives of these institutions.

What period are you looking at?

During this visit, I decided to take a look at the complete volumes of the journal of the Consejo Nacional de Higiene, i.e. 1906 to 1931, in order to understand how the institution had changed.

That's 26 years. How extensive are they?

The journal was published monthly, with a total of about 800 to 1,000 pages per year.

Were you able to browse through all of them?

In the beginning, I tested on the first volume whether it was possible and it turned out that I could actually look through the magazine completely in a decent amount of time. What was interesting for me, I photographed and made notes about it. To leave out the notes is fatal, because you end up with a few thousand photos on your computer and you don't know what they are. That's why I was relatively disciplined. I have bibliographed every photographed text directly and ideally wrote down three sentences about it.

What did you find in the 300 or so issues of the journal?

I looked for international influences and various international and transnational networks in which the actors and institutions were embedded and implemented when reforms were implemented. That is why, for example, I looked for all international conferences with Uruguayan participation. The material was very diverse. Sometimes it just says that someone from Uruguay was attending but other times there are long reports in which the Uruguayan delegate summarised and wrote exactly what he learned at the conference.

So these are certain input factors - do you also control the output? Like: Did these influences have any effect on policy?

My long-term goal is to be able to determine this selectively. At the moment I find it very difficult to distinguish between rhetoric and actual influence. There are currently not many places where I would commit myself to saying: "This conference, this trip to Europe or this visit to Argentina has ensured that Uruguay has introduced this particular law". This is not so easy methodically, but it would certainly be the next step.

How do you analyse your gathered material now?

At the moment, I am compiling what kind of connections, networks and forms of exchange existed. I also look at how the Uruguayan reformers reflected on their own actions, such as the assessment: "I was in Holland, I was shown the following, but that's not something we can do". But there is also the opposite verdict: "I think that is exactly what we have to implement now". Whether and how they then did that is another question, but it is nice to see that these international exchange processes are explicitly addressed in the sources.

Which countries and international organisations have had the greatest influence on Uruguay's health policy?

International congresses were very important, both in Europe and in the Americas.

At universities?

No, these were, for example, the "International Congresses on Hygiene and Demography". Since the middle of the 19th century, these have taken place in Europe with several hundred participants each - they were the most important congresses worldwide for all questions of hygiene and public health. Other international medical congresses related to public health, such as tuberculosis congresses or international congresses on sexually transmitted diseases, were also important. In the 1920s, the League of Nations became relatively important as an international forum, as the health organisation of the League of Nations organised international exchange trips. As far as individual countries are concerned, for example, there was a very close exchange with Argentina.

Was Argentina a role model or was Uruguay an equal partner?

Geopolitically, Uruguay was the small buffer state between the two great powers Argentina and Brazil. But in exchange for health policy reforms, Uruguay was definitely at eye level.
Were there other countries that were important?
Yes, Brazil, and in Europe France played a special role, because there was a long tradition that Uruguayan doctors completed their training or parts of it in France.

It is surprising that it was not Spain ...

France was the great cultural role model for the Uruguayan elite, and in medicine in particular. As early as the middle of the 19th century, Uruguayan physicians - financed by the state - went to Paris. These doctors all knew French, as did the politicians. There are also medical books that were only published in French. That is quite remarkable. That's why France plays an important role in this health sector.

What else were important points on your trip?

There are other libraries that are important to me, but not well catalogued. So you have to know what you can find there and consult with the librarians. In order to get this information in advance, I contacted colleagues in Montevideo, especially from the history of medicine.

What happens now with your work and your entire project?

In 2019, all members of the project including the director Delia González de Reufels are on the road a lot and come back with a lot of material from archives and libraries as well as new ideas. We also have a new team member: Simon Gerards Iglesias, who is now going on archive trips. I am currently working on a lecture and will continue my research in the United States in August. In March 2020, I will travel to Uruguay again. This spring I still had the luxury to know: I will come back again. But next year things will get serious: I'll have to think about exactly what I'll need from there beforehand.


Contact:
Dr. Teresa Huhle
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Sommerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57062
E-Mail: teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Teresa Huhle
Dr. Teresa Huhle
Teresa Huhle on her search for clues, exciting conversations arising in archives, and her role in project B02.


What would you have become if you hadn't become a scientist?

When I started studying regional sciences Latin America in Cologne, I had two things in mind: to become either a journalist or to work for international organisations in the field of human rights or development assistance. However, these were no concrete plans, only vague ideas.

Why did you become a historian then?

From the first essay on, I enjoyed my studies, especially history - my other subjects were political science and Spanish. There were two phases in particular during which I realised that I would like to work as a historian: an internship in northern Spain and later my diploma thesis. The internship was about the victims of the Spanish Civil War. On the one hand I did archive research and looked through death records; on the other hand, I conducted interviews with people who could remember where there were anonymous mass graves. In this internship I was able to get to know historical research methods. Later I wrote my diploma thesis about the American participation in the Spanish Civil War. I was in San Francisco and New York for quite a while, where I worked in an archive on trade unions and other US left-wing movements. That was a great experience! It was that time when it became clear that I wanted to continue this kind of work.

What do you like about studying files and other documents?

I like the lonely side of archival work, the focused reading and discovery of documents. At the same time, archives are also places where a great many people from different regions meet and where exciting conversations arise.

Your main focus as a historian is Latin America. Why this region?

Even before my studies I had a great interest in Latin America and I had hoped that the study would give me many opportunities to travel there. After my detours into Spanish and American history, I wanted to work on Latin America during my doctoral thesis. In Bremen I had the chance to do my doctorate on the history of Colombia and to also look at connections to the USA. During my research trips to Colombia, I found the exchange with local colleagues very inspiring. The culture of science is different; the universities are more politicised than I knew it from Germany.

What is your role in the CRC?

I am working on a project in which we investigate the genesis of social policy in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The project has four work packages, one of which I will cover: I look at the early state-run social policy of Uruguay, from the late 19th century to the 1930s. I ask in particular how, why and with which effects the government has been involved in the areas of health and work - and of which other organisations it has taken over these tasks: namely the Church and philanthropy.

I am also working on a second work package to examine role the International Labour Organisation ILO in the formation process of social policy in the three countries.

How will you conduct your research?

I can't draw on interviews with contemporary witnesses during this period; thus, as a historian I will focus on archive work. We investigate transnational factors, e.g. the question: Who were Uruguayan physicians in contact with in other countries and international organisations? For me, this means a very international archive work. I will travel to Uruguay, but also to European archives, the ILO archive in Geneva and also to the USA. At the beginning it is about identifying who the central actors were, with whom they were in contact with and how the exchange of knowledge took place. In some cases there are hints I can follow up, but in others the field is completely unknown. I have surprise myself with the results of my archive visits.

When do you expect first results?

I'm going on extensive expeditions this year. Therefore, I will probably not have any results ready for beeing peer-reviewed until next year. But I hope to be able to bring preliminary results at presentation level from every trip.

 

Teresa Huhle at a glance:
Teresa Huhle is a research fellow at the Institute of History at the University of Bremen. In project B02, led by Delia González de Reufels, Huhle examines the development of early public social policy in Uruguay.

In 2015, Teresa Huhle received her doctorate at the University of Bremen for her thesis "Population, Fertility and Family Planning in Colombia during the Cold War: A Transnational History of Knowledge". Previously, Huhle had studied Latin American Regional Sciences at the University of Cologne, specialising in Iberian and Latin American History, Anglo-American History, Political Science and Spanish.


Contact:
Dr. Teresa Huhle
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Sommerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57062
E-Mail: teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de